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How much TV is too much?
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Posted 12 January 2006 - 03:54 PM
With the inclining interest in playstation, xbox, DVDs and videos, many children are spending more and more hours watching TV and less time outside, being active, playing sport or having a hobby. And even more so in school holidays when children are home a lot more hours in the day.
In your house, do you have limits on the amount of television watched by your children?
What do you think is a reasonable amount of television for children to be watching?
Do you draw a line when it comes to TV, and encourage your children to play outside? Or is it a peace keeper in your house?
Share your thoughts here with others.
Posted 12 January 2006 - 03:59 PM
Great topic-will be interested to see the replies to this one! My DS has been watching increasing amounts of television, to the point its starting to concern me. I wasnt too worried previously, as he could take it or leave it, however for the past few months he's ben displaying signs of addiction. I'm cutting it back to 30 mins in the morning and 30 mins in the afternoon.(ABC kids)
I do use it as a babysitter sometimes I must admit, which bothers me, but sometimes its the only way to get things done. Being a WAHM sometimes I have no choice but to sit him down in front of it, if I have to get something finished urgently and nothing else is working. i do try and keep it as a last resort though.
I've read that the American Paediatric Association has recommended children under two do not watch television at all. I would love to not let Sienna (currently 11.5 months) not watch any at all-however that is really difficult to do when the child has an older sibling who loves tv!
Posted 13 January 2006 - 08:06 PM
VERY interesting topic, and can't wait to see responses! I can't really voice an opinion yet, as my bub hasn't arrived, and I haven't BEEN in that position, but my AIM (which I'm sure I won't reach ) will be to limit tv as much as possible.
I grew up in a household with a tv but no channels - in canada there are only 2 free-to-air channels, and if you don't have an antenna, can't get 'em... we didn't have an antenna. I think mum and dad did that on purpose. So, only disney movies for us and it was fantastic... I read heaps, I did crafts, I sewed, we played outside... and occasionally we played old-school nintendo (which mum limited). My aim is to provide that kind of house for my children. That said, again, I could see myself using the tv as a sitter though, as I am also self-employed at home. As a babysitter growing up, I did notice that my job was always easier if there was a movie in.
Can't wait to read some more!
Posted 14 January 2006 - 06:21 AM
We don't have any hard and fast rules when it comes to TV consumption in our house but I am conscious of how much DSD does watch while she is here. We try to get her out of the house as much as possible and walking or running. Since I met DF three years ago we have never had a stroller for DSD who is now 5.
We do not own a play station or x box and limit DSD's time that she can spend on the computer (she has colouring and logic games). When we are stuck in the house we try to fill in time with activities such as colouring, painting, hopscotch ect.
The only time that we 'use' TV excessivly is when DSD is sick. Most of the time she is asleep then anyway and it is more for the familiar sounds of her favoutite DVD's than for her to actually watch.
Posted 14 January 2006 - 10:02 PM
I too do not have children as yet so I have my intentions but we will see how they go when we get there. I too like the way my mother handled us (although admittedly I didn't at the time). We didn't get a computer till I was 12 so it wasn't an issue in younger years and sharing it between 3 kids (and a Dad who loves solitare) meant the amount of daily computer time was limited. My Grandmother offered twice to buy a nintendo (old school!) for us kids but both times Mum turned her down. I was so mad at Mum at the time but I understand why now. We were not allowed TV in the morning (this was once we started school before that I was addicted to 'Days of our Lives' with Mum ) and after school we were each allowed only 30 mins (or one show) before dinner. Then it was outside with us. I really hope I can be that strong when I have kids... it is easy to just sit them down there for awhile and that's why I like Hi5 and things like that cos it occupies them but they are at least up dancing. I dunno we will see how we go but I have no intention of buying Xbox's or game boys or anything like that for my children... they can buy them with their own money when they are old enough... until then a computer will be more than sufficient I think!
Posted 15 January 2006 - 09:36 AM
We don't have a TV, so they watch none. We got a wiggles DVD for free the other week, and played it on the computer for DD1-she honestly didn't move a muscle for 20 minutes (i left her as a little experiment). I won't be buying a TV anytime soon after that.......
When we do get one it will definitely be limited supervised watching only, with me watching with them and encouraging them to interact.
