Second-hand TV


We all know that we need to limit our children’s exposure to second-hand smoke. We also know that we are told to limit the amount of TV that they watch. But how many of you know that we are now being told to limit the amount of “second hand TV” they watch?

How often is the TV on in your home, just as background noise? Even if our kids aren’t sitting in front of the TV and watching it, simply having it on can be harmful. A recent article on says:

“Researchers who conducted a national survey of kids’ exposure to TVs droning on in the background say, ‘The amount of exposure for the average child is startling.’¬†How much is it, exactly? Try just under four hours a day for the typical kid.”

But, you may be asking, What’s the harm in having the TV on if the child isn’t sitting and watching? There are several reasons.

“Well, the researchers write, background TV may lower the quality of interactions between parents and kids, lower kids’ performance on tasks that require real thinking and drain kids’ attention during playtime.”

Follow the link above to read the full article. But if you do nothing else, make a concerted effort to turn the TV off, especially if nobody is watching. One compromise I’ve made with my husband during football season is that he’ll put the TV on mute. If the kids are playing in a nearby room, a TV on mute won’t affect them.

I’ve made a commitment to keeping a close eye on the amount of TV my kids watch. And now, I will start paying attention to their exposure to “second-hand TV.”


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