Monday, July 13, 2009

Cut the Cord

We hate TV. We watch it very rarely and it's only at other people's houses; we don't get TV channels at all. We do watch movies on occasion and we do have a wii that we play even less often. We have found that our kids fight more when they watch a lot of the tube and their imaginations seem to instantly go down the toilet! It's a personal choice and it works for us. But I thought I'd post some of the facts about the effects of watching TV.

We've all heard that watching television is linked to ADD & ADHD. That in of itself is enough for me to pull the plug. It literally rewires those babies brains!!! But here are some things you may not know.

SparkPeople had these points:
* Americans watch an average of 4 HOURS of TV every day!!! And even when they aren't watching they have it turned on for an additional 4 hours!! 8 HOURS A DAY?!!! Crime-iny!
*40% of Americans watch TV during dinner. Eating in front of the TV leads to overeating and dissatisfaction. When you're concentrating on watching TV you aren't mindful of what or how much you're eating.
* 50% of US homes have at least 3 televisions!! We only have one and it's in the Master Bedroom where it's very rarely used.

KidsHealth also had these points:
* 2/3 of infants, toddlers and kids up to age 6 watch an average of 2 hours of TV per day. Kids 8-18 watch an average of 4 hours a day AND almost 2 MORE hours on the computer.
* The American Academy of Pediatrics recommend that children under 2 not watch ANY TV! And that those older than two limit their TV viewing to 1-2 hours per day of QUALITY programming.
* The first two years of of life are critical in brain development. TV watching gets in the way of them PLAYING in which they explore, learn, interact with others and encourages healthy physical and social development.
*As they age watching TV gets in the way of spending time with family, being physically active, reading, doing homework, playing...
*Children who watch 4+ hours watching TV have a much higher risk of being overweight.
* Children who watch violent acts are more likely to be aggressive and also fear the world is scary and that something bad will happen to them.
*TV characters often portrait risky behavior like smoking and drinking. They also reinforce gender-role and racial stereotypes.
*Children are also subjected to viewing MANY commercials; telling them what to wear, play with, how they should look and be. And kids believe it all!

Watching TV isn't all bad. There are great programs out there that teach children about the world around them, their ABC's and other reading skills. We love channels like Animal Planet, Discovery and PBS. But ALL THINGS IN MODERATION!!!

I want to challenge you to PULL THE PLUG for an ENTIRE WEEK!!! Then try a couple weeks! Maybe even a MONTH!! Especially during the summer when you can be outside playing and spending time with your family &/or friends.

Too much? Try these ideas:
* Limit the time spent watching TV {or even listening} to less than 2 hours a day.
*Wherever you have a TV make sure you also have books and other things to do other than watch TV.
*Keep TV's out of bedrooms {we have our there so we can better monitor how often our kids turn it on; do what works for you}
* Turn it OFF when eating meals.
* Treat TV as a privilege earned; NOT a right.
* Turn it off during the week, promote homework and reading instead
* Set a good example to your kids by limiting your own viewing time.
* Preview programs and videos BEFORE your children view them
* Offer fun alternatives to watching TV

It was hard for us to go without TV at first. But before long we realized how much time we had freed up for more important things. I'm sure that you'll find the same results. Give it a try. **As a side note, the computer is probably just as bad and should also be limited as well. Something I probably should regulate more.


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