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Secondhand TV

July 15, 2008 permalink

Does your home have a television? That could be the newest reason for taking your kids.



Study: 'Secondhand TV' could harm children

09:05 AM PDT on Tuesday, July 15, 2008, By JANE MCCARTHY / KING 5 News

SEATTLE - We all know that secondhand smoke is dangerous for children, but believe it or not, secondhand television can also be harmful.

A lot of parents like to have the television on in the background while they're cooking breakfast or dinner. This study looked at children ages one to three years old and suggests even if they aren't watching, they may still be affected.

Limiting TV time for very young children is not new advice, but you may be surprised to learn that children don't even have to be in front of the television to feel its distracting effects.

The findings come from researchers at the University of Massachusetts. The study of 50 one to three-year-olds found background TV was distracting enough to disrupt children's playtime, even when the kids weren't paying attention the screen.

Researchers say the findings suggest, just like dedicated screen time, secondhand TV should be limited. Pediatricians suggest scheduling the time the TV is on.

"I think if the TV isn't on all the time there are ways to structure activities so older children can be watching their favorite show while the younger child is taking a nap," said Dr. Ari Brown, pediatrician.

Like sweets in diet, these experts say screen time, even background TV, should be in moderation.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no TV until a child is two years old. Researchers at the University of Washington have said TV can be a beneficial tool for children and parents, but not before the age of three.

Source: Northwest Cable News