Watching Children Watch TV
One in three children between the age of 6 months and 6 years have a TV set in their bedrooms. And children who have TVs in their bedrooms spend an average 30 minutes more per day watching TV than those who don't.
These are just two of the fascinating findings in the latest Media Family report issued by the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation on Wednesday. The report's findings will certainly be used as fodder in the growing debate about how young a child should be allowed to watch TV. Despite the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendation that babies under two should not watch any TV (or play with video games or computers), a growing number of companies are marketing to that very age group, including a brand new 24/7 TV channel, BabyFirst TV.
According to the study, more children read or are read to than watch TV on a typical day (83 percent read while 75 percent watch TV). However, the average time spent reading is 48 minutes while the average time watching TV is 1 hour 19 minutes per day.
The report shows there's a substantial racial and socio-economic divide on TV-viewing. Children from families with lower incomes and less formal education watch more TV than those in families that are more affluent and better educated. Black children watch more and play more console video games than white children. Children in Hispanic households read less than both black and white children. Similarly, children from families with lower incomes and less formal education are more likely to have TVs in their bedroom.
Why TVs in children's bedrooms? According to the study, which is based on a 2005 national survey of 1,051 parents with children and several focus groups, the most common reason is to free up other sets in the house to allow parents or other family members to watch their own shows. Other reasons include: keeping a child occupied so parent can do things around the house, helping a child fall asleep, rewarding a child for good behavior and stopping fights with siblings.
Afternoon Update: Kaiser Family Foundation just sent over a link to see video clips of one of the focus groups. It's worth checking out.
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