• ADHD books published by NorthEast Books & Publishing, by Association for Youth, Children and Natural Psychology
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  Overcoming ADHD Without Medication: A Parent and Educator's Guidebook, by the AYCNP

How to help children overcome symptoms of ADHD without drugs or supplements. Positive, educational and well-referenced.

Remotely Controlled: How Television is Damaging Our Lives,
by Aric Sigman, PhD

The effects of television on adults and children. How living without television, or by greatly limiting it, amounts to no great sacrifice on the part of children and contributes to a better family life, as well as better overall mental health.

"Mommy, I'm Scared": How TV and Movies Frighten Children and What We Can Do to Protect Them ,
by Joanne Cantor Ph.D.

The greater percentage of young children from Kindergarten through grade school years, watch movies and television of extreme violence. This book documents this situation and helps person recognize the problem and what can be done about it.

365 TV-Free Activities You Can Do With Your Child: Plus 50 All-New Bonus Activities Steven J. Bennett, Ruth Bennett

Great find from a first-grade Newark classroom. Good ideas for parents.

Living Without the Screen: Causes and Consequences of Life without Television (Lea's Communication),
by Marina Krcmar

A sociologist explores the issue of individuals and families who do not watch television, with, in general, surprisingly painless and positive consequences.

Photo credits - TV, child image: Aaron Escobar

Family in Park - Image: photostock / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Page updated: November 25, 2015

Children and Television, Responsible Parenting,
Child Psychology

Consistent, Frequent TV Viewing Can Cause Behavioral Problems in Children

Television in bedroom of children can contribute to:

  • Sleep and Attention Problems
  • Less emotional reactivity
  • Excessive television contributes to:

  • Aggressive Behavior
  • Fewer Social Skills

  • 41% of children have television in their bedroom at age 5 1/2


    Excessive time with television can affect a child's mental health, contributing to depression, symptoms of ADHD, photosensitive epilepsy, and other neurological and mental health problems. Type of content, in addition to amount of time spent, is also a factor.
    Both content and time spent on television can affect
    children's mental health.

    Effects of Children Watching Too Much Television
    ---Behavioral, sleep and attention difficulties

    Consistent, heavy television viewing (more than two hours a day) throughout early childhood can contribute to behavioral, sleep and attention difficulties.

    Clinical Study of Children and Television at 2 1/2 and 5 1/2 Years of Age
    In the study, "Children's Television Exposure and Behavioral and Social Outcomes at 5 1/2 Years: Does Timing of Exposure Matter?" researchers assessed data from the "Healthy Steps for Young Children" national evaluation effort pertaining to the effects of early, concurrent and sustained television exposure at age 2 1/2 years, and again at age 5 1/2 years.

    The effects of having a television in the child's bedroom were measured at age 5 1/2. Sixteen percent of parents reported that their child watched television more than two hours a day at age 2 1/2 years only (early exposure), 15 percent reported that their children watched more than two hours of television daily at 5 1/2 years only (concurrent exposure), and 20 percent reported more than two hours of television viewing daily at both times (sustained exposure). Forty-one percent of children had a television in their bedroom at age 5 1/2.

    Sleep, Attention, Behavioral Problems from Television for Young Children
    Sustained television viewing was associated with sleep, attention and aggressive behavior problems, and externalizing of problem behaviors. Concurrent television exposure was associated with fewer social skills. Having a television in the bedroom was associated with sleep problems and less emotional reactivity at age 5 1/2. Early exposure to television for more than two hours a day, which decreased over time, did not cause behavior or social problems.

    American Academy of Pediatricians Recommends No Television Under Two Years Old
    The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends no television viewing for children under age 2, and no more than two hours of daily media exposure for ages 2 and older.

    Positive Effects of Cutting Back on Television and Video Games for Nine-Year-Old

    Excessive television does impact a child's later and present probability to develop symptoms of ADHD. Cutting back on TV or doing without during the week is one step some parents have implemented successfully.

    One nine-year-old boy who was manifesting symptoms of ADHD and struggling with math, one year behind his grade level, and who was probably going to be put on medication, was able to make the honor roll within nine months through parental efforts. They allowed television and video games only on the weekends but not during the school week. His ADHD symptoms disappeared, his abilities at math began to improve, and his C's and D's turned into A's and B's, to his father's delight (Oliver Street School, Newark, NJ, 2008-9).

    Children Watching TV
    Children benefit from outdoor activities, playing in the park, finding enjoyment in reading, engaging in creative activities such as artwork, and "open-ended playthings," rather than pre-packaged programming such as is typical of television.

    Publications, Articles and Organizations Supportive of Less TV for Children

    Pediatrics Publications:

  • Television habits and sleep disturbance in children; other effects, television in bedroom
  • Pediatrics - Other References, Children and Television
  • Other Organizations Supporting Less TV Time for Children:

  • Adults and Children Act Against Violence Org - information on media violence and children
  • TV turnoff org

  • Conclusion of Child Psychology, Positive Parenting, Children and Television

    Parents should follow the American Academy of Pediatricians' suggestion of no television for children under two years old and very limited and selective television programs for children over two years old.

    Children who have behavioral or attention problems do better without television or with very limited television. Children who are struggling academically might benefit from watching no television during the school week or school months (this would include video games and movies). Some children get better grades with less television and less (or no) video games.

    Children should not be allowed to watch violent television programs, including cartoons with violence. Parents should also monitor video game use to make sure their children are not playing violent games.

    Parents should be diligent in providing other recreational opportunities and interests to children, such as coloring books, art, and outdoor activities.

    Additionally, parents should educate their children as to the value of doing without violence in the media, and why they prefer their children not make violent media a major part of their entertainment.

    Pages Related to Children and Television

    Violent Video Game Effects

    Television, Video Games and Media Violence

    Children and Movies Effects

    Parenting advice and tips, 24 Steps in Positive Parenting

    Ideas to Develop Children's Interest in Art

    Children and Breakfast - Why Children Need a Good Breakfast