April 23, 2008
Children And Television
Did you know?
- 99% of American families have TV sets, with the average family owning 2.75 sets (Annenberg Public Policy Center, 1999).
- American children, ages 2-17, watch television on average almost 25 hours per week or 3 ½ hours a day. Almost one in five watch more than 44 hours of TV each week (Gentile & Walsh, 2002).
- Television is the top after school activity chosen by children ages 6 to 17 (Center for Media Education, 1997).
- 28% of children’s television shows contain four or more acts of violence (Woodward, 1999).
- One in five E/I (educational/informational) designated children’s programs was found to have little or no educational value (Woodward, 1999).
- Nearly 16 minutes of advertising is found in an average hour of prime time television (Minneapolis Star Tribune, 1999).
- 44% of children and teens report watching different programs when their parents are not around (Strasburger & Donnerstein, 1999).
- Twenty percent of 2- to 7-year-olds, 46% of 8- to 12-year-olds, and 56% of 13- to 17-year-olds have TVs in their bedrooms (Gentile & Walsh, 2002).
- Beginning in 2000, all new television sets contain a V-chip that parents can program to filter out objectionable programs.
- During the 1998/1999 television season the prime time evening hours was the most popular time slot for children ages two to eleven (Barron’s, 1999).
Television remains a focal point for children’s media entertainment. The FCC’s (Federal Communication Commission) “Three Hour Rule” requires that broadcasters air a minimum of three hours a week of educational and informational (E/I) television for children. However, studies have shown that the amount of violence in children’s shows remains high and that not all children’s programming deserves the E/I label.
Some tips to foster healthy media use include:
- To prevent impulse watching, use the TV guide before turning on the set.
- Videotape TV shows for your child, so they have a backup when there is nothing appropriate on the television for them to watch.
- Children need active play to promote their developmental, physical and social skills. (American Academy of Pediatrics)
- Keep television sets out of children’s bedrooms.
- Two hours of quality television programming per day is the maximum recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
- Annenberg Public Policy Center (1999, June 28). Media in the home 1999: The fourth annual survey of parents and children. (Last visited 7/22/02).
- Center for Media Education (1997). Children and television. Accessed at: http://www.cme.org/children/kids_tv/c_and_t.html (Last visited 7/22/02).
- Gentile, D.A., Walsh, D. A. (2002, January 28). A normative study of family media habits. Applied Developmental Psychology, 23, 157-178.
- Strasburger, V. C. & Donnerstein, E. (1999, January). Children, adolescents, and the media: Issues and solutions. Pediatrics, 10, 129.
- Woodward IV, E. (1999). The 1999 state of children’s television report: Programming for children of broadcast and cable television. University of Pennsylvania: Annenberg Public Policy Center. (Last visited 7/22/02).