Children and television – optimal duration, impact – follow!

Television is the medium of our time. Whether news, sports or entertainment. Television has long been much more than simply obtaining up-to-date information. It is about entertainment, fun and simple entertaining joy. From this perspective, it is hardly surprising that even the youngest have long since had their favorite shows and television stars. But how healthy is all television for children and what consequences can excessive television consumption have for children? Does television really make children stupid and if so, when should parents pull the emergency brake and give their children a book instead of the remote control?

What TV does to children

We live in a time when children almost always and everywhere come into contact with modern media. Whether it is the smartphone or a computer, whether the classic television or the possibility of enjoying mobile entertainment. Television in all its facets has long been commonplace for children.

For this reason, responsible parents often ask themselves what television does with their own children and how they can steer their own children’s television behavior into a healthy and reasonable degree. Because too much television is neither too good for children nor for adults, everyone should know that. But the real consequences of television are far more far-reaching than many responsible guardians suspect.

Worldwide studies have proven that:

  • Too much television can negatively affect a child’s development.
  • Too many hours in front of the television, let children become creative and lacking in energy.
  • A child’s concentration steadily decreases if he watches too much TV.
  • School performance decreases if children watch TV for more than 1 hour a day.

It works not only in order to protect the child’s eyes or the responsibility of children to only watch programs appropriate to their age. Aspects such as incorrect posture, too little sporting activity and the resulting health consequences, lack of drive or even the loss of creativity of a child can also be the consequences of excessive TV viewing among children. If you then consider how one-sided and monotonous the television principle is, you can quickly see how fatal “too much television” can be for a child’s development.

What impact does intensive television viewing have on children??

The dangers of consuming TV too much for children are many and often fatal. In addition to the obvious and well-known consequences as the Obesity due to too little exercise also prevents children from watching TV too intensively, which also encourages their creativity or independence.

Intense television viewing causes:

  • A deterioration in children’s concentration.
  • A decrease in creativity, initiative and willingness to learn.
  • Possibly a deterioration in the child’s vocabulary.
  • In many cases a constant restlessness of the child.

Children who watch television for many hours every day from toddler age are studies too many less independent and creative than children who do handicrafts or read in their free time. In addition, children with a high level of television viewing often find it more difficult to concentrate on one task, which means that school performance is usually much worse than that of children who are brought up with child-friendly games and entertainment options.

From this point of view, intensive television consumption, especially at a young age, has more than questionable consequences for children. The concentration performance drops enormously, the creativity can hardly be expressed at all and if the child then still sees less educationally valuable television series, there is not even a minimum level of educational potential due to the excessive television consumption. The result is restless children who don’t know what to do with themselves and usually learn much harder than those children who are actively involved in their leisure time with creative incentives.

Why watching TV can make children stupid!

It is the monotony of many television series, their absolutely nonsensical history and their unrealistic action, which can ultimately lead to the fact that television literally makes you stupid. This may sound hard, but unfortunately it is exactly the same when children sit in front of the television instead of adults.

Experts advise against watching TV for hours because:

  • Children cannot yet differentiate between reality and fiction.
  • Children often do not know how to properly deal with what they see (example: nightmares after horror films)
  • Children can be confronted with negative influences through the medium of television.

Adults can recognize exaggerated acts as part of the entertainment moment. In contrast, children often cannot distinguish between reality and fiction in early years. This is precisely why children are scared for many days after a scary movie, while adults are scared just a few minutes later scenes have forgotten. Children believe what they hear, see and experience. With enough imagination or too frequent television viewing, the fictional world of television quickly becomes a possible reality. Facts and knowledge are replaced by stories and special effects, and in the end a child dumbs down with every minute that he spends in front of the television.

Too much television can make you stupid because:

  • TV programs are rarely of educational value.
  • The level of many television programs is hardly suitable for children.
  • Misinformation is often conveyed as truths and children could see this knowledge as guaranteed to be correct.

In order to avoid this damaging “dumbing down effect” from too much television consumption, it is important that parents pay close attention to what children are allowed to see and for how long, and to intervene if the child wants to watch something that is not suitable for the child. Voluntary self-control (FSK for short) is often a good indicator of whether the film or series is suitable for children, but not the only one. Parents should be able to actively participate in the conversation and be able to determine exactly how long the child sees what on television and when the television is finally turned off.

What is the maximum time a child should watch TV each day??

Max. 1 hour a day!

Watching a child-friendly series every now and then certainly does not harm any child, and many a feature film is also certainly no reason for parental concern. Because the measure, i.e. the number of hours spent in front of the television each day, is decisive for whether television consumption is justifiable or harmful to the child.

In the old days, a full hour a day was considered safe. Today, based on numerous studies and surveys, we know that this information is no longer entirely correct. Above all, the many advertisements, content harmful to young people and many other aspects of the broadcasting program make it less easy for parents to find the right daily measure for their own children.

  • A child should watch television no more than 1 hour a day!
  • The television program should always be adapted to the age of the child!
  • Children should not watch TV until they are 3 years old!

Basically, it can be said that up to an hour a day can be perfectly acceptable if the television program is designed for the age of the child. Suitable children’s programs with at best educationally valuable content can have a positive impact on the child’s development and are therefore not something that you or your own child would have to fail. It is important to follow the program with the child and not to let the child become a mere spectator. Active conversations with the child during the program train the child’s ability to stay alert and do more than one thing at a time. Multitasking, a catchphrase of our time that seems so difficult and yet is so easy to train.

  • Parents should always pay attention to what children see on TV!
  • Parents should make sure that children do not sit in front of the TV for too long!
  • Children under the age of 10 should see little if any advertising!

If parents then make sure that children can differentiate between facts and fictions, real life and the world shown in advertising and films and also understand why it is not the same, then television in any case is something that children and whose parents like to be able to enjoy every now and then without fear of the harmful consequences of consuming TV too intensely.


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Christina Cherry
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