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Studies indicate excessive television may increase aggression, anxiety and withdrawal from society in children
by IhartU
February 26, 2013 at 2:58 PM

How Many Hours Does the Average Child Watch TV?

by Kristie Sweet, Demand Media

  • Children may spend an average of seven hours daily using entertainment media like televisions.

Children may spend an average of seven hours daily using entertainment media like televisions.

Jupiterimages/Creatas/Getty Images

In 1966, television producer Joan Cooney heard someone at a party bemoan the effect television was having on his daughter, who would sit for hours watching the test patterns. That conversation eventually prompted Cooney to develop the children's program "Sesame Street." Years later, parents still worry about the dangers of letting their children watch TV. How much do modern children watch?


According to Nielsen statistics for 2011, teenagers ages 12 to 17 spend about 100 hours watching television each month. Children between the ages of two and 11 watch even more TV, an average of 109 hours and six minutes each month. Although these numbers may seem high, they do indicate a reduction from the previous year when teens clocked 105 monthly hours and younger children viewed 112 hours and 46 minutes of television each month.

Other Media

When DVD, DVR, video and game console viewing is added to the mix, the numbers clearly rise. A University of Michigan study found children ages six to 11 used televisions for about 28 hours each week for such activities. But preschoolers spend even more time engaged in videos and gaming - 32 hours each week. These numbers indicate elementary-aged children use videos and games for about seven hours each month, while those under six spend about 16 hours during the month on these actions.


According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children over the age of two should watch television for only one or two hours per day, about half the current average. Higher amounts of television use can lead to problems concentrating, obesity, eating disorders and sleeping difficulties. Some studies also indicate excessive television may increase aggression, anxiety and withdrawal from society. Children might even mimic behaviors that demonstrate gender and racial bias, or risky activities such as smoking and drinking and promiscuity.


The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends parents avoid television entirely for children under the age of two in order to avoid negative impact on the fast-paced brain development during this stage. Parents can cut down the amount of TV for older children by engaging them in other activities such as reading, sports and outdoor play, and by removing televisions from children's bedrooms. Setting aside rooms in the house as television-free zones - or certain times as TV-free periods - can reduce TV's negative effects.


About the Author

Kristie Sweet has been writing professionally since 1982, most recently publishing for various websites on topics like health and wellness, and education. She holds a Master of Arts in English from the University of Northern Colorado.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/Creatas/Getty Images


  • delilahsmom1177
    February 26, 2013 at 3:02 PM

    See I can see that but at the same time my brother LOOOOVED TV always and he has a bunch of friends and is very easy going. HOWEVER my DD only watches TV on the weekends. NO TV DURING THE WEEK UNLESS SHE IS SICK.

  • Donna6503
    February 26, 2013 at 3:03 PM
    I am so glad I got rid of television from our house, when my girls were young ... (We did/do have a small TV in my office ... That was/is used for news)

    I have said in the past ... The unhappier a person seems to be, you'll find a person that watches too much TV.
  • FromAtoZ
    February 26, 2013 at 3:06 PM

    Just seems like common sense to me that too much television can lead to a host of issues for any given individual.  

  • stormcris
    February 26, 2013 at 3:13 PM

    Well yea since you need exercise for endorphins and to keep feeling good.

  • mehamil1
    February 26, 2013 at 3:17 PM

    I wish I could toss out the tvs in my house. However, they don't belong to me. Otherwise I'd destroy them. 

  • FromAtoZ
    February 26, 2013 at 3:20 PM

    Quoting stormcris:

    Well yea since you need exercise for endorphins and to keep feeling good.


    Since I have been living out of a damn hotel room for two weeks plus, I have indeed noticed I feel far worse than normal.......far worse.  Now I make an extra effort to get myself up and moving, doing any thing from walking around the block to walking up and down the stairs.  It's easy to find yourself sitting in front of a television, or on your lap top, and not moving. 

    That is, when I am not falling over light boxes and huring my back to the point I can't even go to work.  ALWAYS take a peek where you are going when you are walking backwards.  lol  That is my PSA for the day.

  • furbabymum
    February 26, 2013 at 3:33 PM

     Well duh. ADHD didn't just pop up. How is a kid supposed to go to school and concentrate when he's been plopped in front of a television with constant stimulation at home. Autism can even be related back to television.

    Of course proponents of TV will talk non-stop about how educational and good for their kids it is. Uh huh. I am disgusted at the amount of people buying their kids tablets. Get them a book, it's better for them.

  • AdrianneHill
    February 26, 2013 at 4:50 PM
    I can't imagine a world without TV or radio. I would be suicidal in days with the constant silence. We don't have cable or anything so the TV is very limited really but I have to have noise around me or I get kinda wacky. Not in a good way.
    I can be snowed in and left alone with no phone or car for over a week as long as I have a cat and a radio but wouldn't last a day in a totally silent house.
  • TranquilMind
    February 26, 2013 at 5:05 PM

    We all knew this.

  • UpSheRises
    February 26, 2013 at 7:50 PM

    There are many negative side effects for rotten brains.

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