American Kids Are Addicted to TV

About a year ago, the Kaiser Family Foundation released an important study about the declining concentration levels of American children, due to the encroachment of TV, video games and computers into our lifestyles. The foundation has followed up with a disturbing study about the effect of the electronic (screen) media -- TV, computers and video games -- on families and children.

The statistics were culled from a national survey for more than 1,000 American parents raising children from 6 months to 6 years old and focus groups conducted around the country. The few numbers I include here merely touch the tip of the iceberg:

  • More than 80 percent of children watch some kind of screen media about two hours every day.
  • Media viewing increases as kids get older.
  • A third of the children surveyed have a TV set in their bedrooms.
  • Almost a third of the children live in homes where the TV set is either on most or all the time.

Unfortunately, too many time-starved parents use "the glow box" to make their lives more manageable and "teach their kids the things parents are afraid they don't have time teach themselves," says a Kaiser spokeswoman. One mother's thoughts really summed up my concerns for the problems that lie ahead for these media-saturated kids as they grow up: It makes life easier now, but in the long run, when they're older and starting to run into all these problems, I think I'll wish I wouldn't have let them do it (watch TV) when they were five...

All it takes to make a difference in your child's physical and mental health is to turn off that TV, get it out of their bedroom and take time to engage them in the real world by playing, participating in sports or planning a social activity that gives them hands-on experience with real life, not the scripted, fake stuff they see on the tube.

Kaiser Family Foundation May 24, 2006 Free Full Text Report

Yahoo News May 24, 2006

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