Although children do pick up information from other children and from television, adult role models are actually the strongest influence. Children really do watch adults for all sorts of things. This can be good news if the adults model appropriate behavior. However, if there are no positive role models available or the role models are watching excessive TV, then television will be the next most powerful influence. That’s a bit disturbing, yes?
Studies are finding that “screen time” (including television, video games, computers, etc) may contribute to Attention Deficit Disorder. As parents, we should think twice before investing in video games and disallow games with violence and profanity. Preview games before allowing children to use them. The mother parent of several young children recently told me that her kids spent a lot of time playing video games and that one day she actually took some time to watch one game. The violence of it made her decide to remove that game from their home selection. I suggested she also limit her children’s time on the games she does approve.
The American Academy of Pediatrics suggest limiting all media use to no more than two hours per day, and none at all for children under the age of two. Parents should watching television with children instead of creating a cheap baby-sitting of the TV. Remove television sets and computers from children’s bedroom and monitor all media exposure, including movies.
As a parent, you can re-evaluate your practices. Don’t let screen time get out of control. Media addiction is a real and growing phenomena!