I know a lot of parents find it easy to stick their child in front of the t.v. so that they can get other things done. I do not think it is wrong for a child to watch some t.v. a day but I also don't think that a child should watch it all day long either. How much t.v. do people let their children each day? And do you think a child should watch t.v. everyday? What are people's thoughts on this?

asked 28 Sep '09, 03:33

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Melissa 1
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edited 01 Oct '09, 04:03

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I tend to use TV/movies as a babysitter. I use it sometimes when I take a shower so I know my daughter will still be in the same spot when I get out and I use it around dinner time so that I can prepare dinner without stumbling over my children in the kitchen. I know many people are against the whole babysitting thing, but for now when my kids are little and have a hard time keeping them out of trouble when I'm in certain distractable situations it works for me. I think Emi's 30min-2hour suggestion seems right. I'm sure that as my kids get older I won't have to use it as a babysitter and then I'll have to be more aware of the effects of t.v.

I did hear somewhere that it's better for children to watch t.v. in the later afternoon and not in the mornings. That mornings are better for imaginary play because for most children that is when their "brains are fresh" or something to that extent. I have no idea where I heard that though! :)


answered 28 Sep '09, 08:01

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I think TV can be both equally positive and negative. I do not think that hours and hours of any kids channel can be particularly healthy. I have observed the advertorials inbetween, and they are quite numbing, repetitions of the same toys over and over again. Depending on where you live I think TV can be used as an educational supplement provided that you and your partner are present during some programmes and are aware of the programmes your child watches.

We have a diverse mix of programmes that we record. These include an array of BBC programmes, some childrens programmes, nature and history programmes, movies old and new and so on. Then we watch certain programmes together as a family, and then continue to discuss the content afterwards if needed. She enjoyes this tremendously because as well as being challenging for her it also pleases her that it is a family activity so to speak.

The benefits of this has been an amazing amount of common sensical information that has been picked up and stored and used, at school, at home, and during conversations with us. She is 5 years old.

These include gems like, "Why do people have to fight, and make wars, when they know how to talk" or "I think I want to work with water when I grow up" we ask why? and the answer is very matter of fact " *well water is very very important for living"

So my answers would be yes for TV more or less everyday, and the times would vary depending on the type of programmes. from 30 minutes up to 2 hours in total.


answered 28 Sep '09, 07:35

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edited 28 Sep '09, 07:42

I hate to see kids' eyes glaze over as the sit and watch TV... and I think I watched too much of it growing up so... we have no TV. We watch movies periodically but not more than one a week. Why not give your kids the opportunity to grow up without TV? What a gift for them not to waste any of their life in front of it! Just my 2 cents...


answered 28 Sep '09, 16:44

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Melissa H
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edited 28 Sep '09, 16:53

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Scott ♦♦

Hi Melissa. I removed the link/URL because it wasn't directly related to the question, but there is a spot in your profile to add a home page or web page. Please feel free to put it there.

(28 Sep '09, 16:54) Scott ♦♦

-1 Isn't "wasting any of there life in front of it" down to us, as parents? While I fully respect your opinion, I think that there are benefits of watching some television.

(14 Nov '09, 20:27) Emi

My daughter rarely watches TV-shows, but she watches a lot of movies (VHS/DVD/computer) instead. This way we have more control of what she sees.

As to how much... weekdays about 2.5 hours per day. 1/3 of that in the mornings, both me and my wife are not morning persons so a bit of calm in the mornings to get in order and have some coffee is very nice.

She's usually quite active while watching, usually with drawing, colouring, scissors and glue. This have taken a toll on the living-room table but is worth it in our opinion.

Weekends she sometimes watches 4-5 hours. She wakes up about 6.30, one of us fixes a snack starts a movie and then goes back to bed. She plays with the TV on until us adults are dressed and brunch is served.


answered 28 Sep '09, 08:23

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+1 for control over what children watch.

(14 Oct '09, 21:38) mouviciel

Just curious - since she's active with other things "while watching", why have it on at all? Why not have her focus all her attention on her art project?

(15 Oct '09, 03:11) Emily

I suppose it's for the same reason I listen to music while I work. But it started with her just watching the movie (when she was younger). One day she asked if she could do some drawings while watching, and it went on from that.

(16 Oct '09, 18:47) Simsalabim

My son (recently turned 3) has pretty much never seen TV, other than a handful of individual special occasions (a few minutes of a superbowl, Obama's inauguration speech, and DVDs on long airplane rides).

