Raising Our Kids TV-Free

Go ahead, roll your eyes.  Say what you like.  But we are raising our kids without a TV.
Did you know that greater than 99% of Americans have a TV in their house?  That 66% of Americans have 3 or more TVs in their house?  And that the average American watches more than 4 hours of TV a day which adds up to two months (24 hours a day) a year?  What does this have to do with the price of tea in China?  A lot, actually.
The average American youth spends 900 hours a year in school.  And 1500 hours a year watching TV.  By the time a child finishes elementary school they have seen 8000 murders, and by the time they are 18 they have seen 200 000 acts of violence.  The number of Americans surveyed who believe that violence on TV can trigger violence in real life: 79%.  Now can we understand why people riot for no reason?  Why kids join gangs?  Why vandalism occurs?
The average American, by the time he reaches age 65, has seen two million 30 second commercials.  The percentage of people who think that ads aimed at children are too materialistic: 92%.  Now can we understand why we have overflowing landfills, trash-filled oceans and massive, cement-block shopping centres?

Fast food is the number one ranked commercial aimed at kids.  Now can we understand why obesity and diabetes are running rampant amongst our children?  Why teens choose fries in the cafeteria instead of vegetables?

There have been over 4000 studies done on the effect TV has on children.  A parent spends on average 3.5 minutes a week in meaningful conversation with their child.   Children watch TV 1680 minutes a week.  53% of 4-6 year olds choose to watch TV over spending time with their father.  Now can we understand ADHD?  Childhood health problems?  Psychological problems?  Motivational problems?
Television-watching promotes racial, ethical, sexual, and body image stereotypes.  75% of American women think they are too fat.  Now can we understand anorexia, bulimia, OCD, depression and anxiety?

The statistics mean that it is time for a change.  The majority of parents agree that there is a problem with TV content and hours watched.  I don’t see a whole lot being done about it.  What are YOU going to do to protect your kids’ childhood innocence?

My oldest child is 8.  We have never had a TV in our house.  We don’t watch movies either.  The kids play with toys, read books and play outside.  Coming up with things for them to do on rainy days is more challenging than turning on the TV but much more rewarding.  Obviously it’s a lot harder to remove a TV from the house than to have never had one before.  If you are interested, try some baby steps:
  1. Limit the time watching TV per day.  Set a timer.
  2. When you are done with the TV turn it off
  3. Don’t allow children under 2 to watch TV at all.
  4. Watch only movies instead of TV.  (Eliminates advertising and allows for parental previews).
  5. Lead by example
  6. Join Parents Television Council

And this article doesn’t even touch computers and games…

Interesting links for further reading:

1 Hour Of TV Can Shorten Life by 22 Minutes
Watching TV is Bad For Children
Children’s Computer and Television Time Linked To Psychological Problems
Turn Off Your TV

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