Having three children of my own, screen time has always been a constant struggle. I did my best when they were younger to limit the amount of time spent in front of the TV, but they sure loved their kid movies! How much is too much? And how can the amount of time they spend in front of the TV when they’re young effect them when they’re older? The answer may surprise you.
The average time a child spends watching television on a daily basis is approximately 1.5 hours. According to a recently published study, every additional hour added to this, a child increases his chances of being bullied by 11%.
The study, which is published in the Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics combined data from 991 girls and 1,006 boys from Canada. Data included the amount of time spent watching TV and the behavioral characteristics of the child. Years later, when the children reached 11 or 12 years old, the researchers asked them how much bullying (physical and verbal) they received.
The results showed that children who spent more time in front of a TV screen were more likely to be bullied in their preteen years than children that pursued other interests.
Professor at the University of Montreal and author of the study Linda Pagani believes that the reason may be due to the children’s lack of socialization skills. When children are glued to the TV they miss out on socializing with siblings and parents. “Excessive viewing time during the early years can create a time debt for pursuits involving social play,” she said.
According to The American Academy of Pediatrics children over two years old should watch no more than two hours of quality TV shows a day.
It is recommend that toddlers engage in these age appropriate activities the rest of the time:
∙ Play. Engage infants and toddlers at play. “It’s the primary way by which children should learn to make sense of the world they are in.”
∙ Interact. Visual stimulation is important. Babies should be presented with activities requiring movement and interaction. “Children should get real-time reactions from people and things which TV cannot provide because it’s a one-way medium.”
∙ Read your baby storybooks. Remember to also let him quietly play by himself by giving him a board book or soft blocks.
How much screen time do you allow your children?