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7 Ways to Cut Kids' TV Time

Experts Get Specific With Parents in Study on Children and TV
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Nov. 7, 2006 -- Most American children watch too much TV, so experts have come up with seven ways to turn off the trend.

The tips come from researchers including Amy Jordan, PhD, of the Annenberg Policy Center in Philadelphia.

Jordan's team bases its advice on a study of 180 kids aged 6-13 and their parents in the Chicago, Philadelphia, and Richmond, Va., areas.

"Most of the children reported spending about three hours per day watching television," the researchers write.

That's an hour more than the two-hours-per-day maximum recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) for children at least 2 years old.

The AAP recommends no TV at all for kids under 2.

The Study

The families studied were diverse: 36% of the kids were white, 34% were black, 26% Hispanic, and 4% of other or mixed ethnic backgrounds. Half were boys; half girls.

The researchers interviewed the kids about their TV viewing habits. They separately interviewed one of the child's parents (usually the mother) or a guardian.

Parents in Jordan's study underestimated how much TV their kids watched; giving an average of almost two hours per day rather than the three hours cited by the kids.

The families had on average four TV sets in their home.

"Nearly two-thirds had a television in the child's bedroom, and nearly half had a television set in the kitchen or dining room," Jordan's team writes.

These were among the things the researchers zeroed in on as they gave the parents advice on how to limit their children's TV time.

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