On average, children 8 years of age and older watch greater than 2 hours of TV a day and at least 6 hours per day when all types of media are included (e.g., movies, videos, gaming, social media, etc.) (1) Even children’s programming is quite violent with cartoons showing 25 – 50 violent acts per hour (2,3). There is a positive correlation between the viewing of violence in media and the behavior of the viewers (4 – 9).
What can we do as parents to stem the tide?
1. Limit children’s total media time to less than 1 to 2 hours a day. I would suggest even less especially on school nights!
2. Remove TV sets and computers from children’s bedrooms and do not allow them to sleep with other devices such as phones.
3. Discourage television and screen media use (except for video chatting) for children younger than 18 months.
4. Monitor the shows viewed and games played by children and adolescents.
5. View media with your children and discuss the content.
6. Play digital games with your children to better understand them.
7. Encourage alternative entertainment (Reading, athletics, hobbies, etc.)
8. Use parental controls to block unauthorized viewing.
These are simple steps to help your child get along better with others and resolve conflicts without violence. The American Academy of Pediatrics also provides tips and resources to develop a “Family Media Plan,” which you can find online.
1, 2. Rideout VJ. The Common Sense Census: Media Use by Tweens and Teens https://www.commonsensemedia.org/research/the-common-sense-census-media-use-by-tweens-and-teens (Accessed on November 01, 2016).
3. Dietz WH, Strasburger VC. Children, adolescents, and television. Curr Probl Pediatr 1991; 21:8.
4. Yokota F, Thompson KM. Violence in G-rated animated films. JAMA 2000; 283:2716.
5. Sege R, Dietz W. Television viewing and violence in children: the pediatrician as agent for change. Pediatrics 1994; 94:600.
6. Council on Communications and Media. Media use in school-aged children and adolescents. Pediatrics 2016.
7. American Academy of Pediatrics. Committee on Public Education. American Academy of Pediatrics: Children, adolescents, and television. Pediatrics 2001; 107:423.
8. Caring for your baby and young child: Birth to age 5, Shelov SP, Hannemann RE (Eds), Bantam, New York 1991.
9. Council on Communications and Media. From the American Academy of Pediatrics: Policy statement–Media violence. Pediatrics 2009; 124:1495.
This information was obtained from http://www.uptodate.com a website which provides current information for physicians.