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08/15/2014
It is a long debated and frankly undecided. What are the effects of television on brain development? Can too much television cause developmental disorders, such as ADHD? What about violent tendencies? Depending on which scientific research you read, you’ll find varied answers. Though we do not know the answers to all of the questions, what we wish to do is provide you with some statistical information about children and television, as well as provide you with a way to help your child, if you believe (s)he is spending too much time watching television.

Statistics:

- Children who consistently watch more than 4 hours of TV per day are statistically more likely to be overweight
- Those who regularly view violent acts are more likely to show aggression
- 61% of TV programming contains violence
- According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), children who watch three or more hours of non educational television a day, will see approximately 8,000 murders by the time they are finished with elementary school
- A Columbia University study with more than 700 children found that adolescents who watch more than one hour of television a day are more likely to show aggression in their late teens and 20s
- On average, US American children spend 6 hours a day, watching TV or using other media. (According to the AAP, other than sleep, this is more time than they spend on any other activity.)

Gaining Control:

Whether or not your child is part of the statistically high daily average of television viewing or far lower, if you as a parent believe your child is watching too much television, you can follow the next steps in order to decrease the amount.  

1. Talk to your childLet your child know that you are beginning to see a problem, and that enough is enough. Explain why you think they are watching too much television, and what you plan to do about it.

2. Develop a plan with him or herFind out what time their favorite television shows are on, allow them to watch specific programs or give them specific hours.

3. Turn it offDo not leave the television on as background noise. If nobody is actually watching the television, do not keep it on.

4. Remove TVs from bedrooms If you are attempting to reduce the amount of television being watching, it is best to only have televisions in spaces where your children can be best supervised.

5. Provide FUN alternativesGet your child involved in organized sports and/or arts programs, let them get involved in something that interests them. Remember simply playing outside, reading, or doing crafts inside are also great alternatives.

6. Do things togetherGo on adventures with your children. Explore your city together. Go to museums, zoos, parks, again trying to find alternatives that interest your children. Not only will these outings get them away from the television, they will provide some excellent bonding time between you and your child.

7. Give rewards for adherence Once you see an improvement in the amount of television your child is watching, rewards are a great way to reinforce the behaviour. Books, visits to the theater, new clothing, whatever you know your child will be best motivated by.

8. Lead by exampleIf you want your children to use their time responsibly, including their television watching, you might find that you too, will need to make some changes. Show your children, by example, that it is possible.

9. Get tutoringNow that you and your child have extra time, take the opportunity to get him or her extra help in any academic area of struggle. At The Tutoring Center in Middletown, our dedicated tutors are here for you. To find out more about how we can help, give us a call at (302)-378-8580!

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