Watching television has been an addictive past time for many Americans. On the average, family members spend approximately 4 to 6 hours each day sitting before a TV set. This number gets even higher for the non-working stay-at-home section of the population – smaller kids and older folks.
While watching television can be enriching for young minds, there are also dangers posed by too much exposure to the television. Many child psychologists agree that too much unguarded TV time for kids can pose serious risks to value formation and behavioral development.
The following signs should tell you when TV is too much already for your kids.
Kids pick up street language. If you discover your kids using words that are not supposed to be used by people at their age, then it is more likely your kids are watching too much TV. Picking up coarse language is an outward sign that your kids are learning wrong values. They probably have been exposed to programs not suited for their age. Programs with sensitive themes and language should not be given to kids or at least watched with adult supervision.
Your kids lose interest in more productive activities
Another disastrous effect of TV addiction among kids is the growing lack of interest in more productive activities like sports and other creative hobbies. Kids would often find an excuse to miss out on important family bonding times or social gatherings and would rather stay at home and spend the time in their rooms watching TV. Kids like these fail to develop important social skills and values like industry, hard work, productivity, and creativity.
Your kids’ school performance has declined
Academic performance is a very good indicator that your kids are spending way too much time before the television. Their grades suffer because their homework is oftentimes left undone so they can catch their favorite TV programs. They also fail to study for important exams. This is exacerbated by a lack of TV viewing schedule at home. You are probably way too busy at work and have resorted to the help of the TV set as a substitute babysitter for your children.
Your kids talk about adult issues
One of the scariest effects of too much TV is having your kids exposed to sensitive topics or issues like violence and sex. When left on their own, kids can develop distorted beliefs and values regarding these topics and these can become so ingrained in their value system that they continue to manifest even to adulthood.
Indeed, watching too much TV is disastrous for your family life. Being a working parent should not be an excuse for you to lose track of your kids viewing time and habits. It is best that you restrict TV exposure to one or two hours a day. Enforce viewing rules at home and stick to these as best you can. Bending them will only make your kids think that they can get away with things. If possible, engage in responsible co-viewing so you can monitor what your kids watch and what they should not.