East Liverpool City Schools

Children and Television: How much is too much?


            Children and the time they spend watching television is a constant dilemma for parents. Too much television is not good. According to the Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Communication, too much television desensitizes children to violence, leads to obesity, and exposes children to too many suggestions of sexual activity, alcohol use, and drug use. At the same time absolutely no television can limit children socially and academically. 

            As a general rule, children can view an hour of television a day without any bad effects. However, parents who choose programming for their children rather than assigning an arbitrary time limit are more successful in controlling television use. 

            There are several ways good parents keep control of the television. First, insist that children watch a family television. Do not allow them to have private televisions in their bedrooms. Set specific rules regarding television use. Children should know what is allowable and what they are allowed to watch.  Know what is on television by using a guide in the newspaper or on line. Choose what you will allow children to watch. Don’t allow children to use television time as a bargaining chip. Don’t make television a big deal. Make other activities such as reading together or playing games more attractive.

            Many parents find that television is a good way to calm children down before bed or occupy them for a half hour while parents get some needed tasks completed. There is nothing wrong with this as long as the child and the parent understand that the parent is in control. Many parents watch educational television with children and discuss the program as a family activity. This can be quite productive and encourages family conversation.  

As with most things television is not the problem. The problem arises when parents fail to control the influences around their children.

Last Modified on May 8, 2009