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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.

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“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.

  • I don’t keep track of how much time my kids watch tv for. They are both gifted, so it’s clearly not affecting their learning… if anything it is enhancing it! They also love playing imaginative play.

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  • My kids might get half an hour a day if there lucky

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  • Something I never worried about because my kids were always more interested in playing outside, thank god

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  • Should i be worried how much computer, ipad and xbox time my kid is having?
    Minecraft survival is completely crap. I went camping last week and got my son involved. He kept saying minecraft survival you learn lots from it. I got him to light the insect repellent circle thingy and went through 6 matches cos the wind blew. I had to explain to my son if he only had 6 matches whaf would he do? Real learning comes from outside not on games.
    I dont mind tv timing but boy i hate computer games etc.

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  • Even when my son does watch TV he’s not sitting still.

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  • Adults love watching tv yet we carry on about kids doing the same. Balance is the key.

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  • Its ridiculous the TV time spent.

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  • Really!! have the eye specialists all got it wrong, and had it wrong for over 30 years??? I know plenty of children who spend a lot longer than that watching TV each time, especially if they are playing DVDs. most last longer than that, especially movies. Bad weather they spend longer in front of the TV unless they are keen book readers. Small children often sit on the floor and gradually move closer to the TV. I am constantly checking all my kids. If I know exactly what the children are watching sometimes they watch it while I’m cooking to keep them out of the kitchen. 2 of them are big enough and old enough to open the safety gates but the youngest one is walking and not old enough to understand all the dangers in the kitchen yet. He is not yet allowed in there when we are serving hot food or drinks, We make sure any dangerous items are pushed back against the wall or to the back of the bench and sink. Fortunately they are high.

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  • Great article, we need less don’ts and more dos. When everything is don’t forget this you shouldn’t be doing that it’s overwhelming. Constructive ideas on what’s great to do needs to be out there more often.

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  • I don’t worry about how much time my kids spend watching television at all, it’s always less then a hour anyway. I actually love picking a dvd and watching with my kids together every now and then.

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  • I agree that we tend to stress too much.

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  • It is true that we are worrying too much and we should keep an eye about what they are watching

    Reply

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