TV for kids: is it all bad?

The Advantages of Children Watching TV., December 18, 2013.

A terse article that tries to balance the pros and cons of TV watching for kids. It begins with a clear statement that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends against kids watching TV before the age of 2 and that parents tend to use the TV as a babysitter much too often.

But beyond these points, the article argues that there are some bright sides to TV watching. The four it stresses are families watching and discussing shows together, thereby deepening their connections; there indeed existing on TV some truly educational shows like Sesame Street or certain programs on the history channel; there also existing certain shows that kids might find truly inspirational; and finally social media being a way that kids can connect in a healthy manner with other kids.

All true enough. The problem here is that parents do use the TV set way too often as a distractor for their kids, even before the age of 2. Also, the kids themselves begin to push others, including their parents, out of their lives through their active engagement in the media. Further, only a small portion of TV shows are educational in a good sense, and so parents who try to allow media immersion for their kids in moderation need to be very, very aware of what their kids are absorbing from the media, and this can take a heck of a lot of time and energy. Since parents themselves are often rushed and distracted, the task of monitoring their children’s media engagement can be quite time-consuming indeed. And yet I totally agree that some degree of media engagement for contemporary kids can be both beneficial and informative.