Does T.V. Impact Childrens' Ability to Learn?

Boy we watch a lot of TV in my home.

I wish we didn't, but we do. I use it as a babysitter in the mornings or at night when I need to finish something. Like getting dressed. Or making dinner.

I've even brought my tablet on long road trips. What can I say. Sometimes I want - no sometimes I NEED 30 uninterrupted minutes.  A tablet + a cartoon + earphones = peace & quiet.

We  play board games. We hike, bike, and run. We read 30 minutes or more a day. We eat dinner together as a family almost every night. Still, the TV is our main entertainment and news source. Its on every day.  

child and tv

When I was a kid it was different. There were only so many programs geared toward kids. So, by default we spent more time outside. As well as more time reading, playing, and generally using our imaginations than the children of today.

Nowadays, there are multiple children's programs and kids networks running 24/7/365. Kids also have option of carrying gaming devices in their pockets or backpacks. 

I have noticed my child has started asking me for specific brand name products. I finally figured out that he saw a TV commercial. He's a bit of an advertiser's dream at this tender age. He sees an ad. Has a visceral reaction to sights, sounds, and words. Ultimately asking his parents for the product (we rarely bite though). After watching an ad a few times, he's able to quote it verbatim. He's not the only one. My nephew recently asked if a certain cleaning product had "...the power of kabam."

So, lately I've been wondering if all this cumulative TV viewing is having a negative impact. Well, tonight I get answers. If you are a parent or caregiver in Tacoma or Pierce County, you can too. 

Join KBTC public television and Charles Wright Academy for a special, one-hour workshop: Exploring Kids TV. The free workshop is open to all and will be held at Charles Wright Academy, Feb. 28, 6 p.m. The school’s campus is located at 7723 Chambers Creek Road West. Tacoma, Wash.

Susan Barbeau, KBTC’s Community Engagement Associate will lead an interactive workshop for parents and caregivers covering a range of topics including:

What do pediatricians and researchers say about television’s influence on child development?

How much television is too much?

What really constitutes “educational TV?”

The free, 60-minute workshop provides real life tools and tips that will help make each child’s media and life experiences safe and educational. 

“We developed this workshop to help parents and caregivers discover how television is impacting children’s development and learn about the resources available to make any time - learning time,” said Barbeau, “We’re excited to partner with the Charles Wright Academy which is renowned for its academics.”

Every parent wants to give his or her kid a head start. Can television be a force for good? Can kids' really learn from television? I guess we know they are learning something. The question is what are they learning? Is it beneficial or harmful?

There are lots of DVD series, TV shows, and even networks dedicated toward stimulating learning for children. I do recall a major class action settlement against one such series a few years back.

I imagine the types of TV programming we watch have the biggest impact. Well, I'm looking forward to hearing from the experts. So, what do you think? Is TV good or bad for kids?

Share your thoughts below in the comments section.