How Much is Too Much TV?

July 19, 2006

I have a confession to make. I’m a television watcher, and so are my children. Since getting tivo, my television watching is more, dare I say, “productive”. Hardly any channel surfing. All I have to do is scroll through my recorded programs and press play.

So, I wasn’t surprised to read this article entitled Many Parents Encouraging Their Tots to Watch TV. According to this study, one third of the nations youngest children are “glued to the tube”. This article states that because we are a generation of parents raised on TV we largely encourage the early use of television, video games and computers by our own children.

The parents questioned during the focus group stated the following:

These parents say TV teaches how to share and the ABCs when they do not have the time. Television provides time for parents to cook or take a shower. They use screen time as a reward or, paradoxically, to help kids wind down at bedtime.

I have to say that when my daughter was very little, she had just about every Disney sing along video and learned a lot that way. Besides, being a single mother, I found Disney a great help! Put the video on, take a quick shower. Put the video on, make dinner. Disney was a life-saver!!

Some of the parents questioned in this study did say the following, which I found pretty funny:

One mother stopped watching “ER” reruns when her preschooler tried to give her little brother CPR. Another mom laughed that her 15-month-old sang the McDonald’s jingle — “ba, ba, boppa, ba” — every time they drove past the golden arches.

I can relate. Last night, my son asked me to wake him up at 8 a.m. 7 Central.