Is watching TV really bad for kids?

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 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.

Ask Our Experts
Was this answer helpful?
Sign in or sign up to share your thoughts

Comments

Teen, 15 years old written by Common sense LST

no, It really depends on what type of tv you are talking about. if you are talking about shows like jersey shore, then that is like the worst. but if you are talking about shows on PBS that are educational, then yes. if you are talking about tv shows like Dr.Phil, you have to be a little bit cautious.
Parent of an infant year old written by Batfan7

TV is a lot like food - there's healthy ("Planet Earth" or biographies, etc.), there's the meat and potatoes (culturally important movies like Disney or E.T.) and then there's junk (sooo much junk!!!). Obviously the healthy 'food' is better for a person, but as long as you don't gorge yourself silly, or only 'eat' the junk, then you're probably doing fine.
Teen, 14 years old written by DragoRyu

For this, it depends. If your child sits really near to a TV which is giant, thats not good AT ALL. If you want to be healthy, if your TV is giant try to move away from the TV a bit. Watch about 1 hour will be good. But, remember, DONT OFF THE LIGHTS when watching TV. This can hurt your eyes or even go blind. Hope this is useful.
Adult written by rodeo4life

I totally agree with this article about Is watching TV really bad for kids. Growing up with a younger sibling and babysitting I did not realize the impact that television has on children. However taking a look at the TV viewing on a TV set still makes up half of all the screen time it made me more aware of the high statistics in children. In 2013 58% of children watch TV at least once a day compared to 17% who use mobile devices on an everyday basis. Although sometimes we run into impure shows on television, it can be beneficial when used in the correct manner. There are educational things on television such as Mickey Mouse Club house and Number around the Globe however parents have to be aware of what their children are watching. What children are consuming could affect their attitude and actions toward other. We don’t want children watching things that are bad for them. It is so easy for children to grab the remote when we are not watching and change the channel to a more violet or impure show. Even some commercials are shocking as well. We as adults just need to make sure that the television children are watching is truth filled, inspiring and skillfully developed.
Parent written by Jayce8654

I am new the the site, however I have a 10 year old son going on 16 and a 7 year old son still acts 5, and an almost 3 year old daughter who thinks she is 6. They all score and test 2-3 grades ahead of their current grade level. They have grown up in an era of vast technology. I recently used my DVR to record several episodes of several childrens shows. I embarked on an experiment to watch all of them; and I did. I have been trying to do reviews on all of them through this site. Its taking a while. Anyways, Wow there is a lot of grey area in talking about whether television is "bad" for kids or not. Can it be? Yes, in a way if its abused and they view things that are far and away above their level of maturity and intelligence. MY 3 kids have been using computers, and tablets, and our cell phones and xbox for years and years and I monitor what is played and watched and they have reading time, separate from school work time, and we work it out. It is NOT bad if their is structure and dialogue away from the television/screen time. Thanks
Kid, 12 years old

Kids under 7 can definitely differentiate fantasy from reality. I remember being a massive skeptic. =)
written by Jimmy brew

Depends on how mature the kid is. If it's educational programming probably not. But if it's 3-hour entertainment like most kids like watching then it probably is