WHAT Your Kids Watch on TV Affects Their Behavior

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I wanted to make sure that everyone had heard of the recent study of how watching violent/”non-social” shows on TV can significantly affect the behavior and aggressiveness of preschool-aged children.

Pediatricians have long argued that children may watch too much TV–but this study showed that it was not just how MUCH they were watching, but WHAT.  In the study, both groups of children watched similar amounts of TV, but one watched “pro-social” and age-appropriate shows such as Sesame Street, Dora the Explorer, and Curious George, while the other watched the gamut of shows, including movies,  adult programming, and even shows like Power Rangers.

At 6 and 12 months after the intervention, children in the “age-appropriate shows” group had significantly lower aggression and higher levels of social competence.

One point–that I had never considered–is that age appropriate is so important because children at this age have a SHORT attention span (I mean, and I thought MINE was bad!).  So, even if a show ends with a good and moral Aesop-style lesson, your child may have only picked up on the aggression/bullying/violence that started the premise of the episode, and by the time the good moral comes around, they’ve stopped paying attention.

It’s fascinating how malleable and receptive their minds are at this age–to whatever they are exposed.  Of course, the less TV exposure the better, but when they do watch, make sure it’s shows that you wouldn’t cringe to see them mimic.  Go to Common Sense Media to find more reviews on child-friendly shows (and maybe you’ll even find something you like 🙂  )

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