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Murphy: Understand the Negative Effects of Television on Kids

Weekly letter to the editor from Island Trees Superintendent Charles Murphy.

Submitted by Charles Murphy, Island Trees Superintendent of Schools.

Dear Island Trees School Community,   

 Last month I read an interesting article where doctors at the Royal College of Pediatrics and Child Health in England have recommended that small children (3 and under) should be barred from watching television.  In fact, the writer calls for the English government to set real television limitations for children. 

After all, there are many other laws that protect the health and welfare of children - why not a law regulating children’s television viewing?  The article published in the prestigious British Medical Journal found that toddlers are developmentally harmed by watching television.  At this early stage of development, the brain’s growth is explosive and television impedes the crucial development associated with more interactive activities.  

The doctors feel children under three should spend more time interacting with parents – with eye to eye contact – rather than a television screen. By in large, most people would not need empirical medical research to understand the negative effects of television watching on child development. 

Naturally, play is the most essential activity for overall child development. Parents who are able to create this type of environment for their children will be able to enrich their lives considerably.

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