Do You Let Your Kids Watch TV?

Written by James Kicinski-McCoy
10:30 am
07/23/14

Photo via Time

When we were kids we watched TV in our pajamas on Saturday mornings. It was sort of a magical thing, waking up early while our parents slept in and plopping ourselves in front of the tube to zone out for the few hours until our beloved cartoons came to an end. But that’s the thing, they ended. By noon, the cartoons were done, the news came on, and the television was turned off. After-school cartoons started at 3 p.m. and ended in time for dinner and the 5 o’clock news.

That was then, but these days it’s a whole different ballgame with cable channels that play nothing but cartoons 24/7, and instant streaming applications like Netflix and Hulu that are full of kid shows, cartoons, and movies, not to mention the internet. Today’s child can literally watch anything at any given moment.

Of course, there are two camps of thought when it comes to children and screen time. Some parents are anti-tevelvision—so much so that they remove TVs from the common areas of the home or remove them entirely. Meanwhile, others feel like a little boob-tube is just fine in moderation.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, “Today’s children are spending an average of seven hours a day on entertainment media, including televisions, computers, phones, and other electronic devices.” It suggests “limiting screen time and offering educational media and non-electronic formats such as books, newspapers, and board games, and [by] watching television with their children, parents can help guide their children’s media experience.”

It also recommends keeping all electronic devices out of children’s rooms, making them “screen-free” zones, and that children and teens should spend no more than one to two hours per day in front of the screen, and that TV and the like should be avoided for children under two. “A child’s brain develops rapidly during these first years, and young children learn best by interacting with people, not screens.”

We’d like to get a conversation started. What are your thoughts on kids and television and other forms of screen time? Please let us know in the comments below.

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