Education and Counseling for Individuals Affected by Oppositional Defiant Disorder and ADHD

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Too Much T.V.!?


Thanks for your time. I have another questions. What can you do when your son is addicted to t.v. Do I take that privilege away, limit it...? He doesn't do homework or chores becasue he is always glued to the T.V. It's becoming a real problem. It's like the more t.v. he watches, the more problems we are having. Can T.V affect a child's behavior?



Hi J.,

American children watch an average of three to fours hours of television daily. Television can be a powerful influence in developing value systems and shaping behavior. Unfortunately, much of today's television programming is violent. Hundreds of studies of the effects of TV violence on children and teenagers have found that children may:

· become "immune" or numb to the horror of violence
· gradually accept violence as a way to solve problems
· identify with certain characters, victims and/or victimizers
· imitate the violence they observe on television; and

Children with emotional, behavioral, learning or impulse control problems may be more easily influenced by TV violence. The impact of TV violence may be immediately evident in the child's behavior or may surface years later. Young people can even be affected when the family atmosphere shows no tendency toward violence.

Extensive viewing of television violence by children causes greater aggressiveness. Sometimes, watching a single violent program can increase aggressiveness. Children who view shows in which violence is very realistic, frequently repeated or unpunished, are more likely to imitate what they see.

While TV violence is not the only cause of aggressive or violent behavior, it is clearly a significant factor. Parents can protect children from excessive TV violence in the following ways:

·disapprove of the violent episodes in front of the children, stressing the belief that such behavior is not the best way to resolve a problem
·pay attention to the programs their children are watching and watch some with them
·point out that although the actor has not actually been hurt or killed, such violence in real life results in pain or death
·refuse to let the children see shows known to be violent, and change the channel or turn off the TV set when offensive material comes on, with an explanation of what is wrong with the program
·set limits on the amount of time they spend with the television; consider removing the TV set from the child=s bedroom
·to offset peer pressure among friends and classmates, contact other parents and agree to enforce similar rules about the length of time and type of program the children may watch

Parents can also use these measures to prevent harmful effects from television in other areas such as racial or sexual stereotyping. The amount of time children watch TV, regardless of content, should be moderated because it decreases time spent on more beneficial activities such as reading, playing with friends, and developing hobbies.

More tips…

Be conscious of what your teen is watching away from home.

1.Casually ask them what they did at a friend's house and use open-ended questions. This will give you some insight into what they may be watching away from home.
2.Encourage your teen not to watch inappropriate shows away from home.
3.Talk to your teen's friends and their parents about your beliefs on TV viewing.

Cut down the amount of time your teen watches TV - Involve your teen in other activities he enjoys.

1.Designate certain evenings for special family activities, like a family bike ride or a game.
2.Encourage your teen take part in sports, games, hobbies, and music.
3.Put books, magazines, and board games in the family room to provide your teen the opportunity to do something other than watch television.

Want your teen to rethink his TV viewing habits? Go without TV for a week.

1.Be creative in finding alternatives to TV like scavenger hunts around the house.
2.Get the whole family involved and find activities you can do together.

Tips to keeping your teen from watching violence on TV:

1.Be aware of what your teen is seeing on the news. Often the news can include graphic violence and other adult material that may not be suitable for children.
2.Do not allow your teen to watch violence on television. To help monitor his viewing habits when you are gone, consider installing parental controls.
3.Share your beliefs and values when it comes to watching TV, and set a good example.

Tips to Encouraging Your Teen to Watch Less TV:

1.Keep the TV off during family mealtimes.
2.Limit your children's daily and weekend TV viewing time. For instance, no TV before school, during homework, or late at night.
3.Limit your teen's ability to watch shows that contain adult content or violence by using parental controls available on most televisions.

Set a good example for your teen's TV viewing habits. Be a role model.

1.Spend your free time reading, exercising, or interacting with your family.
2.Turn off the TV when a particular show is over.
3.Watch adult programs when your teen is not present.


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