Posted 15 January 2006 - 01:43 PM
I must admit the good thing I find about wiggles DVD's is that DS never stops, he simply dances and dances, so it is not about him sitting in front of the TV and doing nothing. It is about getting him dancing etc.
I must admit I often let DS watch a DVD during the day for his rest time. It cannot be wiggles (as he doesn't rest), it means he might sit and watch for 10-15mins which gives him a 10-15 min rest. other times we do reading etc to do that.
Other than that how much does he watch. Sometimes on the weekend if we want to sleep in we may let him watch a dvd in his play area. It means that he watches it for 2 mins and then get his bob toys etc out to mimic the fixing of the water pipe etc. he also then plays the keyboard to go with each of the songs if it is a wiggles dvd.
Posted 15 January 2006 - 02:29 PM
DD didnt watch any TV until she was well over 18mths. Only now do we occasionally watch 30 min or so of morning kids programs. Of an evening the TV is usually on as she now goes to bed later then 7pm, but for the most part she never watches it, maybe the occasional glance. She has 1 DVD (but we havnt set up the DVD player even though it was given to us 4 mths ago) and have no electronic gaming stations (and thats the way its staying!!)
I have always wanted to limit tv use particularly in the early years. Kids NEED to play to learn and while the are some merits in some educational TV/games the best way is good alod fashioned play, imo anyway. I know with the new baby ariving soon we may increase TV use a bit but I am determined to try to limit it as much as possible.
I wish I had the strength to get rid of the TV altogether, I know my house would be a lot cleaner and organised if I did!
Posted 15 January 2006 - 03:02 PM
Wow, I am really impressed at how great everyone is about not letting their children watch TV. As I write this my 2 year old is watching Finding Nemo.
I can only aspire to be as great as all of you, I definately have to try a little harder now as I would hate for my kids to be coutch potatoes.
Keep up the great work!
DS Aden 2
DD Trinity 10 months
Posted 16 January 2006 - 03:45 PM
It is a very interesting topic. I have been arguing with DP for ages about this. Scientific studies show that kids should watch no television before the age of three and after that it should be slow paced educational things, not japanese fast paced cartoons or that kind of thing. The increase in the incidence of behavioural disorders in hte last 30 years (such as ADHD) is partly if not mostly due to the amount of tv kids watch in our society. This is because the fast paced nature of television makes their brains wired to only enjoy over the top colourful movement and they become programmed to reflect this behaviour and expectation for fast paced action in every day life (something to do with dopamine levels). I'll try and find the studies but it was in the Sun Herald last Sunday and has been in just about every major newspaper in the last month.
Babies especially shouldn't be allowed to watch one iota of TV becuase they do not take in anything they just sit mesmerised. My bubs always cranks her head to try and watch it and Dp says to let her, but it really is increadibly damaging for their brains and has a huge impact on behavioural problems in many kids. I'm not risking it.
Posted 18 January 2006 - 04:21 PM
I'd be interested to know what people consider actually watching TV is? I ask because my DD who is 4 likes to have ABC kids on in the afternoon before dinner, but she never actually sits and watches, she turns it on and then goes and gets a colouring book or a jigsaw puzzle and plays, glancing up occasionally. I don't really see this as a problem. the only times she has ever sat or lay down and watched a whole program is when she has been sick. Mostly if she sits down to watch, she just falls asleep lol.
we live in an apartment with no garden so i can't send her outside to play, however every day she is home and not at preschool I or my DH will take her to the park and let her run around, so she does get plenty of exercise.
Posted 19 January 2006 - 09:10 PM
My DS (22 months) doesn't watch tv. We watch it, and he will occasionally look at it if it is on, but doesn't actually watch any programs. I think there is plenty of time for him to watch tv when he is older, its not as if he is missing out on anything by not watching it now. We put on cds and dance to those. I figure, if he is watching tv, he is missing out on doing something else, and at this age I think the 'doing something else' is far more stimulating and important. For us personally I can't see how it would work to use it as a babysitter anyway. If he decides he wants my attention (while I am cooking dinner for eg), then sitting him in front of the tv is not going to stop him coming and hanging around my legs.