We are not anti-TV zealots. We enjoy TV ourselves. Our goal was merely to make it through the first year of his life without TV. By the time we made it that far, it was all downhill -- the TV was in a cabinet that only is opened after he goes to bed, he wasn't asking for TV, and we weren't tempted to volunteer it.

Now that he's started preschool and we are around more kids, it's startling how much farther ahead are the kids who don't watch TV compared to the ones who do -- verbally, in ability to concentrate, and even in physical coordination. It's just amazing, and plainly obvious when you have a TV kid next to a no-TV kid. Also, our son has none of the acquisitiveness that comes along with the constant barrage of advertisements aimed at young kids. We're SO glad we made it this far and now hope to keep TV as minimal as possible for as long as we can get away with without being perceived as tyrants (we don't want to go so far as to create a "forbidden fruit" effect).

As he started to approach his 3rd birthday, we began allowing him to watch a little Sesame Street and National Geographic stuff on our computers, but restricted to maybe 10 minutes per day, while on our laps, and with nearly constant discussion about what he's seeing so it's really just a starting off point for verbal and other cognitive development.


answered 29 Sep '09, 05:13

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Your child may just be advanced to begin with, so I wouldn't go so far as to make a causal leap. My kids (noted above) exhibit the same advanced qualities as yours compared to other kids in their class. I'm just saying that TV alone is neither good nor bad and that the parents who over-expose their children to TV aren't exactly the most conscientious parents to begin with.

(30 Sep '09, 17:06) bbrown

I amend my comments to clarify: When observing kids (not my own), I've found it remarkably easy to tell (usually) which ones watch TV and which don't. I live in an area where it's not uncommon for kids to watch much less TV than the average American, so there's a large enough sample size of both TV watchers and TV abstainers to realize that this isn't a fluke.

(01 Oct '09, 06:03) lgritz

Honestly, I think it really depends on the child.

My two younger kids could care less about the TV most of their time, but their older brother is a different matter entirely. He would watch TV all day if allowed.

Since my wife and I split up, I've decided to not have cable TV in my house. I still have a television, so when the kids come over we can still watch movies. In fact, our new routine is Friday night movie night where we all veg out and watch a movie and eat in front of the TV :).

But the rest of the weekend is spent outside playing in the yard, or at the park or lake with the dogs. I've found that no TV means there's little/no reason to spend time in the house.


answered 29 Sep '09, 22:09

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Mando Escamilla
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I think that the effect of TV on your child depends a lot on what you do with the rest of the day. I do use DVDs for about an hour a day to allow myself some time to clean or have a shower while knowing that my child is safe and happy.

This allows me to make sure that I have time to take her outside and do a 'circle time' nearly every day. When I don't have that 'movie' time to get some housework done, she ends up following me around all day while I work.

Most people seem pretty impressed with her development, so I don't think the tv time has harmed her.


answered 29 Sep '09, 22:45

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edited 30 Sep '09, 04:27

We don't have a T.V. and our four kids, ages 6,4,2 and 11 months watch a couple of hours of TV a week on the internet or we watch a DVD on Sunday afternoon. I'm not a big fan as I think it hinders concentration, imagination and initiative, but I'm happy for them to watch a little. I would like them to view TV as one of a hundred different activities they can engage in, not something that happens every day.

Advertising to children should be more strictly policed, they can't dintinguish between truth and selling a product. I think advertising to children produces kids who are not very easily satisfied, always wanting more.


answered 30 Sep '09, 11:45

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Jo A
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Our kids watch approximately 3 hours of TV on the weekends and maybe 2 on the weekdays. Our youngest is still taking naps and watching a movie for the duration of his nap ensures that they are not too loud and he gets his much-needed sleep. So that's about an hour and a half. The rest is maybe a few shows on Saturday morning or a couple programs after the older kids go to school.

I certainly think there's such a thing as too much TV but my gauge is that you'll know it when you see it. When the kids start clamoring for more TV or sort of "zone out" then I know it's time to move on to another activity. We also prepare them for the end of TV time by saying, "This is the last show" or "next commercial we turn off the TV."

[EDIT: Professor and clinical psychologist Todd Kashdan agrees with this sentiment.]


answered 28 Sep '09, 16:03

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edited 14 Oct '09, 21:18

What I don't like with TV:

  • passivity, lack of creativity
  • no control over contents, exposition to ads and consumerism

What I like with TV (when I control content):

  • babysitting, calm-down effect
  • storytelling, education

My children also love the combination of music and screen savers or slideshows of their holidays.


answered 15 Oct '09, 09:28

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Asked: 28 Sep '09, 03:33

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Last updated: 09 Nov '09, 03:04