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How TV Affects your Children?

By Andrew Loh



Watching TV seems to be a favorite pastime for most children. In fact, they are infatuated with TV and its captivating programs. Most children sit in front of the TV even before they go to school. Children who fall in the age group of 3 and 5 years watch on an average of 3 to 5 hours of television every day. In addition, they will end watching more than 2000 hours of TV by the time they turn 10 years.

When parents talk about the possible ill-effects of television and video programs, they usually focus on the violence and sex part of it; in fact, most of their conversations center around on the content of the program. Issues like sex, violence, bad language and inappropriate content are all real issues that concern our families today. However, are parents missing something here?

Of late, experts are discussing the possible ill effects of watching too much TV. How does watching too much TV affect your children? Does excessive TV watching affect your children's mental growth? Does it also influence your children's development of social, cognitive, creative and intellectual skills?

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), children under the age of 2 years should not be allowed to watch TV, while children older than 2 years should preferably watch less than 2 hours of quality TV programs. The invisible effects of watching excessive TV are real issues of concerns for parents, as they may influence your children's emotional, social and mental development in an adverse way. It is a universal fact that most children spend more time by watching TV than any other type of activity like writing, reading or socializing. In fact, this also occurs during the critical period of children's early mental and cognitive development. In many homes, TV is already becoming an impediment or obstacle to curtail children's normal intellectual development.

The first two years of a child is extremely important for proper brain development. TV shows are big distractions to normal brain development. In fact, TV and other electronic medium like video and computer games could affect the manner in which children explore, socialize, play and interact with parents and other children. For a child to grow and develop brain in a normal manner, he or she will need to work hard to encourage self-learning and brain training. With growing age, excessive TV screen time could hamper normal activities like reading, writing, and homework, playing and socializing.

In some way, TV could be a very good thing. It could even be a great educator and entertainer. Moderate TV viewing could help children learn and master many things. However, excessive watching could be dangerous to children, because TV can become acutely intoxicating or obsessive to them.

Child psychologists agree on one common issue - Despite its numerous advantages, excessive TV viewing could be very detrimental. Some of these bad effects are as follow:

  • Children, who regularly watch TV for more than 5 hours a day, may develop obesity and over-weight problems.

  • Children, who watch too much violent TV programs, may display aggressive behavior, as they grow older. Alternately, they may even feel frightened that the world around them is fearful and scary. They will also think that something bad may happen to them.

  • Inappropriate TV shows will depict and exhibit instances of bad language, smoking and drinking. They could also display gender differences and racial discrimination.

  • Most of the TV shows are fictitious and provide a skewed view of the world around us. Children watch such shows may develop a false feeling about the world.

  • Excessive TV viewing could develop decreased attention spans and hyperactivity signs.

  • If children accidentally watch adult programs, they could be easily distracted and become enamored with nudist and vulgar behavior.

  • Young children are easily distracted by advertisements and commercials aired on TV shows. This could make them ultra-materialistic.

TV is a double-edged sword! It can cut your children both ways. Used optimally and in a proper manner, TV could be a great tool to enhance learning abilities in your children. It could even speed up learning process. However, undisciplined and improper TV viewing may be potentially disastrous to your children.

Children experts are divided, when it comes to finding solutions for the problems. The most basic question that many parents ask is very simple - how much is too much? Some experts believe that watching educational programs on TV could be very beneficial to your children. On the contrary, others believe that TV watching should be discouraged as far as possible. However, you may need to persuade your children to understand the fact that the TV is there for occasional entertainment and not for constant viewing. Continue to read Teaching appropriate TV Habits to your children - Useful Techniques and Suggestions.



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