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Is watching TV really bad for kids?

Topics: Screen Time

It depends on how much and what kind of TV. There are certainly plenty of wonderful TV shows for kids of all ages -- and if you're choosing high-quality, age-appropriate programs, minimizing exposure to advertising, and making sure kids have plenty of active and social time, you shouldn't feel guilty about letting them watch some TV.

Despite the advent of digital media, TV viewing on a TV set still makes up nearly half of all screen time for kids 0 to 8. Here are the key things to consider when it comes to kids and TV:

Background TV. A constantly running TV can interfere with parent-child interactions, which kids need for healthy development.

Bedroom TV. A kid with a TV in the bedroom watches a lot more TV and is exposed to more age-inappropriate content than a kid who doesn't have a TV in his or her bedroom.

Parents who watch a lot of TV. Kids pick up their parents' habits – and end up watching more adult shows.

Commercials. Kids under 7 can't distinguish between make-believe and reality, which makes them especially vulnerable to advertising.

Age-inappropriate content. Overexposure to images of violence, sex, and alcohol and to harsh language not only can influence kids' behavior; it also can have a long-lasting emotional impact.

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