TV: Quality Time or a Waste of Time?

Who says TV time isn't family time?Now we all know that watching too much TV is bad.  But do we really know why it’s bad?  Some researchers link it to ADD, aggressive behavior, and an eroding link between families, but isn’t a large majority of that dependent upon the type of TV parents and children are watching?

There’s plenty of pointless TV that jumps from tidbit to tidbit with no context nor contemplation, and most TV news sources don’t do anything to ameliorate the mindless flashing images on the screen.  Likewise, in a world where the average child will watch 8,000 simulated murders by the time they finish middle school and 200,000 by the time they reach 18, who wouldn’t be aggressive?  And as far as eroding links between families, the same can be said of any time and attention-consuming activity.  The only difference is that with TV, we do it way too much (the average family watches 4 hours of TV per day, and that’s one of the more conservative estimates we’ve found), and we rarely do it together.

Some experts say that families should just get rid of the TV, but there’s no reason to go to such extremes.  If you want to assuage some of the damaging effects of TV on your family, don’t just limit how much time is spent watching TV, but how it is watched.  Gather the family to watch an insightful documentary, then discuss afterwards.  Or, find out what your family watches, watch with them and TALK about it.  Distinguish fact from fiction, good lessons from bad, and most importantly, teach yourself and your family to THINK about TV.

Photo Credit: Ambro

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