Today’s busy parents, many of whom do not have relatives around to lend a hand with childcare, rely on after school programs while they are at work. But even at home, parents still need help and may allow their children to watch a lot of television because it is necessary to attend to other matters. We are not passing judgment but merely stating what we know to be true: parents sometimes allow children to watch a lot of television because it keeps children occupied.
For years, experts have stated that ideally, children should not watch more than two hours of television per day, but they know that in reality many children watch more than twice that amount. Time.com reports that rather than admonishing parents, experts are taking a new approach: advising parents on what children should watch and encouraging parents to watch television with their children.
The Center for Child Health, Behavior and Development at Seattle Children’s Research Institute studied families that “agreed to go on a media “diet” and swap programming with more aggressive and violent content for educational, prosocial shows that encourage sharing, kindness and respect" along with families that made no change to their children's viewing habits.
Six months later, researchers found that the children whose parents received guidance on prosocial programming where more likely to share, cooperate, and be respectful than the children who had continued to watch programs that showed more aggressive behavior. Overall they did not see a decrease in the amount of television children watched but researchers were able to persuade some parents to choose better programming for their children.
The experts found positive results when they changed their view on children and television much in the way parents have to modify their expectations for their children.