Your TV-Watching Toddler Has Greater Chance of Becoming a Criminal

Say What!? 34

kid watching tvTV is going to rot your kid's brain, make her fat, and it's all going to reflect on you, the horrible person that is the parent. We all know that kids under 2 shouldn't be watching any television at all, according to the AAP. Kids 2 and up should only see 1 to 2 hours per day. That's two Doc McStuffins, one Jack's Big Music Show, and one Handy Manny tops. We did the no TV before 2, but something broke inside me and my failures as a mom became apparent when I felt the need to take a shower and therefore turn on a Peppa Pig for some "babysitting" action. Sesame Street was a full hour so I choose that when I wanted to shower and make a decent breakfast. I'm not proud of it, but at least I smelled decent in my defeat.

I'm apparently raising criminals now. Not one, but two recent studies have now linked kids watching TV to crime. Anti-social behavior and criminal activity?!?! Where's the remote?! Where's the remote!?!?

Of course it's our fault, as parents, whenever our kids do something horrible. I'm half serious and half joking with that statement. We are the foundation and while there are plenty of fantastic people who came out of completely screwed up families, it's not a risk we really want to take. The reality is, says Pediatrics, is that most preschool age kids are watching almost 4 and a half hours of tube, either at home or daycare. That more than double the recommended maximum.

Okay, wait. Daycare with a TV? That's just wrong.

Apparently it's not just the big box we call a TV that's the problem. Add in the YouTube videos, iPhone apps, video games, anything that is something your kid watches that is on a screen. Every extra hour of TV watched by your little one increased the risk of "criminal conviction" by age 26 by 30 percent. I'm sort of terrified. Is this the reason we are seeing the large-scale acts of violence, increased bullying, and seemingly more reckless behavior by young people today? Lindsay Robertson, the lead author of this study and a public health researcher at Dunedin School of Medicine said:

Young adults who had spent more time watching television during childhood and adolescence were significantly more likely to have a criminal conviction, a diagnosis of antisocial personality disorder, and more aggressive personality traits compared with those who viewed less television.

Before we all started freaking out and putting our TV's up for sale on eBay, the smart people are saying that mostly where we go wrong as heathen parents letting our kids watch TV is the kind of TV shows we allow them to watch. "Non-violent conflict resolution" type of kid-geared shows actually helped kids when it was substituted for the inappropriate or violence things they were watching.

So if we must let the kids watch TV, make it sweet, pro-social, no violence. In other words, don't let your kid watch Walking Dead with you. I'm still considering waiting to shower until my kids are in Harvard.

Do you let your kids watch TV? How much? Are you worried about this study?

 

Image via woodleywonderworks/Flickr

cartoons, toddler development