Why Are American Kids Addicted to TV?
June 10, 2006
TV is a central part of many children‘s lives -- even those that are still
babies -- 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 TV
and other electronic media to keep kids occupied, relaxed and happy.
The report is based on a national survey of over 1,000 parents with children
aged 6 months to 6 years. Along with finding that many parents believe the TV
has 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 the
amount of time their children spend watching it. For instance, children of
those who believe TV helps learning watched an average of 27 minutes more
a day than children whose parents believe TV mostly hurts.
Further, one-third of children live in homes where the TV is on most of the
time. 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
Academy of Pediatrics
advises that children under 2 not watch any TV, as during this time the brain
is rapidly developing and needs back-and-forth interaction. They say older
children should have access to electronic media for no more than two hours
total a day.
Family Foundation May 24, 2006 (Free Full-Text Report)
News May 24, 2006