How much time should children be spending in front of the TV?
I am sure lots of parents ask this question, but from the research I have done, there is no definitive answer. The UK has no formal guidelines on the amount of time children should spend in front of the TV.
However, you might like to know, the US Paediatric guidelines recommend, children should spend less than two hours a day watching educational, non-violent programmes.
Is this too much time? Or do you feel, it would be ok for children to spend more time watching TV? Does it always need to be educational?
Personally, I think 2 hrs sounds a lot, until you maybe break it down into bite sized chunks of the day, then it doesn’t sound so bad. I don’t disagree with television, in fact, I believe there are some great learning opportunities that can be gained from Tv, but I do feel it needs to be moderated/time limited more.
Tv is not necessarily what causes harm to children. It is more about, while they are watching Tv, what are they missing out on, getting active, socialising, exploring, playing and having fun?
These activities of playing, exploring, being physically active, seeing friends, are all essential childhood activities, for the encouragement of healthy physical, social and psychological development.
How can children develop social skills if they don’t see and play with friends? How can they develop physical skills if they are not active?
According to one study of 5 year olds, 65%, watched 1-3 hours a day of Tv, 15% watched more than 3 hours a day and 2% watched no Tv at all. I don’t find these results surprising, though I do think 15% watching more than 3 hours a day of Tv is rather high and worrying.
How do we encourage our children to turn off the TV and go play? (Apart from the obvious answer of parents putting their foot down and telling children they have a time limit.)
But wouldn’t it be nice if the children chose to turn the TV off themselves?
- How about making play more enticing – freedom of choice.
- Getting active outside with a ball or bikes etc.
- Create more family time, play games together.
- Encourage children to invite friends round.
- Suggest crafting ideas.
- How about doing some science experiments.
- Visiting the library to choose books, either story or informative.
- Join a sports club….football, dancing, rugby, karate, swimming?
- Gardening together.
If you have any ideas, please share them.
TV viewing time is a complex issue, there is no right or wrong, this is just my opinion on the subject. Please share your opinions, what are your thoughts?