Viewing TV is a wonderful source of information and entertainment for people, no matter what their age is. TV shows for almost all age groups are now available on the television. Children, especially, enjoy television for all the cartoon shows, art shows and some talent shows that stream on TV. However, children can get hooked to watching television, which can interfere with their academic performance and also have an adverse impact on their health as well.
Watching television not only has effects on physical health, but it is also responsible for forming behaviour patterns, vocabulary and other things among very young children. Parents should be careful about how long their ward watches TV and which shows is he or she watching.
Parents must, as soon as possible, understand that the time spent watching television is time taken away from family, friends and other physical activities. And all of which are extremely important for the child’s development and also his physical health. Children, in the long term, may not want to sit and interact with people at all and may want to only spend time watching TV.
Also, viewing TV while sitting really close to the screen can also have an adverse impact on their eyes. Children anyway have fragile sense organs and continuous exposure to light from screens can impact their eyes adversely. Screens emit blue light, the long term exposure to which can lead to weak eyes, headaches, etc. According to a recent study which suggests that, children’s eyes absorb more blue light than adults from digital device screens like TV, smartphones, etc. This makes it even more important for you, as parents, to ensure your child does not watch TV all day and the duration for which he or she views shows on TV is regulated and restricted.
Another research published on KidsHealth shows that, too much screen time has also been linked to obesity in children. Watching TV can cause kids to become inactive and snack (eat) a lot. They are also exposed to commercials of unhealthy foods and empty-calorie beverages, which ultimately becomes their favourite snack food, leading to excess weight gain among kids.
Other problems with TV viewing are linked to the kind of content that children watch on TV. Watching violent shows can lead to aggressive behaviour among kids and some characters and shows may also promote habits like smoking, drinking among others. Though such scenes are always accompanied by a warning against the use of such products, children who idealise a character may not pay any heed to such warnings. Parents should watch some shows with the kids to ensure that the content they are watching is fit for their age.
Below is how much TV your child should watch according to their age:
- For toddlers and babies up to 18 months old, no screen time is recommended except occasional video calls with family and friends.
- For children aged between 18 to 24 months, little screen time is okay but it should be under the supervision of a parent or a caregiver.
- For preschoolers, one hour of educational screen time is more than enough which should also be supervised by a parent or a caregiver who can make them understand what they are watching.
- For kids between the age of 5 to teenagers of age 18, screen time which includes time on the internet, watching TV, using a smartphone should be limited and parents must ensure that it does not interfere with their physical activity, sleep cycles and academic performance.