Updated: October 2, 2012 1:15PM
A new study has found just how much time kids spend with a TV playing in the background : an average 232.2 minutes, or nearly four hours, a day.
The average amount is even greater among children who are younger, black, or from the poorest families, finds the study in today’s Pediatrics.
The nearly four hours of background TV exposure “easily dwarfs” the 80 minutes of active TV viewing the average child 8 months to 8 years old absorbs daily, says the study.
“You’re looking at three times the amount, which is enormous,” says Matthew Lapierre, one of the authors, an assistant professor at the University of North Carolina-Wilmington.
The study involved a phone survey of 1,454 parents with at least one child 8 months to 8 years old.
It says background TV has been “linked to lower sustained attention during playtime, lower quality parent-child interactions and reduced performance on cognitive tasks.”
Heather Kirkorian at the University of Wisconsin-Madison says the new study “documents just how great the real-world impact may be, particularly for very young children.”
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends kids under age 2 not be exposed to any television.
The study recommends turning off the TV at key points , such as bedtime and mealtime.
Gannett News Service