Doc Talk #80 – Children and TV



In honour of both International Day of the Child and international TV day which follows immediately afterwards, we discussed children and TV.

We talked about the effects of TV and technology on the developing brain.

Children know how to take a selfie before they know how to ride a bike

TV is often demonized, but there is not any very good evidence that it has any real negative impacts on children.

One of the biggest potential problems is the opportunity cost: if kids spend all their time watching TV, there may be less time available for family, friends and other activities – including exercise and physical activity.

There is also a concern about how TV can reinforce stereotypes or make children think it is OK to engage in risky behaviours, such as smoking.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends:

  • No media use for children younger than 18 to 24 months
  • Avoid solo media use
  • Limit screen time to 1 hour/day for 2-3 year olds
  • Unstructured, engaging, not passive media use
  • Co-view where possible
  • Monitor to make sure it is appropriate
  • Beware of adverts

TV can be useful as a way of engaging your children in conversation about difficult issues and has the potential to be used as a real force for goos.

We touched briefly on a couple of resources including Build Your Best DayCanadian 24 hour Movement Guidelines for Children and Youth. You can also create a Family Media Use Plan.

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