Boob Tube Math

How is this possible? Rich Lowry:

The University of Michigan Health System reports that kids ages two to five spend on average 32 hours a week in front of a TV. Among 8- to 18-year-olds, 71 percent have a TV in their bedroom (and they spend on average 1.5 hours a day more watching TV than kids without a TV in the bedroom).

32 hours a week?! More than one-seventh of the time.

Watching TV is worse than a mindless activity, since mere mindlessness needn’t be harmful. “Excessive TV viewing can contribute to poor grades, sleep problems, behavior problems, obesity, and risky behavior,” according to the University of Michigan.

Berger cites a 2010 study from Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine that found that among toddlers, “every additional hour of television exposure” eventually means decreases in “classroom engagement . . . math achievement . . . time spent doing weekend physical activity. . . . and activities involving physical effort,” and increases in “victimization by classmates . . . consumption scores for soft drinks and snacks . . . and body mass index.” The American Academy of Pediatricians recommends that kids two and younger avoid TV — and everything else on a screen — altogether.

I’d say two and over, too. Kids should be outside. Playing. Working. By our sides. Are kids parked there or emulating our own behavior?

Read the rest.

UPDATES: A Pundette-alanche! Thanks!


7 Responses

  1. […] Do yourself and your kids a favor: kick the habit of allowing your kids to rot in front of the telly if you haven’t already. […]

  2. I do agree that we should limit TV time for kids especially. Only problem is that without the TV, my little one would have little to do. He doesn’t really look at the TV for more than a few minutes at a time, but without it he would be driving us bonkers getting into some sort of trouble. Do parents entertain their kids their whole waking time? I don’t know how to do anything without the TV at least preoccupying him for a little while.

    • Manny, I’ve told you before, it can be done. First, get music. We have music on all day. Fun kids music mixed with our own. Seed a free Pandora internet radio station with Rocknoceros, Laurie Berkner, They Might Be Giants (Here come the ABCs and 123s), Barenaked LAdies (Snacktime), Justin Roberts, Recess Monkey. We use Pandora radio to find more music we like…

      Then, get the kid some boxes. I’m not joking. Boxes. Find a big one–either from a store (a fridge box, etc) or a large moving box. I’m always awed when kids come over to our house, the first thing they gravitate towards is a set of moving boxes we turned into a “house.” They color it. They use “Tools” to “fix it up.” They stay inside giggling and look out the windows. Save cereal boxes. Save amazon boxes. All can be used to stack and build. Wooden blocks. Books. Your son isn’t yet two, right? You will still have to show him how to do things. But invest in toys (and save recyclables lol) that he can use to CREATE things. I just made a sword out of a cardboard box… cut then taped together, and wound in masking tape. Decorated with stickers. Pirate sword. She carries it everywhere when playing outside. Look for a water table or a sand/water (read: mud) table. That’s a good hour for us daily. Or a sandbox. If you help him learn how to play now, he will know how to entertain himself later. If you rely on tv now, he won’t be able to entertain himself as well. We find gently used books at yard sales throughout the summer. And I look for rainy day toys at garage sales, too. Don’t get electronic bells-and-whistles toys. L:ook for toys that have been around for generations. Think about getting him a play kitchen–we got ours when pjT was 2.

  3. All behavior is addictive, and it becomes easier to leave the machine on than off –because we are all tempted to sloth, cut back for kids and it has vastly removed the stress in our lives.

    • Agreed. Maybe that’s my kid’s problem. Given that this blog is a testament to my addictive-compulsive news reading, she must come by the tendency honestly. : ) guess It’s better ist we leave the boob tube off!

  4. I am proud to say we are down to 30 minutes per day at a prescheduled time! We went zero Tv for over a week and then added it back in. Thanks for the inspiration pjMom!! Tyler’s tantrums are fewer and far between and creativity is increasing. 🙂

    And 32 hrs?? That is over 4 hrs a day. Whoa!!!!!

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