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Seann
Seann asks:
Q:

How much media consumption is too much for your preschooler?

A recent study by exposed some startling statistics regarding media/TV consumption by toddlers and preschoolers.... 40% of 3 month-olds and 90% of 2 year-olds regularly watch TV.  Whats even more surprising is that despite overwhelming evidence that suggest that children under 2 should not be exposed to TV and that over-exposure in young children can lead to problems of attention control, aggressive behavior and poor cognitive development; parents are exposing younger children to more and more media/TV programming because they believe it has a positive educational impact on their children.  If you're like most parents you grapple with how to manage media consumption as your children grow up in an environment where young kids are bombarded by media marketing.  So how much is too much?

We limit our preschooler to a half hour a day, with one movie on the weekend.  It's a battle to keep to this limit and an on-going debate in our house as to what is appropriate.  
In Topics: Children and screen entertainment (TV & movies)
> 60 days ago

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Expert

JeanneBrockmyer
Feb 11, 2009
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What the Expert Says:

I am impressed that you are giving such careful thought to your child's media experience.  There are well-documented benefits to viewing educational media that include specific skill acquisition (see, for example, Sesame Street) and prosocial skills (see, for example, Dora the Explorer and many others). However, most experts agree that the media exposure of young children should be limited.  Your half hour per day for a preschooler seems reasonable to me, with a little more weekend time for a developmentally appropriate movie.  Experts express basically two concerns about excessive media exposure: (1) exposure to inappropriate content, and (2) media time limits time for other developmentally appropriate activities including play time with parents and peers and time for creative/artistic activities.

You are already more media savvy than many parents of young children.  Keep up the good work!

Jeanne H. Brockmyer, Ph. D.
(formerly Jeanne B. Funk)
education.com expert clinical child psychologist    

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Additional Answers (6)

bob
bob , Parent writes:
Writing as one who didn't do a very good job of this when my kids were that age, I think, in hindsight, I should have only allowed them to watch TV when I was watching with them.  Set a rule that "Mommy or Daddy has to watch with you" and stick to it.  That way, there is a clear boundary and you won't get into arguments over whether Johnny was watching TV at this time or that.  And this way you won't slip into the "TV as babysitter" pattern that is a very slipperly slope.
> 60 days ago

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rkaiulani
rkaiulani writes:
I grew up in a household where t.v. was virtually verboten, aside from the occasional nature program or baseball game, and I believe that it did me a world of good. While I could have been sitting on the couch, jaw slack and eyes glazed, I was outdoors, creating my own imagined stories and interacting with nature. Children learn through doing and experiencing, and while it can be tempting to let the hypnotic spell of television absorb your children's attention, it is the real world that will teach them best.
> 60 days ago

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loishi
loishi writes:
I completely agree with Rose.  Maybe it's just how you are raised, but in my family there was no TV until I was 11, and even then the only programs I was allowed to watch were Jeopardy (presumably it was educational?) and Star Trek (because I insisted).  I think too many children get into the habit of plopping down in front of the TV and mentally going offline for hours and hours -- they can even become addicted.  I think that TV should be limited to one or two programs that you and your children can really enjoy together.  
> 60 days ago

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MadelynOT
MadelynOT writes:
Even through high school, my parents put a strict time limitation on my T.V. watching. I fought against them throughout my years living at home, but now realize it forced me to find other things to do with my time. Because I was only allowed to watch an hour per day, and never anything after dinner, I had more time for homework, friends, family and other activities.  It amazes me how many young kids are allowed to spend the afternoon or evening in front of the T.V.
> 60 days ago

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lkauffman
lkauffman writes:
In 1999, the American Academy of Pedicatrics recommended that parents do not expose their children to electronic screens until they are two-years-old and no more than one to two hours of "quality" TV and videos a day for children over two. The American Academy of Peditatrics also provided wonderful advice for helping your children to become smart consumers of media including, playing "spot the commercial" with your child and talking with them about the things that you are seeing together. Good luck!
> 60 days ago

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lkauffman
lkauffman writes:
A great little piece on this topic aired on National Public Radio yesterday afternoon. A pediatrician dad discusses the challenges of practicing what he preaches in regard to avoiding screen time for children under the age of 2 years. Take a listen (speakers required) and let us know what you think!

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=11478164
> 60 days ago

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