He is an active, busy little boy (but surely most kids under 3 are?) and for him to watch tv I would actually have to make a decision to put the tv on and stop him doing whatever he is doing to watch it. Now why would I want to do that?
Posted 24 January 2006 - 09:33 AM
We allow our children to watch TV. Sometimes they'll pay attention and be watching a movie or a show they enjoy, but a lot of the time they just like the background noise I think. You put something on and then both of them wander off to do other things.
They don't have any game consoles, I don't think they're really interested in that at this early age, but if they did have one, they'd be limited to time slots or something I would imagine. I'll cross that bridge if we ever get to it.
They both enjoy getting outside and playing aswell so they're not constantly glued to the tv. Of course when it is too hot to play outside they'd prefer to lounge around than succumb to the heat, but then again, so do most of us when it's too hot to do anything.
Posted 24 January 2006 - 12:36 PM
mum 2 tara-that's quite interesting. We did have a TV, and i used to put on bambaloo and things like that for DD1 to give me a bit of a break. But i found when i cut it out entirely she was much better behaved and calmer overall, and i didn't need that break. She is actually less work and more content now than she ever was watching TV, and i did think it could be from the constant stimulation, i have noticed myself how much calmer the house has been without the annoying background noise.
Be interested to read the study if you manage to dredge it up!
Posted 24 January 2006 - 01:19 PM
We are currently in a transitional state. DW is a TV addict and gets very tetchy if the TV is not on - However, she very rarely watches it!! I on the other hand HATE having the TV as background noise - but like to 'emerse' myself in a good program.
DD (22months) has a few teletubbies DVDs - which she, rather worringly, demands to watch from time to time. We often refuse to let her, but shen she does, she'll sit there and watch for 30-45 minutes before losing focus and wandering off. (At which point I will turn the TV off and DW will start twiching!)
My biggest concern is not so much with the quantity of time spent in front of the TV - but the quality of the content!!
On the commercial channels in Australia (including cable channels) about 30% of the content you watch is advertising! Given that our kids are not sufficently equiped to handle this unprovoked attack, sitting them infront of broadcast TV is tantamount to slaughtering them as a sacrifice to corporate greed. Even older, educated, aware, hardened cynical viewers like me are suckered by modern sophisticated advertising techniques. To expose our kids to this danger is surely negligent parenting?!
I have recently spend $1200 building a "Home Theatre PC" so that we can record all our desired programs and strip out adverts automatically. (Of course this doesnt help with "product placement"s - but is at least SOME defence against the 'dark-arts'). A show that is scheduled to last an hour can be watched in 40 minutes which means on a 2 hr Gilmore girls Saturday I can start watching at 8:10 instead of 7:30 and still see the whole show before the program finishes being broadcast at 9:30 and nto be subject to any adverts!!!
Once DD is old enough to ask to watch TV it is my intention to insist that she only watch recorded (or timeslipped) content so that all she watches is programming and not advertising.
Now - if *only* I could find a cure for DW's condition I could re-write our family dynamic to be much more healthy! (I have managed to get her to agree to turn the TV off while we eat - which is *so* much more civilised!).
Studies in USA suggest that timeslip and recorded viewing is definately the future. At present 4% of US households own a PVR of some kind (Personal Video Recorder). It has been predicted that by 2010 this number will be closer to 60% of households (an unprecendented rise in any business penetration model). When this happens, traditional TV advertising will be far less valuable to corporates than it is now and other, more devious advertising means will become more necessary (expect to see plotlines in shows revolve around how excellent various products are or how cool they make people look).
Another way to eliminate advertising is downloading of TV shows (currently illegal). Ultimately I would expect the TV studios to want to cash in on the idea of 'direct distribution' and when they start offering download services legally - we can all cut out adverts and networks scheduling problems to watch TV on our terms - we'll cut out the middlemand (Ch7,9,10) and buy our content direct from the manufacturer (CBS, ABC-USA, BBC etc etc)!!
Ultimately our household generally watches TV for about 3 hours a day. Currently almost entirely after DD has gone to bed.
Posted 25 January 2006 - 12:03 AM
Since DD was born we have lived in places that have extreme tempatures (sp??).
We have lived in desert conditions so extremely hot summers and extremely cold winters. We are now living in the Pilbara which is regularly around 37 degs during the day and 28 deg at night.
