A hot topic that needs to be addressed these days is about the relationship kids have with TV. Television in the 21st century has a completely different meaning than it did previously. People's go-to topics are usually about movies, TV shows, competitions on the screen or what's trending in the news.
The question is no longer 'who has a TV?' but rather 'who doesn't?' And 'why not?' And 'what's wrong with them?'
To a lot of people these days, having a TV is as basic and important as having food and water! Even more so, as there are usually multiple screens in any given room of a house.
With this is mind, how should parents of this generation respond to the issue of TV and kids?
Lets look at some facts to start. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF):
It's the norm these days that most kids plug into the world of television long before they enter school.
Really think about that. 4 hours a day in front of a TV and 2 additional hours on the computer. Every day. That's six hours out of their day! That's 1/4 of their life spent in zoning out and missing reality.
Is it bad to let my child watch TV and what age should they be before they start watching?
There are different opinions, but the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend that parents not allow their children under 2 years of age to watch TV. Those who are older than 2 years should have TV time limited to between 1 and 2 hours of quality programming each day.
Here are a few examples of what we consider 'quality programming.'
- Baby Einstein
- Doc McStuffins
Why shouldn't my child under 2 years watch any TV?
The most important time of brain development in a child's life happens in the first two years. Watching TV and other screens during this time can interfere with the way a baby plays, explores and learns to interact with people. These are key to development in physical and social areas.
Even as kids get older, they should be aware of how much screen time is taking away from other more physical activities and socialization.
Are there advantages?
Of course, there are benefits to TV. In moderation, watching television can even be helpful and educational. There are shows that teach young children the alphabet and numbers, wildlife and nature shows are a great addition for grade schoolers and news programs help parents stay informed about current events.
But where you find advantages there will also be disadvantages!
Because television is such a big part of our lives there is no one cut and dry solution for all. Many child advocates push for more educational programs on TV while others say that no TV is good TV. Others see that the television can be a useful tool but it needs to be controlled and monitored. It's so important for parents to set limits and know what kind of programs their kids are watching. We need to teach our kids that screen time is not to be used for constant escapism but rather for entertainment here and there.