Most kids start watching TV at a very early age. The American Academy of Pediatrics claims that children under 2 years of age should not watch TV. The first two years are responsible for brain development in children and constant staring at the idiot box can come in way of social and physical development. After 2 years, the TV time should not be more than an hour until they reach primary school.
As a child grows up, this habit of watching TV steals away his precious time from important activities like reading, playing with friends, going out and meeting people, bonding with family and studying. This can hamper your child's physical, mental and social development.
What do Children Learn from the Television?
There are various educational programs running on the television, and there are several kid shows that can help your child in learning numbers, letters and songs. They may show emotions as well but it is unlikely for your toddler to pick up all those emotions. Some children-shows may have violent content which could have a negative impact on small kids.
The biggest worry among parents is that their children may learn violence through TV or video games. Nearly 2/3rd of all TV programs contain acts of violence. Some TV programs emphasize on violence and make it glamorous. Due to such programs, children may suffer from nightmares, develop anxiety and face difficulty in concentrating.
Sitting or lying in one place for watching TV hampers the level of physical activity in children. This can also lead to problems such as obesity in kids. To make things worse, all the flashy advertisements of junk food on the TV encourage kids to opt for junk food over other healthy food items.
TV programs also show a lot of sexual behaviour which may not be age-appropriate. In a country like India where talking about sex is a taboo, children can get all the more interested to know about it.
What Should you Do?
- Limit the number of hours – Do not keep a television in your bedroom. Make it a habit not to watch television while having food or while doing homework. Set a TV time to make things easier.
- Set an example by limiting your own time
- Watch TV together as a family
- Rent DVDs or cartoons which are appropriate for your kid’s age for they allow you to pick good content, and are free from ads
- Talk to kids about what they want to watch and accordingly create a schedule
- Talk to other parents and discuss about your kid’s TV viewing habits. Ask them how they go about setting limits in their kids.
- Offer better alternatives than television
- Keep a check on what they like to watch and encourage them on watching educational channels, which will help them learn new things
Actions speak louder than words, and parents need to limit their TV hours to get their children to keep away from the idiot box. You may include a lot of indoor and outdoor activities like chess, quiz, football, cricket and other games to keep children occupied. It may not be possible to keep your kids completely away from the TV, but you can definitely set a TV time and keep a check on what they watch by using parental controls available with some service providers.