Is TV Helping or Hurting Your Child?

Article was from Western PA Guide to Good Health.

Is-TV-Helping-or-Hurting-Your-Child

TV and movie viewing as well as video-game activities are fun, educational and social ways for kids to grow and learn. But some guidelines will make the experience more beneficial for you and your family.

RxTV Prescriptions for Healthy Kids

Obesity is a national epidemic. Although TV watching does not cause obesity, too much viewing doesn’t give kids the physical activity that they need, so be sure they get up and move, exercise and play. Obesity is associated with too much sitting, so this is key to health. Limit viewing and technology time to allow for other activities.

Messages – Decide which messages you want your kids to have about families. Children learn more when an adult watches with them and talks with them about the program. For example, what did they see? What message is it sending? Observe to see what messages the shows give about families and discuss what they mean for your family. Decide if they are ideas that nurture your child.

Advertising – Be sure to talk about any messages you don’t agree with, such as commercials or shows that associate being “cool” with name brand jeans or tennis shoes. Ads for sugary treats and cereals and fast food pervade children’s viewing time, with the purpose of persuading them to ask for processed foods. Take time to talk to your children about the real outcomes of eating processed foods rather than the messages in the ads.

Violence – kids can sometimes release their own aggressive instincts by watching TV aggression but are also more likely to act aggressively immediately after viewing if an opportunity arises. This could be an issue if they watch with siblings because there is someone there for them to direct aggression toward. Also discuss the consequences of characters’ actions. For example, if they see someone break into a building to get something to help someone, they may see the action as positive. Talk about what’s positive or negative about such actions.

Social Behavior can be learned by watching TV with siblings and peers. Sharing, discussing and imitating positive behaviors and learning skills are essential to child development.

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