How Much Time in Front of the TV?

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 How much time should children spend watching television? Should we let them watch on school days or only on holidays?

It’s a controversial topic that raises various discussions around the world. Some people consider watching television a contribution to children’s education and personality development. Others are afraid that children will identify blindly with what they see on the screen, which may sometimes be violent or confused.

In Canada, for example, children between the ages of three and four spend one hour every day in front of a small screen, while the duration is up to two hours for five-year-olds.

Children from a number of Arab countries may be the biggest TV watchers, especially children who don’t go to nursery or school but instead stay home in the care of their grandmothers.

Contributing to this number is the fact that the hot climate in these countries does not always allow for the outdoor activities that fill a child’s time in a healthy and educational way. For this reason, child-rearing experts would advise the following:

  • It’s okay for the children to be busy with the television if you are immersed in your housework or preparation of food, provided that it’s for a reasonable period of time.
  • Keep an eye on the program your toddler is following, especially if they know how to change the channel by themself.
  • On holidays, try to prepare a schedule of outdoor activities with your child. Allow them an hour of cartoons in the morning before completely turning off the TV.
  • Adopt the idea of watching a movie together as a family on Friday nights, something which may start post-film conversations.
  • Encourage your children to play in nature with the neighbors’ children so as to help them make friends that they are eager to spend time with rather than being isolated in front of a small screen; this will enhance their communication with others.

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