Child Television

By Vanessa Rasmussen, © 2004, All rights reserved.

For decades there has been a debate going on whether parents should allow young children, especially pre-school ones to watch television. Some parents believe it to be extremely unconstructive for children to watch TV while some others feel that it might actually be educative and informative. Most children in our country are addicted to Television.

Take a look at these facts:

  • American children, ages 2-17, watch television on average almost 25 hours per week or 3 ½ hours a day. Almost one in five watch more than 35 hours of TV each week (Gentile & Walsh, 2003).
  • Twenty percent of 2- to 7-year-olds, 46% of 8- to 12-year-olds, and 56% of 13- to 17-year-olds have TVs in their bedrooms (Gentile & Walsh, 2003).
  • Children spend more time watching television than any other activity except sleeping.

A recent study published in "Pediatrics" advises against children watching television. The study indicates that for every hour of TV, there is a 10 percent increase in the probability of the child developing the attention-deficit disorder. This implies that children that watch TV more are likely to be easily bored with any other activity. Their concentration levels dip and eventually they get bored of school and other essential activities such as playing with friends.

Apart from this, there is the issue of constant monitoring. A child learns by imitating what he / she sees. With the rise of child violence is America, it is no surprise that Television is probably one of the biggest causes of such a situation. How often have you seen your child repeating something he / she just saw on TV?

However, the fact remains that you cannot take Television out of your life. Completely stopping your child from watching television is not the best solution. This may lead your child into cheating and secretly watch TV. Besides, you cannot keep tabs on your children throughout the day.

The best resolution to this dilemma would be to view TV as a resource rather than a menace, or rather "make" it a resource. A good practice to follow is to chalk out a weekly schedule for your child. Balance out their activity so that they have enough time to study, play, and watch television. Of course, you have to ensure that your child only watches educational shows or other shows deemed fit for them to watch. Lock all channels that have shows that are violent, mature, or sexual in nature. Make sure that you also let your child know your feelings about such programs. Try and discourage them from watching these programs.

Television does provide opportunities for children to learn about all kinds of things, although whether they do so to any great extent depends largely on the specific programs the child actually watches.

Copyright 2001, 2004. All rights reserved. Any reproduction of this article in whole or in part without written or verbal permission is strictly prohibited. For information about reprinting this article, contact the copyright owner: Vanessa Rasmussen, Ph.D, Starting a Day Care Center,