American children watch an average of three to fours hours of television daily. Television can be a powerful influence in developing value systems and shaping behavior. Unfortunately, much of today's television programming is violent. Hundreds of studies of the effects of TV violence on children and teenagers have found that children may:
Extensive viewing of television violence by children causes greater aggressiveness. Sometimes, watching a single violent program can increase aggressiveness. Children who view shows in which violence is very realistic, frequently repeated or unpunished, are more likely to imitate what they see. Children with emotional, behavioral, learning or impulse control problems may be more easily influenced by TV violence. The impact of TV violence may be immediately evident in the child's behavior or may surface years later, and young people can even be affected when the family atmosphere shows no tendency toward violence.
While TV violence is not the only cause of aggressive or violent behavior, it is clearly a significant factor.
Parents can protect children from excessive TV violence in the following ways:
Parents can also use these measures to prevent harmful effects from
television in other areas such as racial or sexual stereotyping. The
amount of time children watch TV, regardless of content, should be moderated
because it decreases time spent on more beneficial activities such as
reading, playing with friends, and developing hobbies. If parents have
serious difficulties setting limits, or have ongoing concerns about
how their child is reacting to television, they should contact a child
and adolescent psychiatrist for consultation and assistance.
Daycare.com would like to thank American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry for this information in striving to make daycare and childcare a more productive and efficient service. You can contact them at: 3615 Wisconsin Ave., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20016-3007 voice: 202-966-7300 fax: 202-966-2891.