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Children and TV: Things to Watch Out For

Posted in Eye Health Articles

Children and TV: Things to Watch Out For

The phrase “watching TV” today means more than it did 20 years ago. With all the new options now available to children, many parents are wondering: is all this screen time good for my children?

With DVDs, video games, streaming videos and more, new tech is always breaking on the horizon. Kids can watch programming on computers, smartphones, tablets, portable video players...the list goes on.

This begs the question, is all of this screen time bad for kids?

Is TV harmful for kids?

Television can offer entertaining, and sometimes educational, content for children. However, too much of anything isn’t good for you, and this certainly goes for TV. Here are some of the caveats you should remember when monitoring your children’s TV habits.

It’s sedentary

Sitting in front of a screen for hours deprives your kids of the active play and exercise that children need to grow strong and healthy.

It may curb social sharing and imagination

Children learn through creative play. This is a cornerstone of childhood development. Watching shows, however, is passive, and doesn’t fully engage your children’s imagination.

Some programming is not appropriate for children

Even with devices that offer parental controls, and growing offerings of online kids’ TV shows and dedicated TV channels for kids, you can’t screen and filter everything.

What television shows are good for kids?

Watch age-appropriate shows, in moderation, with your child. Try not to use the TV or computer as a babysitter for hours on end. This lets you see what she’s watching, and gives you room to discuss them with her.

If your child is younger, be sure to laugh and get involved with what’s happening on screen, even if the humor isn’t at your level. This will help with bonding with your child and make the family moments more special.

Can watching TV hurt kids’ eyes?

As with any screen time, excess can lead to eye strain and other problems, especially for young eyes that are still developing. Your children’s brain continues to develop well into their twenties.

Some tips:

  • Neither you nor your child should ever watch TV in total darkness.
  • You and your kids should rest your eyes for 15 minutes for every 2 hours of screen time.
  • Every few minutes, look away for a few seconds (this works well if you and your child are watching together and interacting with each other during the show).
  • If your child sits too close to the TV, it may be a sign that he needs glasses. Have your kids’ vision checked at regular intervals, and always talk to your eye doctor about questions or concerns.

TV, like anything else, has its advantages and disadvantages. It can provide stimulating, educational content. It can be good family bonding time. But too much TV and screen time could keep your children from other healthy activities, expose them to content they’re not ready for, or strain their eyes.

Nothing in this article is to be construed as medical advice, nor is it intended to replace the recommendations of a medical professional. For specific questions, please see your eye care practitioner.

Source of original article: http://coopervision.ca/eye-health-and-vision/kids-and-tv