Televisions. Computers. Laptops. Tablets. Smart phones. There is always some kind of device or piece of technology to draw our attention. You must be looking at one now to read this.
Our kids aren’t much different these days. They have just as much exposure to this surplus of technology that we do. The difference, however, is that it has more influence on their personalities.
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, kids and teens between the ages of 8 and 18 spend almost four hours in front of the TV each day and an additional two hours in front of a computer. Kids under the age of 6 watch screen media (TV, videos or DVDs) for an average of two hours a day.
Let me preface any future comments by saying this: TV isn’t all bad. There is a lot of educational and entertaining programming that can benefit a child’s growth and a family dynamic.
But there is no denying that excessive amounts of time in front of the TV (and other types of screens) can be detrimental to a child’s development. First and foremost, time in front of the TV could be time for a child to be playing outside with friends or doing something else active. This is recognized as one of the leading causes of childhood obesity.
The content on TV itself is also a big concern. Much of it exhibits violence and other dangerous behavior. A personal pet peeve of mine is how TV, even shows targeted to a younger audience, has made children increasingly disrespectful.
There is no universally accepted solution to this. There are advocates of not allowing your child to watch any television or any other kind of screen. I think that solution is a little extreme and unrealistic.
Make sure you know what your kids are watching on TV or any other screen. In a lot of cases, it can be beneficial to watch TV with them so you can answer any questions.
But if anything they are watching doesn’t agree with your values, don’t let them watch.