Teresa Fuller M.D., Ph.D
“Literally, the average child now spends more time watching TV than attending school. This kind of electronic engagement has had a profound effect on kids’ behavior and the development of their brains.” Dr. Scott Shannon
The above quote by Dr. Shannon highlights the growing problem of children spending too much time with media. On average, children and teens are spending 7 hours per day with media. With Christmas just around the corner, people are lining up to purchase the latest media devices. Popular gift ideas include tablets, smart phones, video game consoles and laptops. But I’d like to recommend caution regarding the trend to make these the top gifted items for children.
Here are 3 reasons to reign in the media exposure for our children:
- Media contributes to overweight children. Media consumption is mostly a sedentary activity, and therefore a strong contributor to weight gain. In a recent study, it was found that children who consume media for more than 2 hours daily and who have less daily physical activity than recommended were 3 to 4 times more likely to be overweight. Media has another powerful way of helping put on the pounds, and that’s through advertising. Several very intriguing studies have looked at the food advertising during prime time, and during Saturday morning kids’ programming. The vast majority of food promoted on television contains low quality grains (i.e. mostly refined, low-fiber grains), a deficiency of many important minerals and vitamins such as calcium, magnesium and vitamin E, and high amounts of sugar and fat, promoting weight gain.