New Nielsen figures show that kids watch more than an entire day’s worth of television in an average week: 32 hours for kids 2 to 5 and 28 hours for kids 6 to 11. That’s an eight-year high, which is alarming pediatricians who warn that every minute spent in front of the tube is a minute not spent exercising, playing outside, or even reading books and, you know, interacting with other human beings.
While there’s absolutely no denying any of that, the increase can hardly come as a shock, given that the figures include DVR playback, DVD viewing, and video games. There’s more big-time entertainment aimed specifically at kids than ever, thanks to Disney Channel and Nickelodeon constantly competing for little eyeballs, not to mention an explosion of cross-promotional DVDs, games, and the like that tie in with kiddie-channel faves. Plus, we’ve got more ways to watch at any age than ever before — point being, we should be alarmed for all of us if we’re alarmed at all.
Then again, TV isn’t all bad, is it? Dora the Explorer expands kids’ horizons, Sesame Street taught us all Spanish before we started kidergarten, and even sitcoms like Wizards of Waverly Place offer solid morals and good, clean laughs. Experts have been warning against TV for kids since it began, but if they are going to watch (and history tells us they absolutely are), I’d rather have them watching stuff made for them than taking in CSI or Entourage.
What do you think, PopWatchers? Should kids’ TV time be strictly limited, or is this just a sign of the changing times? If so much TV didn’t cater specifically to kids, would they still watch as much? Are you as alarmed by these figures as experts are?
Photo Credit: Theo Wargo