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Sunday, 25 March 2001 19:00

Glued to The Tube

Written by  Efrat Tenenbaum
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QHow much TV is too much TV?
My four-year-old son would rather stay home and watch a video than go outside and play or even come to the pool with me. I'm afraid he's becoming addicted.

AChildren at the age of four still don't clearly differentiate between the real world and that of TV. Many things that they see on TV can become confused with events in the real world. When the TV is on many hours, a child gets used to a certain amount of background noise. What's worse, he gets used to not responding.

When you watch a lot of television, it becomes easy to develop a kind of attention that doesn't obligate one to interact. And because of the pace and speed of things on TV, the child develops a greater need for constantly changing stimuli and can lose his attention span for things that are slower and quieter. Too much TV may also harm children's ability to form pictures in their own imagination, as happens when we tell them a story and they alone have
to "draw" the pictures. Too much TV is not good for anyone, but it is especially inappropriate for young children.

It's worthwhile limiting television-watching as much as possible. One way to limit TV is for the parents to decide on a number of programs the child can watch - I'd say a maximum of two or three a day (up to about an hour.) The child can choose the programs and the times, but it's better if he watches at different times of the day.

Prepare Yourself for Tears and Tantrums When You Limit TV

The best way to know if someone is addicted is to see what happens when he stops the behavior. If the reaction is very strong, it's important not to get mad but to stick to the limit and simply turn it off. Some television sets have a locking device.

Offer Alternatives

At the same time, you must offer the child alternative activities. But prepare yourself for a period of tears and scenes. Don't be afraid of this but know you are doing something for the ultimate good of the child.

It's very important for children this age to develop social relationships and social skills, and watching TV is a very passive and solitary activity. The child doesn't develop the capacity to amuse himself and has less of a chance to practice being with peers.

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Last modified on Tuesday, 14 May 2013 11:48

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