Kids and TV – Is it As Bad For Them As You Think?

Of course, we all know that too much TV is bad for children but how much is too much?

Of course, we all know that too much TV is bad for children but how much is too much and surely in small doses some programmes are good for kids?
Who doesn’t learn kindness from Peppa Pig or how to be brave from Paw Patrol after all?
TV often gets a bad rep but here we investigate how bad it is and how much your child should be watching daily:
  • A lot of experts would recommend that too much TV is bad for kids and that it should be supervised to fully control how much your child watches. Many advise against toddlers watching hours of TV as it can be bad for their development in fact it is recommended that babies under 18 months should not watch TV at all! However, for older tots it is ok to watch TV with them for a short amount of time. Once your kids hit 3-4 years old it is advised that one hour viewing time suffices and school age should be limited to the amount they watch.
  • Children who consistently spend more than 4 hours per day watching TV are more likely to be overweight according to studies and kids who watch violent shows are more likely to exhibit aggressive behaviour. They may also feel insecure as certain TV shows are troubled or scary, making your child anxious or worried. Unless you are strict in what your child watches your youngster may be at risk of depicting risky behaviours due to their viewing habits. Many shows glamourize certain issues and can be idealistic. Teenagers often like watching TV shows with young people in them and in a lot of shows the characters have troublesome/problematic lives but also perfect clothes, accessories and houses/bedrooms. It places an unrealistic picture to youngsters and therefore, TV is fine but if you supervise what your child is watching.
  • Children should not be allowed to become obsessive over a show, or toddlers (especially) should be able to play without the TV on. If you notice your child screaming if you are in the way of the TV, you know you have a small problem. However, if your kiddie is happy to go without but asks to watch a suitable show each day, this is acceptable. Everything in moderation.
  • Physical activity is vital for children and if they spend too much time on TV or other media devices they are not getting their daily recommended exercise in. Many children will happily sit still watching TV and others will eat while viewing shows, but this should be avoided. Youngsters should eat at a table for mealtimes and not have any distractions; this is a time for parents and children to talk.
  • Then we must consider the relationship between parents and children, if both parties are watching too must TV they are missing out on vital family moments. They may not get to interact, and this alone can cause children to have speech delays and socialising problems. While many TV shows offer learning and inspire activity, children fundamentally learn best from their parents. Talking to your kid will always prove more worthwhile than a TV show. This encourages healthy development and promotes a better relationship between children and parents.
So, the reality is TV is fine if you follow the guidelines. Don’t forget to be a good role model and avoid sitting watching hours of TV yourself. Make time for family and go back to the TV when the kids are in bed.
Written by Emma Hayes, Staff Writer, with Family Friendly HQ.


Emma Hayes

Emma Hayes is a busy mum to two girls aged 17 and 11 and is married to her childhood sweetheart.

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