TV Viewing Delays Development

TV watching has been quite the buzz lately, especially since both Nielson and Kaiser have recently confirmed that TV watching is by far the largest consumed media across all age groups.

Now a Canadian study has found that too much television for young children is bad for your child’s health and brain development. (Surprise, surprise!) This isn’t the first study we’ve seen talking about how too much media could hurt kids’ health.

It’s funny… at the last parent workshop I taught, I asked the parents attending which entertainment media source the average kid spent the most time in front of. Most parents voted “internet” or “music.” It’s a common misconception. Believe it or not, TV still reigns (you can look at my blog about Nielson’s results here or our article about Kaiser’s study here). Even with the increase in online downloading of shows, normal “traditional” TV watching wins.

So it’s no surprise when this Canadian study discovered not only that kids were watching too much TV, but it affected their social skills, math skills and even their heath!

Here’s a snippet about the study from the Montreal Gazette:

The parents of 1,314 children were asked how much time their little ones spent in front of the box at 29 months and again at 58 months. When the children were 10, researchers used academic records, interviews with Grade 4 teachers and body mass index measurements, weighted against factors such as temperament, family makeup and how far their mother went in school to tease out a portrait of how TV watching as a toddler shaped a child’s ability to focus, process complex information and think logically.

“We found every additional hour of TV exposure among toddlers corresponded to a future decrease in classroom engagement and success at math, increased victimization by classmates . . . a more sedentary lifestyle, higher consumption of junk food and, ultimately, higher body mass index,”

That’s a no-brainer.

Hey… I’ve got an idea: monitor your kids’ TV watching! (Brilliant, huh?)

About Jonathan McKee

president of The Source for Youth Ministry, is the author of over twenty books including the brand new The Teen’s Guide to Social Media & Mobile Devices, If I Had a Parenting Do Over, 52 Ways to Connect with Your Smartphone Obsessed Kid; and the Amazon Best Seller - The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket. He has over 20 years youth ministry experience and speaks to parents and leaders worldwide, all while providing free resources for youth workers and parents on his websites, and You can follow Jonathan on his blog, getting a regular dose of youth culture and parenting help. Jonathan, his wife Lori, and their three kids live in California.
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