viewing is a major activity and influence on children and
adolescents. Children in the United States watch an average
of three to four hours of television a day. By the time of
high school graduation, they will have spent more time watching
television than they have in the classroom. While television
can entertain, inform, and keep our children company, it may
also influence them in undesirable ways.
watching television takes away from important activities such
as reading, school work, playing, family interaction, and
social development. Children also learn information from television
that may be inappropriate or incorrect. They often can not
tell the difference between the fantasy presented on television
versus reality. They are influenced by the thousands of commercials
seen each year, many of which are for alcohol, junk food (candy
and sugared cereal), fast foods, and toys. Children who watch
a lot of television are likely to:
lower grades in school
sexuality, race and gender stereotypes, drug and alcohol abuse
are common themes of television programs. Impressionable young
people may assume that what they see on television is typical,
safe, and acceptable. As a result, television also exposes
children to behaviors and attitudes that may be overwhelming
and difficult to understand.
parenting can ensure that children have a positive experience
with television. Parents can help by:
programs with your children
developmentally appropriate shows
limits on the amount of television viewing (per day and
off the TV during family meals and study time
off shows you don't feel are appropriate for your child
parents can help by doing the following: don't allow children
to watch long blocks of TV, but help them select individual
programs. Choose shows that meet the developmental needs
of your child. Children's shows on public TV are appropriate,
but soap operas, adult sitcoms, and adult talk shows are
not. Set certain periods when the television will be off.
Study times are for learning, not for sitting in front of
the TV doing homework. Meal times are a good time for family
members to talk with each other, not for watching television.
discussions with your children about what they are seeing
as you watch shows with them. Point out positive behavior,
such as cooperation, friendship, and concern for others.
While watching, make connections to history, books, places
of interest, and personal events. Talk about your personal
and family values as they relate to the show. Ask children
to compare what they are watching with real events. Talk
about the realistic consequences of violence. Discuss the
role of advertising and its influence on buying. Encourage
your child to be involved in hobbies, sports, and peers.
With proper guidance, your child can learn to use television
in a healthy and positive way.
TV VIEWING AN ACTIVE PROCESS FOR CHILD AND PARENT!
#54 Updated 04/96
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