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To TV or not to TV
By J Gardener
To TV or not to TV
By J Gardener
Most parents start out, resolved to be more enlightened than their peers, when it comes to their children and television. You did-you planned to substitute reading, physical activity, and family projects for that electronic addiction you grew up with. Now, you realize, it was almost an impossible dream.
Just look at the statistics, according to The Sourcebook for Teaching Science (http://www.csun.edu/science/health/docs/tv&health.html) :
Average number of minutes per week parents spend in meaningful conversation with their children: 3.5;
Number of minutes per week that the average child watches television: 1,680;
Percentage of Americans that regularly watch television while eating dinner: 66;
Percentage of 4-6 year-olds who, when asked to choose between watching and spending time with their fathers, preferred television: 54;
Hours per year the average American youth spends in school: 900 hours;
Hours per year the average American youth watches television: 1500;
Number of murders seen on by the time an average child finishes elementary school: 8,000;
Number of violent acts seen on by age 18: 200,000.
Like it or not, is more ingrained in our culture than ever before. You can't change it, and it's not realistic to eliminate television from your child's life. But The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends limiting your child's television viewing to two hours of quality
programming a day.
Fortunately, between public television and cable networks such as Disney and Nickelodeon, parents today have a variety of sources from which to choose, for quality programming. The trick is to investigate what's on and to choose what's age appropriate for your child.
Pediatrician Dr. Vincent Ianellia, at www.pediatrics.about.com , suggests that you find programming which teaches your child while holding his interest, and which encourages him to listen, question, and learn, while introducing him to new ideas.
Whenever possible, watch with your child. Not only can you regulate the content of what he sees, but you can use the time to take the opportunity to discuss the programming, and its effect on your child.
Eliminating the television from dinner-time is another important way you can stay connected with your child. For most families, today, time spent together is at a premium, and time parents spend in serious conversation with their kids is even rarer. Set an
agenda for dinner-table talk-vary the topics you discuss with your kids, each evening; you'll be surprised how much you learn from them.
Plan physical activities, both indoor and outdoor, in which the whole family can take part. Many experts believe that a contributing factor in the epidemic of obestiy we're seeing today is "couch-potato-itis" -the habit of sitting in front of the TV, rather than exercising.
Consider eliminating the from your child's bedroom. Kids who regularly use as a way of falling asleep generally get less sleep, which can negatively affect every aspect of their waking lives, including their schoolwork.
TV will always be a part of our lives. With a little vigilance, you can ensure that it's a positive enhancement in your child's development.
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