Limit your child's TV time

Limit your child's TV time

Website designer Shirley Sim used to get her four-year-old son to watch television whenever she needed to work from home.

On some days, the 38-year-old's son would watch up to eight hours of educational DVDs or children's programmes.

That was until his kindergarten teachers complained of his hyperactivity in class. The child psychologist she consulted said TV could be a key factor contributing to his condition.

Extensive research has been conducted on the effects of television on children and it shows that TV often does more harm than good.

Research shows that watching TV programmes or DVDs designed for infants actually delays language development.

For example, a 2008 Thai study published in the journal Acta Paediatrica found that if children under 12 months watched TV for more than two hours a day, they were six times more likely to have delayed language skills.

Too many hours spent watching TV can also be a factor in attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Studies have shown that the amount of TV a child is exposed to between ages one and three has a direct effect upon later attention problems. Watching TV, in other words, can shorten attention spans.

A study by Professor Dimitri Christakis from Seattle Children's Research Institute and the University of Washington in 2004 found that a child who watched two hours of TV a day before the age of three would be 20 per cent more likely to have attention problems by age seven.

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