TV is a central part of many children‘s lives -- even those that are stillbabies -- and parents seem to be making the problem worse.
Contrary to the belief that parents struggle to restrict their kids‘ TV time,researchers from the Kaiser Family Foundation report that many parents use TVand other electronic media to keep kids occupied, relaxed and happy.
The report is based on a national survey of over 1,000 parents with childrenaged 6 months to 6 years. Along with finding that many parents believe the TVhas educational benefits and can teach positive behaviors, the study found:
- 83 percent of children aged 6 and under watch TV, play video games or use the computer for about two hours a day
- 61 percent of babies 1 year and younger watch screen media for an average of 1.2 hours a day
- 90 percent of 4-6-year-olds watch screen media for two hours a day
The study found a correlation between parents‘ attitudes about TV and theamount of time their children spend watching it. For instance, children ofthose who believe TV helps learning watched an average of 27 minutes morea day than children whose parents believe TV mostly hurts.
Further, one-third of children live in homes where the TV is on most of thetime. In these homes, children watch an average of 25 minutes more TV a day.Those with a TV in their bedroom watch 30 minutes more TV a day.
Other results from the survey include:
- 19 percent of babies under 1 year have a TV in their bedroom
- 55 percent of parents said they put a TV in a child‘s bedroom to free up other TVs in the home
- 39 percent of parents put a TV in a child‘s bedroom to keep them occupied while they do things around the house
The AmericanAcademy of Pediatricsadvises that children under 2 not watch any TV, as during this time the brainis rapidly developing and needs back-and-forth interaction. They say olderchildren should have access to electronic media for no more than two hourstotal a day.
KaiserFamily Foundation May 24, 2006 (Free Full-Text Report)
YahooNews May 24, 2006
Unfortunately, many parents use TV to help manage their busy schedules,keep the peace, and facilitate family routines such as eating, relaxing, andfalling asleep.
What most of these parents are oblivious to is the incredible harmand danger they are exposing their precious children to. I am not talking aboutelectromagnetic radiation here but something far more dangerous.
The vast majority of American children are being exposed to one ofthe most mind-controlling mediums ever developed by man. By active or passiveparticipation in this process parents are allowing the following to occur intheir children. TV will:
- Change your child's views and food choices
- Make your kids fat
- Make your kids more materialistic
- Cause your children to go into more debt as adults
- Cause your children to be more aggressive
- May lead to smoking
- Increase your child's risk of becoming seriously injured
What is not included in the above list is an increased susceptibilityto reliance on drugs. How is that? Well, did you know that theUnitedStates and New Zealandare the ONLY industrialized countries in the world thatallow direct-to-consumer (DTC) advertising of prescription drugs?
Fortunately, New Zealandis considering a ban, but not the UnitedStates. So a typical 10-year-oldin the United Stateswill have watched more than 75,000 hours of TV of which a great deal has beensupported by drug commercials.
Can you possibly imagine what that is going to do to their susceptibilityto use these drugs when they mature into adults in the next 10 years?It will be a literal bonanza for the multi-national drug corporationsas they harvest even more billions from their investment into this medium.
Drug companies have hired the most clever marketing professionals inthe world. They really understand how to manipulate reality to make purchasingtheir drugs the only logical solution for the inevitable health challenges thatlife throws our way.
U.S. Senate records show 32,890 lobbyists were registered in 2005,three times the number a decade earlier. Many of those are former members ofCongress or their aides. Annual spending on lobbying has grown from about $800million in 1996 to about $2.2 billion last year.
Guess which industry has the most lobbyists? If youguessedthe drug industry you would be correct.
How else do you think they were able to manipulate Congress to allowthem to advertise prescription drugs on TV? It was a major coup for them andhas been paying off in spades. A Harvardstudy showed that for every dollar spent on DTC advertising,$4.20 was yielded in additional drug sales.
Well last year they spent about $4 billion to advertise to your kidson TV. So they generated about $16 billion in EXTRA revenue for this investment.Not bad for them but an absolute disaster for your kids and grandkids.
With these commercials, pharmaceutical companies have successfullyexpanded the definition of illness and those who now fear they will becomesick from trivial or poorly understood disease. Their manipulative marketingtechniques, combined with the pervasive corruption in the medical care system,has allowed drug companies to become firmly established as one of the most profitableindustries on the planet.
However, let's assume that for some miraculous reason your children arenot influenced by the drug commercials, as you are able to successfully groundthem to reality.
Is this the only challenge they face? Absolutely not,as they are also exposed to the processed food industry's incessant barrageof temptations to consume their tasty junk food. This will, in turn, actuallyincrease their risk for developing diseases that will then benefit from theuse of drugs.
It is an absolutely vicious cycle.
So what are your options? Obviously you will want to limit your child'sTV watching to the absolute minimum.
Personally, I watch about two to five hours of TV a week.I had stopped watching it for about 10 years, but now that I have an HDTVand HD programming, I just delight in the high-quality, near-real-life videofeeds.
However, most of the stations I watch run commercial-free programming.When I watch those that don't, my hand is constantly on the remote ready tochange the channel in a microsecond as soon as the commercial comes on. I simplyrefuse to watch most commercials.
So you might consider a similar path and serve asa role model for your children. Additionally, I previously compiled 20practical alternatives to TV so you can consider reviewingthat list.