According to psychological research it does matter how much TV your children watch. One study found that the number of hours of TV watched between 1 and 3 years old was linked with attentional problems at aged 7. Psychologists suggest that this is because real life does not move as quickly as the animated cartoons on television and that if young children are allowed to watch these animations, they find real life slower and more boring. TV watching is not only linked with attentional problems but also increased aggression. This is not surprising when so many cartoons contain violence, just think of all those superheroes using violence to get rid of the bad guys. Children are very impressionable and are easily influenced by the characters they see on TV. However, this is the kind of research that I wish I could ignore as it makes life much more difficult for me. I would much rather put on the TV than spend time pushing trains round a train track with my 3-year-old. Unfortunately, this is where knowing too much psychology is a bad thing as I can’t help but feel guilty about allowing my son to watch too much TV. I promised myself I wouldn’t buy a DVD player for the car before my son was born but it was the only way to get me through long journeys with him and still have my sanity. I bought the DVD player when he was 9 months old after two journeys with him screaming on the motorway to get out of his car seat. However, I have tried to reduce TV watching time a home. This is not easy especially when I am trying to get dressed in the morning or cook dinner at night. With no TV to babysit my son, I have had to get quite inventive when cooking. I have ended up getting my son to measure out the spices or herbs into a bowl, which takes twice as long and makes a huge mess. I have also given my son play dough so that he can pretend he is cutting vegetables when I am doing it. I accept I might be slightly overdoing it and making life hard for myself but that is the cost of being a mum who knows too much psychology.
Does it really matter how much television you let your kids watch?
March 28, 2012