Parents Aren't Limiting Kids' TV, Media Time

After reading a recent media report that linked the incidence of bullying among children with the amount of television they watch every day, I certainly wasn't surprised to learn a majority of parents aren't taking an active role in monitoring their kids' time, restricting what they watch or the video games they play, according to a nationwide study of some 1,800 parents.

To the good, a great majority of parents -- 72 percent -- are worried about their kids' exposure to the media and, generally, the more concerned parents were about what effect the various media may have on their kids, the more action they took to monitor, discuss and limit it. Unfortunately, too few parents did much about it. By the numbers:

  • Only 23 percent of parents restricted media viewing and play.
  • Seven percent had no rules about media usage whatsoever.
  • Slightly more than 10 percent talked to their children about the shows they watched and the games they played.
  • More than a third of the families polled allowed their children to have a TV in their bedroom, and didn't regard its presence as a negative.
  • One-parent households were far more lax about allowing unlimited viewing than traditional two-parents families who could actively monitor the time their kids spend in front of the tube.

Just more reasons to remind you all that unsupervised time playing video games and watching TV is one of the major contributors to the childhood obesity crisis that's reached epidemic levels.

Kids are easy and impressionable targets, and many of us fail to appreciate the enormous influence we can have on them. It's up to you to place some serious limits on the amount of time they are allowed to watch TV.

All it takes is one simple step: Turn off the television or video games and encourage your kids to take part in a productive activity that will get them moving. There are far too many useful activities to do in life -- places to visit, books to read, sports to play -- to waste so many hours a week watching TV and playing video games. (Besides, running and jumping may be the best way to strengthen your kids' bones.)

If you need some suggestions, check out this popular article I posted last year.

EurekAlert May 15, 2005

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