Title: Children's - Adolescents and Television
Category: Positive Parenting
This month the American Academy of Pediatrics came out with
a policy statement summing up many of the dangers of television
abuse by children and adolescents. This
has been a concern of the American
Academy of Pediatrics for many years and an ongoing
study since 1984 is confirming many of the earlier suspicions of TV's influence on early sexual activity, drug and alcohol
abuse, poor school performance and
obesity. The average child in
America between the age of two and five watches 25 hours of TV
per week. Between age six
and eleven, they watch 22 hours per week.
Between age twelve and seventeen they watch 23 hours per
week. This does not include
VCR watching which is probably several
more hours per week. The
bottom line is that the TV abuse
and over-watching which was the concern of the American
Academy of Pediatrics in the early 80's is still rampant today.
TV's influence on children is both a function of what they
watch and how much they watch. The
studies show that they watch way
too many hours and the quality of viewing is shown now to
correlate with many bad influences on our children.
As an example American
teenagers see approximately 14,000 sexual references
and suggestions of promiscuity on TV and only 150 of
these references show sexual responsibility, or abstinence or
contraception. There are
also many references to alcohol consumption as well as a tremendous amount of
ads for alcohol, particularly beer.
The American Academy of Pediatrics would certainly like to
see more attention on responsibility of alcohol intake and more
emphasis about the dangers of alcohol abuse, particularly in
children and adolescents.
Some of the recommendations which the American Academy is
presently pushing include:
1. Getting pediatricians and parents to watch TV with their children and to be better informed of what their children are watching.
2. Parents should limit their children's television watching time and a recommendation would be one to two hours per day. I personally think one hour per day is plenty, on week days. Parents are urged to support legislation for higher quality children's programming and less toy based programs which are primarily on the air to sell toys.
3. Parents and pediatricians should continue to urge the media to be responsible in its portrayal of healthy sexuality.
4. Pediatricians and parents should support pressure on the media for less alcohol advertizing.
5. Pediatrics must continue to support ongoing research into the effects of television on children and to work with other groups to monitor and improve the quality of television programming.