We have heaps (approx 100) DVDs and more videos which play almost constantly when we are home. I don't think it is a problem as DD does enjoy going outside to play whenb she can and we also do other activities when possible. As a previous postermentioned there are days when most of aour energy is exerted with Hi 5 and the WIggles.
Posted 25 January 2006 - 07:11 AM
DadAgain - we have MythTV which runs on a linux box. I'm also a bit of a TV addict but the TV is off most of the day until 3pm when it's on all evening. :|
But anyway, yes we have several recorded playschools, wiggles and shows that we watch. If we had a ballsier machine I would watch the TV through Myth so I could skip the ads.
Kelby+4 - I'm interested in what you said about your DD.
when i cut it out entirely she was much better behaved and calmer overall, and i didn't need that break. She is actually less work and more content now than she ever was watching TV
My DS will not often play and amuse himself. I'm not sure if it's because he is only 2 or what but I have to constantly play with him or else he's following me around and whinging etc etc. How is it that your DD is less work??? Are you constantly playing with her to keep her amused or does she enjoy playing with her toys?
Posted 25 January 2006 - 08:01 AM
Yes my HTPC is a MythTV box too - its great. Next step is to build a MythClient for the bedroom so I can watch centralised timeslipped content from anywhere in the house!
Posted 25 January 2006 - 07:26 PM
bit OT, but i'm pleased to see 'snaps' making it out into mainstream forum content like that
Posted 26 January 2006 - 08:27 AM
How is it that your DD is less work??? Are you constantly playing with her to keep her amused or does she enjoy playing with her toys?She's less work in that she seems to be much better behaved. She probably is more work in terms of entertainment (takes longer to set her up with her textas and paper, and pack her up afterwards than it does to switch on the TV), but it's so much more enjoyable. She has barely any tantrums any more either-she turned 2 yesterday.
She actually entertains herself quite well. She has two little sisters that are up most of the time that are getting quite fun to play with (11 months), which helps enormously, and when they're asleep we pull out the not around sisters toys-paper books etc. I don't constantly play with her (impossible!). It's more like me read her a book, then her look at it, or me draw something on the magna doodle or paper, then her draw all over that, or set up the sink so she can play in the water etc.
I do think it has something to do with lack of TV though-TV in the end is pretty mindless, it requires no thought, imagination or interaction, so there's no encouragement to develop the ability to entertain yourself-TV does it all.
Posted 26 January 2006 - 10:26 AM
I am another WAHM who tries very hard to limit television although it could be a very easy babysitter for me. We are not big television watchers at all here as I grew up with strict rules regarding tv, so it never became a habit. I also seriously despise commercials and always mute them - so we only watch the actual program we choose to watch and nothing is 'forced' upon us IYKWIM.
I am no scientist but my suspicion is that lots of television can make you a lazy thinker. It can teach excellent things etc but tv just serves everything to us on a platter and it can kill the free imagination of kids to think up activities themselves from scratch.
There was a month or so when I relaxed my tv rules and noticed that my 3.5 year old was much less inclined to use his brain to think up games himself, very quickly he started to resort to asking for a 'movie' after 15-20 mins of free play. Stricter viewing rules came into place after DS2 was born as I didn't want him watching at all (as per DS1 at same age), I found DS1 tends to play for longer periods unassisted and doesn't fall into that habit of asking for tv to entertain him. The rule is 1hr tops a day, none on the weekends.
I would like my children to grow into adults that choose what they want to watch rather than just watching whatever is on, hour after hour. I dont want them to necessarily view the television as a form of relaxation all the time. But I dont believe in restricting it entirely either. Television will always be around - you can't hide from it - so it's better to teach good habits from the start so once its up to them to decide how much them watch, its been ingrained that too much is a bad thing.
Moderation is the key for us.
Posted 27 January 2006 - 09:43 AM
Hmmm, I didn't even now that kind of technology existed. we still pull out the old playstation 1 when the kids are asleep and play sometimes.
