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Children in home-based day care watch more TV

November 23, 2009 |  9:17 am

Several studies have been conducted to determine how much television young children are watching. The topic is important because research shows planting a kid in front of the TV for several hours a day does much more harm than good. A new study, published online today in the journal Pediatrics, has found that children in day care are watching twice the amount of television than previously thought.

TV Previous studies on kids' viewing habits did not include data from hours of television watched in child care settings, according to researchers. The new study examined both home-based and child-care settings and found that, with the exception of infants, children in home-based day care programs were exposed to much more TV per day than children in child-care centers: for toddlers, 1.6 hours compared with .1 hour and, for preschool-age children, 2.4 hours versus .4 hour.

The average time of daily TV use for preschool-age children in which television was used at all was 3.4 hours for home-based programs and 1.2 hours in center-based programs. Overall, children watched TV daily in 70% of home-based programs and 36% of center-based programs. The study was conducted among 168 day-care settings, of which 94 were home-based.

These figures reflect little change from surveys conducted in previous years, noted the authors, from the University of Washington. "This lack of change is disconcerting, given the intervening publication of the American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines regarding television use for young children," the authors wrote in the paper. They note that infant and toddler TV viewing is linked to increased risks of obesity, language delay, inactivity, aggression and decreased attention spans. The AAP recommends no TV viewing in children ages 2 and younger and, for older children, no more than one to two hours a day of "quality programming."

"Our findings highlight just how pervasive screen time is for very young U.S. children," they wrote.

The AAP policy on children and television viewing can be found here.

— Shari Roan

Photo credit: Alan Marler  /  Associated Press

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Comments (3)

Children are spending far too much time in front of the televisiob and becoming addicted to other forms of technology. Furthermore, they are not getting exposed to nature which is so important for the development of healthy, happy and smart children.
My advice to my fellow grandparents is to take your grandchild by the hand and introduce them to Earth, our home planet. Your grandchildren have been artificially separated from the natural world of which they are part. Become the nature mentors of your grandchildren, bond with them, bring balance into their lives and help them to bond with Nature. Explore the natural world together and unlock the Earth's secrets. In this shared adventure, both generations will enjoy, learn and grow. Please contact me if you would like to join the GrandparentsIntoNature movement as one of the best ways to counter tech addiction. Grandma Rocks

Among paid daycare providers in large union based settings there is an agenda to discredit any care but their own> They discredit parental care saying it is a luxury few can afford, ignoring the majority doing it who live near the poverty level to do so. They discredit sitters, nannies and small dayhomes which also cut into their business, claiming these loving settings with spontaneous outings, lots of fresh air, individualized attention are somehow inferior. The idea the kids watch a bit of TV is not the end of the world. They also are more likely to have outings, to play with real objects, like stirring real cookies and playing with real sand and water. The big daycares do a lot of standardized robotic scheduled things but they are far from individualized to notice skills and on the spur of the 'teachable moment' change the direction of a book reading or painting session just to handle the new interest. Let's stop discrediting what is historically very very good care. Let's be aware of big union and big labor's push to make us only have to hire their daycare staff.

That's really true. Thanks for sharing this post


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