I ran across an article in the LA Times that intrigued me. It related criminal violence with the amount of time that children watch television. Apparently, rather than the reccommended 2 hours a day, most United States children are watching an average of 4 hours a day. They did a study in New Zealand that “concluded that every extra hour of television watched by children on a weeknight increased by 30% the risk of having a criminal conviction by age 26.” Wow. Okay, now I must admit that figure doesn’t astound me too much since that is based on New Zealand and not the United States. If the article is about the United States, a study should be done in the US, because our culture is different than culture in New Zealand.
There was a study done in the Seattle-area that studied the type of television the children watched. Rather than asking parents to limit the TV time, children were redirected to watch different shows. The ones that spent their time watching non-violent, semi-educational shows were more social after 6 months and 12 months.
This article interested me because my house has not had a TV since I was in third grade. That makes me interested in how television affects children’s social and academic life. All of my siblings are advanced academically and enjoy reading, which I attribute to the fact that we read instead of watching television. I’m not sure about the social aspect since it’s hard to judge my own family, but it’d be interesting to hear more of these types of studies. I believe that children should be exposed to TV as little as possible as young children, because it has to help their imagination to think and play.