Television is very much a part of every home worldwide. Sadly television also promotes a couch potato lifestyle and these results in obesity, diabetes, and other ailments. People spend more and more time in front of a television than outdoors. In the case of children watching television has both pros and cons and parents need to decide on whether or not a child should watch television and also how much.
Dangers of Watching TV
Experts like the Mayo Clinic and the American Academy of Pediatrics have studied the effects of television on children and recommend that you understand clearly what is good for your child as far as television is concerned. The American Academy of Pediatrics advises that a child should spend no more than 1-2 hours a day watching TV, movies, playing videos or computer games.
Research has established that children who spend a lot of time watching TV and so on tend to be overweight, develop behavioral problems, play very little and don’t focus on reading, studying and so on. As responsible and caring parents it is essential that you instill TV discipline from day one. In the modern world “ no TV” is not an option as television does have some educational benefits.
Apart from physical health problems children are known to:
- Be influenced by the anger and violence they see on television.
- Adopt impolite behavior and foul language used by screen heroes and heroines.
- Respond to the advertisements that are shown—children become demanding and throw tantrums to be given toys and other goodies that are advertised.
- Take to junk food and packaged treats.
- Develop fears towards animals, death, accidents, natural disasters and more.
Learn all you can about how much television watching is healthy for the child and be firm about it. If required adults at home should also limit television viewing and spend more time with the children in joint activities that include outdoor fun and games.
How to Limit Television Time?
Increase Family Activities: Sit down and reflect on how much time the family spends each day in front of a television. Draw up a daily plan of family activities to reduce the time the family views television. Make it a habit to introduce other activities like reading, music, art, or a hobby. Set rules for week days and vacation time.
Never leave the television on through the day. Also resist the urge to install a television in the bedroom—limit television watching only to the family room.
Meal Time is Family Time: Ban eating/snacking in front of the television. Mealtimes should be fun times with all family members eating together and sharing their triumphs and woes. Mealtimes are for a relaxed atmosphere and bonding.
Keep Tabs on Suitability: As parents you must know what is suitable and what is not be it television programs or advertisements. Make a conscious decision on what programs are suitable for children. Most television guides will give you information on suitable viewing as well as on what age groups a program is suitable for.
Obey and You Shall be Obeyed: As a rule no television must be switched on until all jobs and home work are done. Inculcate in your children time management as well as an understanding of what on television is good for them to watch. As the adult the kids look up too you must obey all the rules you make and set an example. Also you should watch television with the child and know the characters in the programs –make time to find out whether the program frightens the child or influences the child’s thinking
Bring Up Healthy and Wise Children
Putting a child in front of the television while you complete your work is taking the easy way out. You owe it to your child to give it a rounded and complete upbringing. Introduce your child to books and comics, to gardening, to collecting stamps or baseball cards, to outdoor activities like skating, walking, site seeing, drama and more. Exposure to the arts and other activities will open your child’s mind and result in a more complete education – the time you spend with the child away from the television will deepen the bonds you share and the love.