Deciding whether or not to let your kid watch television is a big decision because you may not be sure of the effects that television can have on your kid. There is a lot to know before you make your final decision of whether or not to let your kid watch television.
Kids should be able to watch adult TV, but it depends on the specific content. For instance, kids can be allowed to watch crafting or cooking shows, but it is inappropriate for kids to watch horror or crime shows due to mature content. Regardless, kids should always be supervised to ensure safety.
In this article, I’ll be exploring the pros and cons of letting your child watch adult television, and will also look at how these decisions can affect your child. As a teacher and parent of four, I believe my experience and expertise can help others. However, keep in mind that the effects of watching adult television are different for each child and each age group.
Table of Contents
Pros and Cons of Kids Watching Adult Television
A lot of people have differing opinions on whether or not kids should be allowed to watch adult television. So, we are going to go through some of the pros and cons of letting kids watch adult television.
|Kids might learn something new about a variety of things.||Your child might go outside less often.|
|It might spark creativity.||Your child could become obese from lack of movement.|
|Kids could learn a new language.||Increased behavioral problems.|
|Can be a healthy stress relief.||Unhealthy eating habits.|
|Educates children of different cultures.||Can promote negative behavior.|
|Keeps children entertained.||Your child might have a harder time reading.|
|It could help children develop independent thinking.||Steals time that could be used doing something fun or instructive.|
How Does Television Affect Kids Overall?
If kids start watching television too early, it can have some long-lasting negative effects on their development. Here are just some of the ways television could affect your child:
- Social skills: As a child watches television, they are losing valuable time to communicate and interact with their parents or other children, making it harder for them to develop any social or verbal skills. Your child might also become anti-social due to a lack of communication.
- Imagination: Your child might lack imagination and creativity due to watching too much television. It is done for them and requires less self initiated thought.
- Memory: When a child watches television, they don’t need to concentrate very hard on what they are watching, which in turn makes their brain lazy leading to difficulty memorizing and retaining information.
- Sleep: If your child has watched something exciting or disturbing, it could make it hard for your child to fall asleep at night.
- Mood: If your child witnesses violent acts on television, they might become aggressive and view the world as a scary place. Children might also have nightmares about something they see on television, making it difficult for them to stay asleep at night.
- Eyes: Watching television for a long amount of time can put a temporary strain on your eyes, which can lead to headaches and eye fatigue.
- Health: Watching too much television and not exercising at a young age can be linked to lower brain function and obesity later in life.
How Does Television Affect Kid’s Brain Development?
The frontal lobe is the main part of the brain that is impacted by watching television. There are a lot of damaging effects on the frontal lobe when watching too much television at a young age, but there is a way to repair or stop the damage. Here are some ways the frontal lobe can be damaged and how to repair the damage:
- Letting very young children watch television impairs their frontal lobe development, which is responsible for impulse control and concentration.
- Damaging the frontal lobe of a child’s brain can make it difficult for them to learn or concentrate in school.
- With a damaged or underdeveloped frontal lobe, children may be unable to control their behavior.
- The more television your child watches, the lower their cognitive abilities become.
- Reading books can help strengthen and repair the frontal lobe due to the brain creating images while reading. For reading to effectively repair the frontal lobe, one would need to read for between 30 and 60 minutes per day.
- Meditation is also beneficial for improving frontal lobe health. Keep in mind, in most every case this is a religious activity. Even those purporting it to be non-religious will admit to spiritual aspects in more advanced practice. Be sure you are in agreement with the religious affiliation of the type of meditation pursued (i.e. Catholic, Buddhist, etc.)
- Watching less or no television is a great way to stop frontal lobe damage.
Setting the Rules for Kids to Watch Adult TV
There is no clear-cut answer for when it is most appropriate for your child to start watching adult television, but here are some recommended guidelines:
- It is best not to let children under the age of 12 months watch any sort of television. Allowing a child younger than 12 months to watch adult television is not ideal due to the many dangers listed above.
- The earliest your child should be allowed to watch adult television is between the ages of seven and ten. Around this age, your child is better able to tell the difference between reality and fantasy. As well, you should be able to have conversations with them about content and they are better able to formulate their questions for discussion.
- It should be all right to let your teenage kid watch adult television with limitations. You will want to provide guidance for situations they will be viewing, and again, be ready to have discussions about real life context.
- One source we love to use in our household is IMDB. It is a TV and movie resource that provides summary, reviews, and “parental guidance” suggestions (letting you know about mature content in the movie so there are no unwanted surprises). They even describe many of the instances depicted so parents can make their own decisions.
Things Kids Shouldn’t Watch Until They Are Older Teens
There a lot of things kids shouldn’t watch until they are older because kids are like sponges and like to repeat or recreate things they see on television. Being exposed to mature themes and ‘too adult’ content before they are ready is extremely detrimental for children.
- Foul language
- Too much news
- Glorifying alcohol or drug use
- And adult themes such as depression and suicide
How Many Hours Per Day Can A Kid Watch Television?
Kids between the ages of two and five should watch no more than one to two hours of television per day. If your child exceeds this amount, it could result in cognitive and behavioral issues.
- For young children, even educational television shows can harm their brains. So, no matter what kind of show your child is watching, it is best for them not to exceed two hours per day.
- For older children, in their tweens and early teens, it is best if they do not watch television for any more than four hours per day. Otherwise, they might start to view the world as they have watched it on television.
Should Kids Watch Television Unattended?
Kids should never watch television unattended because of the dangers of turning on something they are not supposed to be watching. You should watch television with your child and ask engaging questions, or answer any of your child’s questions to keep them from zoning out on the television.
- There are no educational benefits for children that watch television who are under the age of two, so you definitely shouldn’t let them watch television unattended. Children don’t learn from watching television. They learn from interacting with their parents and other kids their age.
- If you are watching Netflix or Hulu, there is still risk of your child seeing something they are not supposed to but there are safeguards you can take that will help restrict content. Both Hulu and Netflix offer multiple profiles so that you can ensure your child is watching ‘child’ movies and limited to the adult movies you approve.
- Watching television with your family at the end of a long day is a great way for everyone to connect and unwind. When choosing a movie or television show to watch, it is a good idea to choose one that is suitable for all members of the family.
Now you have to decide are you willing to let your child watch television for over the recommended screen time per day or do you think it would be worth limiting your child’s screen time? Is adult TV permissible for your child or teen?
I hope the recommendations I’ve laid out for you help you make an informed decision for your family, keeping in mind that you know your child best.