Television is so awful, and kids watch so much of it, that it's not surprising that there's been much sociological research on its effects. Most of the studies, though, suffer from the third-factor effect – yes, kids who watch a lot of TV tend to be more aggressive, but could a third factor explain both behaviors? Kids with lower IQ scores also tend to watch more TV and be more violent, as do kids from poorer families. The correlations between heavy TV watching and other behaviors could be merely effects from common causes.
Sitting in front of the television may be relaxing, but spending too much time in front of the tube may take years off your life.
That's what Australian researchers found when they collected TV viewing information from more than 11,000 people older than 25 years. The study found that people who watched an average six hours of TV a day lived an average 4.8 years less than those who didn't watch any television. Also, every hour of TV that participants watched after age 25 was associated with a 22-minute reduction in their life expectancy.
Whats Going On?
It's no mystery that sitting in front of the tube isn't exactly healthy. The more TV you watch, the less physically active you are. And the less exercise you get, the more likely you are to develop diseases such as diabetes or heart problems.
Lennert Veerman is the lead author of the study, which was published in …
If your kids want to watch TV but you want to turn off the tube, suggest that you all play a board game, start a game of hide and seek, play outside, read, work on crafts or hobbies, or listen and dance to music. The possibilities for fun without the tube are endless — so turn off the TV and enjoy the quality time together.