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


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mande... manderspanders

It all goes back to too much technology, too soon. Parents are entirely too quick to turn on a tv, hand over their cell phone, give an iPad, etc etc to kids as young as infants. Is it any wonder they want instant gratification when these devices reinforce that idea at such a young age? Of course kids need to learn to use and live with technology, but come on. It is far better and healthier to give them actual books to read, give them a real game to play. Real life is right in front of you, not on a screen.

nonmember avatar Chanandler Bong

Correlation does not equal causation. There could be other factors involved in toddlers having increased exposure to tv, such as decreased parental involvement, less exercise, even lower nutrition or being hugged less. This is similar to the ice cream/ homicide study that was out a few years ago. No need to panic.

insei... inseineangel

My 7 month old watches TV. She loves the PBS kids shows. I get down on the floor and watch them with her. I sing and dance to pretty much EVERY song in EVERY show. I clap and bounce around and interact with her. She LOVES it. I'm not taking it away because of ANOTHER says I'm dooming my kid to a life of mental disorders and criminal tendencies. It's winter and very cold out, so we are trapped indoors most days. I'm not using that as an excuse, but between feedings, naps, and playtime, yeah, we can watch some Daniel Tiger, or some SuperWhy!, or one of the other fabulous, educational shows on PBS that she loves.

But come sping, you can bet your butts we will be spending as much time in the sun and fresh air, teaching her all about our beautiful world. I want her to grow up thinking a little TV is ok, but the real world will always be better. It's all about moderation. 

I don't care who criticizes me. My child is happy and healthy, and if anyone has a problem with how I raise her, well.... I don't go around criticizing everyone else's parenting styles. They can raise their kids their way, and I shall raise mine how I see fit. 

lovem... lovemyson1224

Correlation does not imply causation. I would think the fact that a parent isnt spending as much time with a child that watches hours and hours of tv a day would be the real problem. I have 3 month old twins and a 2 year old. I let him watch tv. Not all day but sometimes I have to take care of the babies.

dirty... dirtyhippiemama

I'd rather my child watch Walking Dead than Spongebob. At least he'll be learning valuable skills from Walking Dead in regards to survival, versus striving to be the best Crabby Patty flipper.


Sounds like bullshit to me. How many millions have grown up with TV. and didn't become a delinquent? What were Bonnie and Clyde watching?The James brothers or the mobsters of the day. Its easy to choose what one wants to make "evil" but you really need to paint with a broader brush because Twinkies were not TV. and look what they caused(cough).

.LoVe... .LoVeMyBuG.

I don't think watching too much TV is the whole issue, I think it depends on a lot of things like what else is going on in the home while the child is watching TV, or WHAT your child is watching on TV, the list goes on. Two hours a day is not excessive in my opinion, especially when you live in a cold/wet climate and your stuck indoors all day for months on end! I won't let my kids sit in front of the TV all day but they do watch about 2 hours, sometimes 3-4 if watching a movie or two but it isn't 4 hours STRAIT of TV, it's spread out throughout the day and they are watching mostly educational type stuff or Disney movies so I don't see the big deal. 

the4m... the4mutts

Bla bla bla. Just another way for people to blame something other than themselves when their kids start acting like assholes. My kids arent perfect, by any means. But when I see an undesirable behavior, I do my damndest to remedy it. If it seems to be caused by mimicing me, I work on my behavior. If its from peers, I talk to them about being leaders, not followers, and about what home life those other kids likely have.

Be a parent, and stop thinking that timed watching of only "wholesome" shows are going to help you make your kid better.

nurse... nursemama88

Sweet Jesus...Quit blaming everything from childhood on adult behavior, blame the adult. My God I had a horrible childhood, mentally abused by my stepfather, watched tv, played outside everyday without my mother's supervision....the list goes on. I am a responsible adult, married with kids, happy and healthy with a good job and never once been in trouble with the law...yes my mother was a failure *eye roll*

schlis schlis

My 18 month old watches a couple episodes of yo gabba gabba most days. Is that really so awful? We also read books and go on walks and play outside.

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