TELEVISION & VIEWING HABITS
How much television do you watch each day?
According to a National survey (1998) the average
American watches 3 hours and 46 minutes of television each day!
Television has become increasingly
important in our lives. It is here to stay, although the TV does cause
parents to worry about its' influence on the lives of children, as well as
their relationships with others.
Here are some interesting statistics on
television and our nation's viewing patterns! (A.C. Nielsen Co., 1998)
- 98% of U.S. households have at least one
- 66% of Americans regularly watch TV while eating
- 49% of Americans say they watch too much TV.
- Average number of hours the TV set is on during
the day: 7 hrs., 12 minutes.
Children and Education:
- Number of minutes per week most children spend
watching TV = 1,197
- Number of minutes per week most parents talk with
their children = 38
- Hours/week of TV viewing shown to have a negative
affect on academic efforts = 10 or more
- 81 % of 4th graders watch 14 or more hours of TV per
- Average number of hours/year our children watch
television = 1,500
- Average number of hours/year our children spend in
school = 900
Violence and Health:
- Number of violent acts the average American child
sees on TV by age 18 = 200,000
- Number of murders witnessed by children on television
by age 18 = 16,000
- Children behave differently after viewing violent
acts - become less sensitive to the suffering of others; more fearful of
the world around them; and, behave more aggressively towards others (APA
Public Communications, 1999)
- % of children who said they felt upset or scared by
violence on TV = 91%
- Number of medical studies since 1985 which link
childhood obesity and excessive TV watching = 12
- Children ages 6-11 years who were seriously
overweight in 1963 = 4.5%; In 1993 = 14%
- Increase in network news coverage of homicide between
1990 & 1995 = 336%
- Reduction in American homicide rate between 1990-1995
WHAT'S A FAMILY TO DO?
Families need to gain an awareness of how
the television is used in their home. Is it a source of information and
entertainment? Is it left on for "sound value" when no one is really
watching? Are parents aware of what children are viewing throughout the
day? Do family members discuss what is seen on their television? Are there
set times when the television is turned off so that it does not interfere
with homework, visiting, or family activities?
Here are some ways you can influence the
impact that television viewing can have on your family. Use this checklist
to identify what you are doing, what you may want to do, and what you
might consider in the future.
- MONITOR WHAT YOUR CHILD(REN) SEE ON YOUR
TELEVISION. Decide together (as a family) which programs are suitable
for viewing. Monitor your child's TV time.
- TURN THE TELEVISION OFF DURING MEALTIME!
Having the TV on during meals establishes poor eating habits and can
lead to overeating. It interferes with talking, too.
- DO NOT USE THE TV AS A BABYSITTER. Help
your youngster find interesting things to do and ways he/she can be
helpful at home.
- BE AWARE OF UNCLEAR, SHAKY PICTURES ON
THE SCREEN. This can cause eyestrain. Viewing programs in too dark a
room or within 4 feet of the screen can also be harmful and cause
- TALK ABOUT PROGRAMS THAT ARE BEING
WATCHED. Whether it is a sports program or a weekly regular, talk about
what is happening and who the characters are. Discuss also the theme of
the story and whether you agree with the content of the program,
language used, or plots of the story. Children will learn what to value
- ENCOURAGE YOUR CHILDREN TO DO OTHER
ACTIVITIES THROUGHOUT THE DAY. Playing outdoors and with friends,
helping with chores around the house, or reading a good book can pull
children away from the TV and make them less dependent upon it for
filling their time.
- BE A ROLE MODEL TO YOUR CHILDREN. Read,
walk, jog, have friends visit, or become involved in projects or a
hobby. Let your children see that you do not have to have the TV on all
the time for company or to be entertained.