It's easy to turn on the television to entertain our kids. I do it all the time. But the more TV they watch, the more I think it's just a really bad idea. I'm not saying no to pre-approved DVDs, but letting children watch TV is a bit risky if you're concerned about what they view. It might be time to do away with television channels.
Television is filled with violence, even on shows for children. The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry says that violence on television can cause children to become "numb to the horror of violence", to view violence as a way to solve problems, to imitate the violence they see on TV, and to identify with those characters who are acting violently.
There are so many influential commercials on television. One glance at a toy they've never seen before and suddenly children become hungry little new toy monsters. Commercials fuel the desire to have more material things than we need. Materialism is definitely not a trait I want to see in my children.
3. Channel Surfing
Children often aren't watching the show they were when you left the room for a moment. We all channel surf. And when children channel surf, the chances of them seeing something inappropriate rises. They can quickly take in an image of war, an image of a sexual encounter, or a picture of real life violence. Each of these things can have a lasting effect on a child and leave her with questions that she keeps silent about.
Many television shows are geared toward children but seem to glorify bullying. A recent study found that, on average, television geared towards children ages 2-11 includes 14 incidents of social bullying per hour. In addition, another study found that 4-year-olds who watch a lot of television are more likely to become bullies later in life.
5. Rude Language
Have you ever really watched a kid's show, even the cartoons? Some of them are filled with rude behavior, from speaking impolitely to parents and teachers, to misbehaving in school without consequence, to teasing other children, to using bad language. The result is children using words that they might not even understand the meaning of.
6. Inappropriate Behavior
Kids on television take part in behavior that is way too mature for them. They are faced with situations that some people may consider to be true for some of our children, but certainly not all. You might call it art imitating life, but in many cases, it turns into life imitating art. 13.5% of the commercials on children's television stations contain inappropriate violent or sexual behavior, according to one study. Watching inappropriate sexual behavior on television can lead to earlier sexual behavior in our children.
7. Miley Cyrus
Well, maybe not just Miley, but all teen idols. More often than not, teen idols don't live up to our expectations when they grow up. Many of them have entered rehab for drug addictions, and some don't ever recover. Rather than exposing your child to someone who may seem like a good influence now, or allowing your child to become obsessed with an unrealistic TV character that the actress can never live up to, look for someone real. Introduce your child to real children who are doing real good in the world and let those people be your child's heroes.
If your child is exposed to inappropriate television, talking to them about it will help. But for my children, I'd rather they learn from me first.