Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Myth: As a parent, the amount of time I spend watching TV doesn’t affect how much TV my children watch.

Family watching TV
Answer: New information may BUST this myth. 

A recently released survey found that the amount of time parents spend watching TV has a strong impact on the amount of time their children watch TV. The study, reported in the journal Pediatrics, found that this influence was seen in all age groups of children, and that it was a stronger influence than having a TV in the bedroom. The online survey, designed to be nationally representative, included parents and kids ages 12 to 17 years of age. Another interesting finding linked children ages 6 to 11 and parents who watched TV together to increased TV time for the children.

Parents can be good media role models. During family meals, turn the TV off and talk about everyone’s day. Keep the TV off when no one is watching it.

Youth spend too much time being inactive, which is time better spent being active. Parents can find screen-free alternatives for the family like gardening, dancing, playing balloon or scarf volleyball indoors. Being active can make bones stronger, improve stress levels and decrease risk of some chronic diseases.

Looking for more ideas? Go to “Play More, Watch Less” at http://extension.missouri.edu/p/F280

Contributor: Ellen Schuster, M.S., R.D., Associate State Specialist, University of Missouri Extension, schusterer@missouri.edu, 573-882-1933 

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