Killer TV’s Are On The Loose

Yes, you read that correctly.  It sounds like something from a bad 1950’s Science Fiction Movie, but it’s real:  TV’s are literally killing children all over America.

I happened across this mind-boggling article this morning.  Here’s an excerpt:

“A team from the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Ohio reviewed data from 100 emergency rooms and estimated that about 14,700 furniture-related injuries occurred each year between 1990 and 2007 – almost half due to TV sets, the most common article involved in the accidents – and resulted in about 300 deaths.”

As it turns out, TV sets are falling on, or more accurately being pulled over on top of, children and crushing them to death.  The article goes on to say that securing TV sets, like you would with the newest flat-screens, may go a long way to preventing injury and death.

That’s good news….

…but it got me to thinking today about other, more insidious ways that TV’s are doing much greater harm to our children besides crushing them.

It bring up the question, “what does it cost you (and your children) to own your TV?”

Now you might respond with, “anywhere from a couple hundred to a few thousands of dollars, depending on the model, plus your monthly fee for cable.”

You’d be wrong.

That’s what it cost to BUY your TV.  Here’s what it costs to OWN it.

The average child in America watches between 4 and 8 hours OF TV A DAY?! That’s such an outrageous number that is seems impossible…but we know it’s true.  Think of it this way–most children have a “part-time to full-time job to watch TV.”

That’s 4-8 hours–each and every day–being bombarded with “mind-numbing” messages, including a constant barrage of junk-food ads.  I won’t even get into the questionable moral situations and violence.

You may not believe that people, and children, are directly and indirectly influenced by what they see day in and day out on TV….but if you’re a parent, you will undoubtedly agree that CHILDREN LEARN BY WATCHING.  So what are they watching?

More so than the brain damage hour after hour of “mental junk-food” TV provides, I’d like to address The Hidden Costs Of TV–what is sapping the Life-Force from our children–“Zombifying them”–so that it’s almost like killing them.

The Hidden Cost of 4-8 hours of TV is more than the inane programming…it’s what children are NOT doing because they are plopped in front of the Idiot Box.

With 4-8 hours in front of a TV your child is NOT:

  • Engaging in unstructured, IMAGINATIVE PLAY
  • Getting 30-60 minutes of Physical Exercise
  • Developing Social Skills while interacting with other children
  • Drawing, painting, playing music–CREATING
  • Learning New Skills, exercising his or her Brain
  • Reading or Writing or Studying
  • Working toward and Achieving ANY worthwhile Goal
  • Creating “Flow”–Optimal Experience

And that’s just A FEW of the Hidden Costs of TV.  Whew!

So here are 5 Simple Steps to Keep TV From Killing Your Kids:

1)  Secure it. Make sure it doesn’t fall on your child.

2)  Hide it. Put it in an armoir or behind a curtain, so it’s like watching a movie.  Hiding it will help keep it “out of sight, out of mind.”

3) Limit it. Place strict limits on its use.  Make it a reward AFTER doing any of the activities on the above list, or other activities that you value and require.  (Do the same for their internet use)  You can limit TV to weekends-only, or have “no TV” days.  Sunday is a popular no TV day.

4)  Replace it. Replace the “electronic babysitter” with a real, live babysitter.  Or at least find a way for others to spend time with your child.  Remember, “it takes a village”, so find and connect with “a village.”

5)  Record it. Use Tivo or a DVR to record only what you deem watchable beforehand.  You can skip the commercials (or mute them) and only watch what you value.

So, Think Outside of the (idiot) Box and Keep Your Child’s Brain Alive and Well.