Posted 28 January 2006 - 10:05 AM
Im a mum of 6 and honestly theres alot of telly going on in our house!
mind you i guess its focused at different times for diff kids LOL!
so in the AM its ABC kids for DD and DS who dont yet attend school, and the bub who is just 6 months has no intrest in this so has play time with toys while i get older 3 sorted for school.
after the older 3 head off to school i find that the 2 at home migrate away from the telly and err more towards lots of play etc, usually they are outside with me while i hang out washing etc. after naps ill usually either throw a dvd on OR we have play time together!
when older 3 get home from school they usually have homework of some description or a bit of reading to do, after that its either a dvd or some more ABC kids!
i guess the amount o telly watched is a little high but at the same time i dont really think its "harmed" them.
weekends are a little different, most weekends we are off doing something so theres little time for the telly with the exeption of maybe a few cartoons during brekkie!
on the occasion we are home all weekend the kids are usually outside playing together, with 6 of them theres alot to do!
mind you i think if anyone is the telly addict its ME and DH! LOL! im obsessed with collecting dvds (yet i never get to sit down to watch them, go figure!) and have almost 400 now LOL! plus when they summer telly ends and normal viewing resumes id say i have atleast 8 "must watch" shows per week! *shame* LOL!
Posted 28 January 2006 - 01:58 PM
Ocs_hobb I understand where you are coming from, but we really should look to studies which investigate large groups of children and come to scientific conclusions. Television doesn't actually give you adhd, if there is any kind of disposition to a behavioural problem in a child it has the prooven potential to bring it out. Its a bit like some people getting mental illnesses from smoking cannabis if they have a genetic predisposition. (not that tv is like cannabis, just using it as an analogy).
This is one of many studies which show a link between behavioural problems and television. I just copied the abstract, the imp bit are the results at the bottom. It's from the american association of peadiatricians (sp?) at:
There are heaps more if you google:
ABSTRACT. Objective. Cross-sectional research has suggested that television viewing may be associated with decreased attention spans in children. However, longitudinal data of early television exposure and subsequent attentional problems have been lacking. The objective ofthis study was to test the hypothesis that early televisionexposure (at ages 1 and 3) is associated with attentionalproblems at age
We used the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, a representative longitudinal data set. Our main outcome was the hyperactivity subscale of the Be-havioral Problems Index determined on all participantsat age 7. Children who were>1.2 standard deviationsabove the mean were classified as having attentionalproblems. Our main predictor was hours of televisionwatched daily at ages 1 and 3 years.Results. Data were available for 1278 children at age1 and 1345 children at age 3. Ten percent of children had attentional problems at age 7. In a logistic regressionmodel, hours of television viewed per day at both ages 1and 3 was associated with attentional problems at age 7(1.09 [1.03–1.15] and 1.09 [1.02–1.16]), respectively.
Conclusions. Early television exposure is associated with attentional problems at age 7. Efforts to limit tele-vision viewing in early childhood may be warranted, and additional research is needed. Pediatrics 2004;113:708–713; ADHD, television, attentional problems, prevention.
There are literally hundereds of other studies which have even more definitive results in line with this.
Posted 28 January 2006 - 02:33 PM
Thats kind of interesting mum to tara, my eldest is ADHD ,and being our first i admit we were MOST stringent with his tv viewing times, what he could/couldnt watch and when etc etc, yet he is still adhd!
i look at the studies and many similar and i find it hard to keep up! it reminds me of the great food debate and ADHD children, they SHOULD eat this, they SHOULDNT eat this, no wait, they HAVE to eat this etc etc LOL!
i guess i have never made any conection between my eldest watching TV and behavioural dramas, mostly possibly because my eldest was always just that little bit calmer watching ABC kids in the morning LOL!
and osc_hobb i really appreicate what your saying! if i look back to the amout of telly i watched growing up ,and who i am today, i dont think its effected me to any point where id need to be concerned! and i look at my children, and wonder about them possibly having this debate one day about THEIR children and wonder if THEY will think back to their childhoods and remember TV more or less than they rememeber time as a family, i know i watched a fairly large amount of telly (i was an only child LOL!) BUT my memories dont come from "a great show i once watched" but time with my mother , friends and activities i very much enjoyed and did!
i think its great to turn these sort of topics around on yourself and think from that angle sometimes, as oposed to constantly worrying "have i got it right?am i worrying TOO much, or NOT enough?"etc!
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