The Plug on TV Violence
This brochure provides information about the influence of television
violence on children and offers tips to parents about what they can
do. The AAP recommends that children under 2 years not watch
television and children over 2 years watch 2 hours or less per day.
The brochure begins with a series of facts about the influence of
television on children and then suggests specific things that parents
can do, like (1) set limits on television time, (2) know what children
are watching, (3) do not put a television in a child's room, (4) use a
V-chip on new televisions, and (5) watch programs with children so
that parents can comment on the violence that they see.
How to Use This Tool
This is a difficult topic for many parents. Television provides free
in-home child care for many families and is often used to occupy
a child when parents are trying to get something of their own done,
such as cooking dinner. It is also known that children in lower
socioeconomic groups watch more TV than other children and that
the television may be used not only for the reasons listed, but as
an alternative if playing outside is considered dangerous. Part of
the challenge of this topic is in identifying alternatives to
- Parents need to be counseled to expect approximately 2 weeks
of resistance when they first begin enforcing limits on TV viewing.
Parents need to have toys, such as art supplies, that use the
imagination or, preferably, encourage physical activities as an
alternative to watching television.
Many families may find it easier to have a television in the
children's room rather than compete for the choice of
programming in a common room. An open discussion on this
issue can help parents find a satisfactory way to reduce the
exposure of their children to television violence.
- For younger children in child care or in the care of a relative,
it would be appropriate to ask if the children watch television
when they are being watched during the day.
You can start out by simply asking the child directly, "What's
your favorite show on TV?" The child's response will often indicate
the kind of television programming being watched and can provide
you with a topic to open up the discussion with parents.
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