February 6th, 2006

TV Watching Takes Away From Family Time

United Press International

A study by Texas and Harvard researchers says television watching cuts into a child’s creative play and family interaction.

The report by researchers from The University of Texas at Austin and Harvard Children’s Hospital in the journal Pediatrics provides evidence that supports the American Academy of Pediatrics television viewing recommendations.

The AAP recommends that children under the age of 2 should not watch television and children older than two should watch no more than two hours of television daily.

While television time impinged on familial interactions for all age groups, Dr. Elizabeth Vandewater and her colleagues found this to be strongest in older children, ages 9 to 12, because they spent less time with their parents overall.

"Though AAP is specifically concerned about younger kids, I would urge parents to consider how television is impinging on their time with older kids as well," says Vandewater.

Vandewater said she was surprised to find that television watching did not interfere with reading or playing outdoors.

"If television is implicated in a problem like childhood obesity, it’s likely something about the content, not the time spent watching it," she said.

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