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TV-Raised Children: Where Are The Benefits?

Updated on August 31, 2015

The simple action of sending your child or children to watch television may seem innocent and helpful, but there is an underlining negative 'cause-and-effect' result of this simple action.

According to the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP), "Television viewing is a major activity and influence on children and adolescents." This staement supports part of my point of opinion: parents should be mindful of how much television their child or children [is] watching, because TV has a huge influence on the tender minds of youth - that is both, positive and negative. The site for AACAP continuously supports by stating, "While television can entertain, inform, and keep our children company, it may also influence them in undesirable ways."

I do not want to come off as if I'm campaigning against children watching television, altogether - but, thank goodness for some educational programs, channels and stations. The point of my opinion is the negative effects from watching too much television for our youth. Sometimes, watching too much television (rather it be educational or not) isn't such a good thing to do - especially for youth.

That TV Is Ruining Your Eyes!

The age-old myth has been busted! Reports show how sitting too close to the TV doesn't ruin your eyes
The age-old myth has been busted! Reports show how sitting too close to the TV doesn't ruin your eyes | Source

Television and Your Health

I'm certain we all know from personal experience, television has been "bad for your health": I remember when parents used to tell their children that being too close to the television would 'ruin' their eyesight. Even though, as children, we didn't know if it was actually true or not, but our parents had 'warned' us, and, it was best to do as we were told. Thus, traditionalizing the statement, and warning our children with the exact same statement. I hate to spoil the power of the classic threat, but our parents were wrong - and so were their parents (smile). After researching, and finding the Kid's Health website to be the spoiler alert, I finally knew the truth. Even though it might not hurt your eyes to sit too close to a television, there may still be a reason for your child wanting/needing to sit so close to the television according to site. If you witness this about your child, ask he or she why they are sitting so close to the TV; if your child wear glasses, and is not nearsighted - go to your ophthalmologist if you witness your child sitting too close to the TV, because there may be additional issues with your little one's precious eyes.

Now that we have the actual health facts about our eyes from watching television, we can look at some factual health effects from watching too much television - and believe me, they're not good.

Health Tip: Stay Active

Yesteryear's television activity didn't have such a negative effect on people. It was used to be more so informative, with a touch of entertainment as fillers. Over the years, television watching evolved into much more, causing more time spent in front of it. Using the television as a vice for information and entertainment has expanded into a digitized motion camera inside of the lives of any, and everybody; there is merely a limit to the things a person views on television. You can sit for hours on hours, just watching television. I'll even give you a typical "TV" day for me: (Saturday, Cartoon Day) 8AM- [when Saturday mornings were all about cartoons] there were various cartoon shows to flip channels between, but today there are more interactive programs than animation or cartoons (So I stream my cartoons now-a-days rather than flipping channels); after 12PM- Nickelodeon usually has a marathon of Spongebob, Fairly Odd Parents, and/or Phineas and Ferb (this can go on way into the evening hours per my choice - but, sometimes time gets away from me, and I look up from the TV to find out I've been watching non-stop for nearly five hours!); after 5PM- since I'm streaming, I'll go for some animated movies. Watching movies is a guaranteed added time of hours instead of minutes... so far, I've spent more hours watching TV than a person clocked in for a day's work. Doesn't seem like a lot of time, but it is. Did you notice that not in any time frame, I mentioned taking a break? Of course there were breaks, but not long enough to record time for - and this is where the 'problem' exists...

"A child who is watching television or playing video games is not active.  This reduction in activity level not only leads to obesity but complicates ADHD and other learning disorders..." -Vreeland Clinic
"A child who is watching television or playing video games is not active. This reduction in activity level not only leads to obesity but complicates ADHD and other learning disorders..." -Vreeland Clinic | Source

Academic Programs International (API) has a helpline website, and it releases a statement concerning all TV viewers. Prolonged TV watching is ultimately an enemy to an average - to - above average health status. As soon as you visit their website, you'll find information like this, "The first and the most dangerous effect of watching too much of television is mass physical degradation in our society..." - WOW! I usually don't use social words like "wow" in my articles, but it was so appropriate at this time.

This statement not only scares me (which is what it's designed to do), but it makes me want to get even more information on the scientific words used (that sound even scarier than the actual meaning - I'm hoping). Regardless of the slight fear, and curiosity, I understand the meaning of the statement. I recognize the truth in what was being stated: prolonged TV watching causes obesity, due to lack of activity.

So, even if it's okay to allow your child to watch TV, too much can become a negative offset. True, your child or children may be watching ONLY educational programs or channels, it doesn't change the fact of your child or children being inactive for however long they are spending time watching TV. Not to include the possibility of them adding eating while watching TV. Now, they are allowing calories and excess fat to settle in unhealthy places in their bodies. Not saying TV watching is all bad, but according to API, " considerably reduces physical activity of obsessive TV viewers, and, at the same time, promotes unhealthy eating choices, like the foodstuffs with high content of sugar and fat, etc..."

The Vreeland Clinic also states, "A child who is watching television or playing video games is not active. This reduction in activity level not only leads to obesity but complicates ADHD and other learning disorders."

How Many Hours Does Your Child Spend Watching TV, Using Personal Gadgets (course of one day)?

See results

Are There ANY Benefits To My Child Watching TV?..

I've given you some points to support my [negative] opinion on television watching and our youth. I would like to level the subject, and provide positive effects of our children watching television... I will give credit to some channels, programs and stations that continue to bring education while entertaining our youth; Sesame Street on PBS has been an ongoing beacon in that area. But, I can't help but miss the other earlier programs centered on education and life lessons, like School House Rock and Fat Albert. TV shows like these are prime examples of how a positive TV watching experience can help with developing literacy, cultural awareness, diversity, imaginative play and ways to deal with feelings - which is ALL good in my opinion. This would be the ONLY benefit I see with youth watching TV... LEARNING. But even school goes on for a limited time during a day. Too much of anything can bring negative results. This may be my opinion, but I'm sure it can be proven.

Television watching is a comfort we have, but we are not obligated, nor chained to it. In my opinion, use it wisely: allow your children to watch TV, but not for prolonged hours (it may be best to set time limits, and schedules to ensure responsible TV watching); do the same with yourself; monitor the content of what's being watched by your children (some programs are filling your child(ren) with violence and social pressures for hours); watch TV with your child(ren) sometimes, and create a family event.

There aren't many benefits to using the TV as a babysitter in your home, or anywhere else. Youth are very impressionable, and any influences will be absorbed - both positive and negative. Using the TV for an educational purpose is good, but having a child sit in front of a TV for long periods of time can cause the child(ren) to be inactive - which goes against a body's need to stay active.

If there are any readers - at this point- still not understanding the unhealthy effects of prolonged TV watching, I suggest you visit your doctor.


"First Lady’s Let’s Move! Campaign and NFL’s Play 60 Campaign Team up to Tackle Childhood Obesity" -White House
"First Lady’s Let’s Move! Campaign and NFL’s Play 60 Campaign Team up to Tackle Childhood Obesity" -White House | Source

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