Turn the blasted thing off

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

A few years back, the American Academy of Pediatrics made modest recommendations that children under two years of age should not be allowed to watch television and that older children not have televisions in their rooms. The AAP obviously wanted to set realistic goals rather than ideal goals.

It wouldn't be realistic to expect families with children, including both young children and adolescents, to get rid of their television sets or to keep the "idiot boxes" locked away for only rare viewing of appropriate programs, but that would be the ideal situation.

An increasing body of evidence links violent acts to viewing violence in childhood. But even if the child viewed only "quality" programming, the hours spent passively in front of the television set could be more productively spent on school work, communicating with family members or interacting with peers.

Television, in more than small doses, is unhealthy for children both physically and mentally. To a lesser extent, the same thing can be said for television's effect on adults.