Researcher says we need to “calm down” and not worry so much about how much TV kids are watching.
A study led by Edith Cowan University senior lecturer Bronwyn Harman, published in Early Childhood Australia, has delivered surprising results.
Four-year-old Australian children are not sitting in front of screens for as long as we have been led to believe. And not all TV-watching is bad. In fact, some programs encourage beneficial play, reports SMH.
“Everybody calm down,” researcher Dr Harman told SMH.
“What our research found was that the average number of hours of children watching TV in our study was 1.82 hours per day.
“The national guidelines recommend two hours.”
“The idea that parents are using the television as a babysitter is not correct, according to our research.”
Past research had found families allowed children way too much screen time.
Dr Harman said she had thought her study would find the more television children watched, the less time they were spending in unstructured play. But that was not the case.
“Perhaps it’s not television itself that’s the problem, it’s what they’re watching on television,” she said.
“If they’re watching things like the good old Aussie example of Play School, if they’re watching something like that that might prompt them to go out in the garden and do something they haven’t done before.
“The television is giving them ideas for unstructured play.
“It’s not just the hours of watching television that we need to look at.”
Anything that inspired imagination was much better than sitting children in front of the average cartoon.
The study surveyed 564 parents from around Australia, asking how much time their children spent in unstructured play or games without adult supervision.
Share your comments below.