It has been studied and argued that too much television viewing can be harmful to children. It is contributing to childhood obesity and violence. Too much television can also cause behavioral problems in children.

A large part of the problem isn’t the television itself; it’s what the children aren’t doing because the television is on. Most children will stop playing to sit and watch the television. This means they are not active and not using their minds for play. Play is important work for a child. It teaches many life skills children need such as social skills, coping skills, using their imagination, and learning.

A deficit in any of these important skills can lead to behavior problems. A child who is lacking in social skills may have problems making friends at school. Because of this, they may start acting out for attention or simply because they don’t know how to act in a group setting. They may not know how to play with other children or how to behave properly.

Television also negatively impacts a child’s attention span. Many of the television programs requires no cognitive ability which makes the act of watching very boring. This can decrease a child’s attention span. Playing and interacting with other children and adults will increase a child’s attention span as time goes on. When children are watching television, their attention spans are decreasing at the same time they aren’t given an opportunity to increase them through play. A bored child will tend to act inappropriately because he simply doesn’t have the attention span to sit still and pay attention during class. Once again, we see behavior problems rising in children due to the television.

Television can have its place in childhood. Just like adults like to relax by watching an enjoyable show or movie, children like to relax by watching television as well. One form of learning is to observe others, so it does stand that children can learn from watching television. Educational shows can teach children some valuable knowledge, but it is not a substitute for parents teaching their children these cognitive skills. Television viewing in moderation, less than two hours a day according to studies, may not have a negative effect on children’s behavior.

This article was contributed by Shanna Cramer, owner of The Web Shoppe in Fargo, ND. Shanna also contributes to blogs on web marketing and plastic surgery.

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