Children and Television
No, all is not lost in the realm of children and television. And yes, there are some great educational tv programs out there for children. For instance, "Sesame Street" is the hands down favorite with my son. And I do believe that, in limited quantity, tv has its place.
But let's take a look at what reading provides that television does not. One extremely important element is that television doesn't encourage your child to actually talk. Somebody is definitely talking. It just isn't your child.
Okay, okay . . . there is the occasional word
here and there. But when it comes to children and television, the real talking is done on the side of the tv or video. Think about this: Other than the occasional grunt or cheer, does your child talk much when he is watching television? Your answer is no doubt, "No" or "Not much!" Now think about when you read to your child and how much interaction goes on. Probably, "A great deal!"
When you hear the word "language," what comes to mind? Generally, "words," or "written words," or "speaking." We associate language with speaking. And the old adage, "use it or lose it" has never been truer.
However, we need to adapt this saying just a little for our consideration of children and television, because young children are still learning and developing their language abilities. But if our little ones aren't conversing and speaking, how can language develop?
So . . . how can babies, toddlers, and preschoolers develop language skills if they don't practice them? Too much television prevents language development as well as language mastery.
Worse, the latest children and television polls show that kids watch a staggering amount of tv. Did you know the average American household has the tv on for 7 hours and 50 minuts a day?
The other important difference between television and reading is the loss of bonding and interaction with parents. It is all too easy to sit our little ones in front of the tv as a "babysitter."
Now, yes, there are defintely PLENTY of times when dinner has to be made, or we just NEED that quick break from our kids. But isn't it easy for that hour to turn into an hour and a half, or two? You think to yourself, "One more show won't matter." And before you know it, the kids are watching 2 hours a day. That 2 hours a day is 14 hours a week is about 60 hours a month, and is 730 HOURS a year.
Yes, 2 hours of television a day works out to 730 hours a year!
Let's put this 730 hours into a context you might find easier to understand. My family vacations on the Outer Banks in N.C.
every year. For us, it is a 4.5 hour drive one way, or 9 hours round-trip.
730 hours of tv / 9 hours per trip = 81 1/3 trips
What does this mean? This means that if I let my kids watch 2 hours of television a day, they will watch 730 hours a year. In 730 hours, my family could have driven to the Outer Banks and back over 81 times.
Wow . . . that's 81 times!
Now I don't know about you, but the thought of traveling back and forth to the Outer Banks 81 times in ONE year with my two small children is just unfathomable. However, it does put things in better perspective regarding children and television, doesn't it? Plug in your own information and see what it shows you. You might be surprised.
Think of all that time lost that we could have loved, bonded, read to, interacted, taught, developed and raised our kids. Television and videos certainly have their place and I absolutely use them in my household. When it comes to our children and television, we just need to make sure we limit tv and keep it in its place.
This page © Copyright 2003-2012, Little Ones Reading Resource
Return from Children and Television to Resource Home.
All Rights Reserved.
Home Page|Online Store|20 Minutes a Day|Attention Span in Children|Benefits of Reading Aloud|Bonding|Language|Limiting Television|Listening Skills|Personal Stories|Pre-K|
|Raising a Reader|When to Start|About Us|Contact Us|Thomas Tank Engine|Favorite Links|Site Map