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Television watching in the average American home has reached an all time high. Today the average 2-5 year old spends 32 hours a week in front of a TV set and 6-11 year olds spend an average of 28 hours. This program focuses on the  influence of television, including both the pros and cons of television watching, and how it impacts kids, their reading ability, and school function.

Joining host, Dennis McCuistion, for this discussion on the influence of television on children, accompanied by TV watching statistics, are:

  • Sonja Ezell – Reading Specialist, Dallas Independent School District
  • Hank Moore – Corporate Strategist and the author of The Business Tree and The Classic Television Reference.

Television Has Changed Since Its Inception

Sonje Ezell says, “It operates on the law of diminishing returns, the more you watch- the less you get. TV formula flicks today in contrast to old shows specialize in murder, rape, suicides and reality TV which all leads to poor communication and interaction skills.”

Hank Moore, who started in radio and went on to become an advisor for President Lyndon Johnson, talks about his graduate thesis on the sociological impact of TV. Hank Moore says, “Problems are not solved in 25 minutes. Sitcoms show that and it sets us up for a downfall.”

Using clips from older programs, Howdy Doody, Producers Showcase, Walter Cronkite, Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, Father Knows Best and the Hit Parade, etc., the guests examine the “progress of TV” and compare and contrast classic older programs with TV today.

Sonja Ezell says, “Today families are busy. They need to make good choices, and most of the time it’s not TV, it’s reading. Reading yields strong returns. It improves vocabulary.”

TV Watching Today Is at an All-Time High

TV Watching Statistics:

  • Kids 2-5 years of age spend 32 hours in front of a TV
  • 6-11 year olds spend 28 hours in front of a TV
  • 68% of kids have a TV in his or her bedroom
  • Kids watch 1.5 hours more if a TV set in bedroom
  • 54% have a DVD player
  • 37% have cable access
  • 20% have premier channel access
  • 63% of households have a TV on during meals
  • 53% of households have no TV watching rules

Preschoolers and TV Watching Statistics

Four-year-olds watching the daily average (3.5 hours) were 25 percent more likely to become bullies. Another study showed that preschoolers who watch television violence and play violent video games are more likely to show high levels of aggression and antisocial behavior than those not exposed to violent television and video games.

Additional TV Watching Statistics Show:

  • A study of more than 700 families found that 14-year-old boys who watched relatively more television were more likely to have assaulted someone or committed a serious act of aggression by the time they were 22 years old.
  • There is a direct correlation between a child’s weight and the number of hours the child spends watching television. As TV viewing has risen over the past three decades, so has the average weight of American children.
  • The number of sexual incidents that occur during the “family hour” prime-time hour (between 8-9 p.m.) increased more than 400 percent since 1976.

What can American parents and caregivers do?

Join Hank Moore, Sonje Esell and Dennis McCuistion as we look at the influence of television watching on our children and how we can combat its impact.  Entering the discussion on how to curb the negative effects of television are suggestions including: parents should make the effort to watch TV with their children, help the child choose positive programs and limit the time spent in front of the television by instead talking to the kids and spending time with them.

Thanks for watching as we talk about things that matter… with people who care.

Niki McCuistion
Executive Producer/ Producer


1824 – 07.11.10

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