Skip to content

    Health & Parenting

    Font Size

    Too Much TV Puts Tots at Risk

    Many Parents Not Heeding Warnings About Negative Effects of Too Much TV Viewing in Young Kids
    WebMD Health News
    Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD

    July 15, 2010 -- Despite repeated warnings about the potentially negative effects on children who watch too much television, nearly 20% of 2-year-olds in Oregon watch TV or videos two or more hours daily, the CDC says.

    CDC and Oregon Public Health Division officials analyzed 2006-2007 data from the Oregon Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring Survey involving 1,868 respondents, finding that 19.6% of 2-year-olds spend two hours or more watching TV or videos.

    Among other findings:

    • 18.2% of the children had a TV in their bedrooms.
    • Children with a TV in their bedrooms were more likely to watch the tube for two hours or more.
    • Children who went on fewer than four outings during the week prior to the time their mothers were questioned also were much more likely to spend two hours or more watching TV or videos.
    • 14.5% of kids who went on four or more outings were less likely to watch more than two hours of TV.
    • Children who spent any time in a child care center were significantly less likely to watch two hours or more of TV or videos (7.8%), compared with 23.2% of kids not in day care.
    • 35.9% of non-Hispanic black mothers allowed their kids to view TV or videos for two hours or more, compared to 18.6% of non-Hispanic white mothers.

    Too Much TV Linked to Developmental Problems

    John Y. Oh, MD, MPH, the CDC epidemic intelligence officer with the Oregon State Public Health Division, says in an email that mothers were asked how much time their 2-year-olds spent watching TV or videos “so most probably interpreted ‘video’ as meaning watching a DVD or VCR video, as opposed to playing video games.”

    In 2001, the American Academy of Pediatrics said in a guideline that children’s total exposure to TV and videos should be limited to no more than one to two hours of “quality programming” per day.

    “These findings are comparable to a telephone survey of parents in Minnesota and Washington, which found that by age two years, 90% of children regularly watched television or videos, and the average viewing time amount those who watched was more than 1.5 hours per day,” the CDC says in its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report for July 16, 2010.

    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
    child brushing his teeth
    Sipping hot tea
    boy drinking from cereal bowl
    hand holding a cell phone
    rl with friends
    girl being bullied
    Child with adhd