How Much TV For Kids Is Too Much?

05/10/2009 08:53 | Updated 22 May 2015

Ever heard that old saying "You'll get square eyes if you keep watching that TV"? Well, square eyes might be a little unlikely, but experts agree that too much TV can lead to other health effects on your children.

The obvious one is obesity. Sitting in front of the TV watching back to back episodes of Hannah Montana is not only going to drive you a little crazy, but it's also going to mean your kids aren't getting the vital exercise they need. The NHS advices that kids get at least 60 minutes of exercise a day. Sounds daunting but this could simply be a twenty minute walk to and from school, and then playing outside for a further 20 minutes.

What other health effects can watching too much TV have on your child?

Over in America, experts claim that too much TV can lead to all sorts of mental and physical health issues, including violence, unsafe sexual attitudes, and substance abuse. That all sounds pretty extreme, and I'd assume a lot of those effects come from what a child is watching, rather than how much. Children naturally mimic the actions of those around them, so putting them in front of an adult TV show will inevitably lead to them copying the actions they see.

Too much TV can have a huge effect on academic development, as children end up spending more time watching TV then doing homework. Certain studies also claim that too much TV can lead to the chances of a child developing ADHD to jump to 10%.

The government recently launched the Change 4 Life campaign where they encouraged parents to introduce a 2-hour limit on watching TV. Creating this limit in your home, and using advert breaks to do something active, can lead to a healthier and more active child.

How much TV do your kids watch? Do you think there should be a limit?

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