Seriously no TV? What the experts say about screen time and kids.
I had the opportunity tonight to speak to my daughter’s pre-school about screen time. And you ask…what gives me the authority to speak on this subject? Well, I don’t have a fancy degree, nor am I a prominent researcher, but what I am is a product of my environment. You see, I was not raised with a television in my home and we are raising our kids the same way. No TV.
I have been gathering information on this topic for several months and wasn’t exactly sure how to approach it. People really don’t like being told that they are doing things wrong or that their kids might suffer. And from my experiences in life, I know for a fact that people pick and choose the information that they want. I also find it fascinating to note that people become extremely defensive when you mention that you don’t have TV. They immediately start justifying their use of technology and that they don’t really watch all that much TV. LOL. I laugh, because I am not being critical, I am simply stating facts. And what I have to offer is information and education. Take what you want from it and use it to better your family…your life will thank you for it.
So, I finally decided to make a list of some fascinating statistics dealing with children and screen time, a few bullets of the effects of TV and then some solutions and alternatives to using a screen (TV, I-Pad, video games, DVDs, I-pods, cell phones).
I hope your family benefits greatly from this info.
Kids & Screen Time
Abigail P – Monday January 9, 2012
Screen Time Stats
Average child in America spends an average of 2.5 hours of listening to music via i-pod; 5 hours of TV; 3 hours of internet/video games and 38 minutes of reading.
2/3 of Pre-schoolers get more than the maximum 2 hours a day of SCREEN TIME (TV, video games, computers, DVD’s, I-Pad’s, Cell phones) Usually 4 hours daily, with 3.6 hours if they are at home and 5.6 hours if they are in an in-home day care.
More time in front of a screen than they spend in school, within a year’s time.
Children ages 2-5 spend 32 hours a week in front of a TV
43% of children under 2 watch TV, which is against the APA recommendations of no TV under the age of 2 and no more than 1 to 2 hours a day for children up 2-5 years
Only 1/3 or 33% of parents monitor or set limits on screen time
Average American child sees 10,000 food commercials a year
Percentage of households that possess at least one television: 99
Number of TV sets in the average U.S. household: 2.24
Percentage of U.S. homes with three or more TV sets: 66
Number of hours per day that TV is on in an average U.S. home: 6 hours, 47 minutes
40 – 60% of homes have TV on for the majority of the day
Percentage of Americans that regularly watch television while eating dinner: 66
Number of hours of TV watched annually by Americans: 250 billion
Percentage of Americans who pay for cable TV: 56
Number of videos rented daily in the U.S.: 6 million
Number of public library items checked out daily: 3 million
Percentage of Americans who say they watch too much TV: 49
Development & Effects Of Screen Time
• During the early years, brain development is critical
• Having too much screen time inhibits their creativity; motor skills & socialization
• Lose out on activities that stimulate the brain
• Babies & Toddlers live in a very literal world and often have a hard time distinguishing real life and TV; thus imitation
• Studies show children can be exhibit more violence, aggressive behavior and desensitized to certain things.
• Children younger than 2 view TV as a confusing array of color, images and noises. And since the scene changes on the average of 5-8 seconds, they do not have time to digest it.
• Children benefit better from real interactions than from watching them on TV
• Cartoons & many shows have changes over the years.
• Media and Screens can be very ADDICTIVE
• Ads and commercials
• Free internet game sites are the new tool of advertising
• Children with TVs in their rooms watch 1.5 more hours of TV than others.
• Children with 5 hours or more of screen time a day are 4x as likely to be obese than those who see less than 2 hours a day.
• Children who are heavy users of screens and media over ½ of them get C’s and below.
• Creates distractions
o Dinner table
o Not just TV – More than just sitting down in front of TV
• Video Games
• TV/DVD players in vehicles
• DVD players at the airport
• Hand Held Devices (game systems, I-pods, i-touch, etc)
• Cell Phone (more than just talking; texting)
o At restaurants, on the bus, in the car, at the dinner table
• Lap Tops
Solutions/Alternatives To Screen Time
Limiting screen time benefits the whole family
Set Limits (parents who set limits, consumption of screen time drops by nearly 3 hours a day)
Screen time = Active Time
Don’t use it as a consequence or reward
• Etch a Sketch
• Photo Books
• Board Games
• Family Dinner (NO Screens at dinner)
• Sit less; move more
• Screen Free play dates
Benefits of playing alone – American Academy of Pediatrics supports unstructured playtime for all ages
I gathered my information from a variety of sources and have started a board on pinterest that link to many of the articles that I read.