Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Health & Parenting

Font Size

When TV Becomes Kids' Nanny

Report: Parents Often Use TV to Help Manage Their Kids

What's on the Tube?

More than eight in 10 parents reported having rules about what their kids could and couldn't watch on TV. Most also had rules about kids' use of computers and video games.

Viewing habits varied widely. For instance, one mother in a focus group said she let her child, who was 1-3 years old, watch the crime show CSI with her. Another reported watching 20 minutes a day of educational TV with her child.

Two-thirds of parents said they had noticed their child imitating a positive behavior from TV, such as sharing. More than one in five (23%) said they had noticed their child imitate an aggressive behavior from TV.

More than half of the parents (53%) said TV calms their child down; 17% said TV excites their child.

Parents sometimes shifted their TV strategies based on their kids' behavior. For instance, one mother reported not letting her daughter watch ER any more after the little girl tried to give her younger brother CPR.

1 Mom's View

The report includes these quotes from a mother of a child aged 1-3 years in Irvine, Calif.

"I don't think media has anything to do with how I am as a parent," the mother says. "I would never sit her in front of a TV so I could go do something. I learned a long time ago that the dishes can wait until tomorrow. It can all wait. I've seen my 15-year-old grow up in the blink of an eye … I take advantage of all the time I can get."

1|2

Today on WebMD

Girl holding up card with BMI written
Is your child at a healthy weight?
toddler climbing
What happens in your child’s second year.
 
father and son with laundry basket
Get your kids to help around the house.
boy frowning at brocolli
Tips for dealing with mealtime mayhem
 
mother and daughter talking
Tool
child brushing his teeth
Slideshow
 
Sipping hot tea
Slideshow
Young woman holding lip at dentists office
Video
 
Which Vaccines Do Adults Need
Article
rl with friends
fitSlideshow
 
tissue box
Quiz
Child with adhd
Slideshow