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Television and Children

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Television and Children How big a presence is TV in kids ' lives? Kids with a TV in their bedroom spend an average of almost 1.5 hours more per day watching TV than kids without a TV in the bedroom. Many parents encourage their toddlers to watch television. Most children ' s programming does not teach what parents say they want their children to learn; many shows are filled with stereotypes, violent solutions to problems, and mean behavior. For more detailed information on these issues, read on. "It may be tempting to put your infant or toddler in front of the television, especially to watch shows created just for children under age two. But the American Academy of Pediatrics says: Don 't do it! These early years are crucial in a child 's development. The Academy is concerned about the impact of television programming intended for children younger than age two and how it could affect your child 's development. Pediatricians strongly oppose targeted programming, especially when it 's used to market toys, games, dolls, unhealthy food and other products to toddlers. _Any positive effect of television on infants and toddlers is still open to question, but the benefits of parent-child interactions are proven. Under age two, talking, singing, reading, listening to music or playing are far more important to a child 's development than any TV show."_ An average American child will see 200,000 violent acts and 16,000 murders on TV by age 18[15]. Most violent acts go unpunished on TV and are often accompanied by humor. The consequences of human suffering and loss are rarely depicted. Repeated exposure to TV violence makes children less sensitive toward its effects on victims and the human suffering it causes. Viewing TV violence reduces inhibitions and leads to more aggressive behavior. Watching television violence can have long-term effects: {text:list-item} {text:list-item} What parents can do: Watch with your kids, so if the programming turns violent, you can discuss what happened to put it in a context you want your kids to learn. Know what your kids are watching. Decide what programs are appropriate for their age and personality, and stick to your rules. To minimize peer pressure to watch violent shows, you may want to talk to the parents of your child 's friends and agree to similar rules. For more on TV violence and kids: Key Facts: TV Violence—a report from the Kaiser Family Foundation. Television Violence: Content, Context, and Consequences. Television Violence: A Review of the Effects on Children of Different Ages—a 1995 70-page report and review of the literature. Violence in the Media--Psychologists Help Protect Children from Harmful Effects: Decades of psychological research confirms that media violence can increase aggression. Comfortably Numb: Desensitizing Effects of Violent Media on Helping Others—This study by a University of Michigan researcher demonstrates that watching violent media can affect willingness to help others in need. Joint Statement on the Impact of Entertainment Violence on Children: Congressional Public Health Summit—a statement of the American Academy of Pediatrics, American. Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, American Psychological Association, American Medical Association, American Academy of Family Physicians, American Psychiatric Association. Can TV scare or traumatize kids? {draw:frame}
Children can come to view the world as a mean and scary place when they take violence and other disturbing themes on TV to be accurate in real life. Symptoms of being frightened or upset by TV stories can include bad dreams, anxious feelings, being afraid of being alone, withdrawing from friends, and missing school. Scary-looking things like grotesque monsters especially frighten children aged two to seven. Telling them that the images aren 't real does not help because kids under age eight can 't always tell the difference between fantasy and reality. Many children exposed to scary movies regret that they watched because of the intensity of their fright reactions. Children ages 8-12 years who view violence are often frightened that they may be a victim of violence or a natural disaster. How does watching television affect performance in school? Can TV influence children 's attitudes toward themselves and others? Let 's take a look at what kids see on TV, and how it can affect their beliefs about race and gender: Children learn to accept the stereotypes represented on television. After all, they see them over and over. Almost half of all stories about children focus on crime (45%). Children account for over a quarter of the U.S. population but only 10% of all local news stories. African American children account for more than half of all stories (61%) involving children of color, followed by Latino children (32%). Asian Pacific American and Native American children are virtually invisible on local news. African American boys are more likely than any other group to be portrayed as perpetrators of crime and violence whereas Caucasian girls are most likely to be shown as victims. Children who watch TV are more likely to be inactive and tend to snack while watching TV. The food and beverage industry targets children with their television marketing, which may include commercials, product placement, and character licensing. Most of the products pushed on kids are high in total calories, sugars, salt, and fat, and low in nutrients. Childhood TV habits are a risk factor for many adult health problems {draw:frame} Children may attempt to mimic stunts seen on TV Injuries are the leading cause of death in children, and watching unsafe behavior on TV may increase children 's risk-taking behavior. Kids have been injured trying to repeat dangerous stunts they have seen on television shows. Watching TV can cause sleep problems TV viewing may promote alcohol use The presence of alcohol on TV runs the gamut from drinking or talk about drinking on prime-time shows, to beer ads, to logos displayed at sporting events. Many studies have shown that alcoholic drinks are the most common beverage portrayed on TV, and that they are almost never shown in a negative light. Kids who watch TV are more likely to smoke Kids get lots of information about sexuality from television Most parents don 't talk to their kids about sex and relationships, birth control and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Most schools do not offer complete sex education programs. So kids get much of their information about sex from TV. Kids are probably not learning what their parents would like them to learn about sex from TV. Sexual content is a real presence on TV. Soap operas, music videos, prime time shows and advertisements all contain lots of sexual content, but usually nothing about contraception or safer sex. On the flip side, TV has the potential to both educate teens, and foster discussion with parents. Watch with your kids, and use the sexual content on TV as a jumping-off point to talk with your teen about sex, responsible behavior and safety. To find out more, read: {text:list-item} {text:list-item} How can I find out more about kids and TV?

Here are some websites with helpful information: The Smart Parent 's Guide to Kid 's TV—from the AAP. , a Spanish publication from the Educational Resources Information Center (ERIC). , the above guideline, in Spanish. Talking with kids about the news—10 tips for parents. The Federal Communication Commission 's (FCC) page on children 's educational TV. Managing Television: Tips for Your Family Media and Media Literacy Video Games The Internet Obesity Sleep Problems Reading What are some organizations that work on issues around kids and TV? References Written and compiled by Kyla Boyse, R.N. Reviewed by faculty and staff at the University of Michigan

References: Written and compiled by Kyla Boyse, R.N. Reviewed by faculty and staff at the University of Michigan

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