Background television has been "linked to lower sustained attention during playtime, lower quality parent-child interactions and reduced performance on cognitive tasks."
Research has noted on the harmful effects too much television watching has on children even if it's running in the background and now a new study reveals that children from African-American and low-income families are the ones most exposed to this environment.
The study, published in the Official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics' November 2012 issue, conducted a phone survey with 1,454 parents with at least one child between 8 months old and 8 years old. Parents were asked if the child had a TV in his room, how many hours were watched, and if the set stayed on even if no one was watching it to determine exposure and results revealed that American children are exposed to an average of 4 hours of background television a day. That amount rises to 5.5 hours a day for African-American children and nearly 6 hours if the child is from a low-income home. Other scenarios that factored into the increase included single-parent households and children whose parents had less formal education.
Background television has been "linked to lower sustained attention during playtime, lower quality parent-child interactions and reduced performance on cognitive tasks," the study notes. To help battle these effects, the authors suggest turning the TV off when no one is watching as well as during mealtime and bedtime. Children under 2 shouldn't watch television at all.
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