Monday, November 15, 2010


Dear Mr. Morton- My son Timmy, age 3, watches too much TV and wants all the stuff peddled in the ads. Is this bad?-
Dear Mom- Yes. The experts tell us Timmy will be watching TV 45 minutes per day. In the early primary grades, his TV time will jump to 3 hours per day, and by 7th grade, he'll spend 4 hours a day in front of the tube.

Between the time he starts first grade to when he graduates from high school, he'll spend 16,000 hours viewing TV programs conjured up by only 400 Hollywood writers and producers. The flamboyant lifestyles this small Hollywood clan enjoys depend on money advertisers pay them, and they will fabricate shows for Timmy that are full of hype, designed to lure him away from other things he could be doing. Before high school graduation, Timmy will be an onlooker to 200,000 acts of violence, including 40,000 murders.

TV advertisers view Timmy as a "Super Consumer." They know that he has no money, but that you do. Before he's 11 years old, he’ll view 20,000 TV commercials, many pressuring him to buy, or ask mom and dad, to buy a product. Advertisers know how to appeal to Timmy, since they hire child psychologists to tell them how children think. After age 11, the average American child sees about 40,000 television commercials every year. Companies target younger viewers all the time, selling everything from sugar cereals to minivans, and cross-promotional marketing influences everything from the food stocked in school vending machines to the characters who appear in children’s books.

In fact, young children are requesting specific brands as soon as they can talk. American corporations spend over $15 billion yearly on marketing to children in an effort to cultivate nagging, insatiable, “cradle-to-grave” consumers. The experts tell us that your Timmy will be a regular TV viewer before he enters Kindergarten in several years and that he will spend many more hours in school (7,400 hours before entering 7th grade) learning reading word attack, reading comprehension, math computation, math reasoning, and written expression skills. These skills won't be easy to learn and will take an active effort by Timmy to master. But, TV is a passive activity, a pastime that clashes with the alert action required to master the "3 R's."

So, my answer is “yes“ due to the long-term impact TV has on today’s toddlers and their future learning.

ClickN KIDS Teaching KIDS to READ One Click at a Time
Robert Morton, M.Ed., Ed.S. has retired from his positions of School Psychologist and adjunct professor in the School of Leadership & Policy Studies at Bowling Green State Univeristy. A portion of Ad sale revenue from this site is donated to Big Brothers/Big Sisters of America. Questions? Comment? Concerns about family, parenting, educational or personal concerns? Contact him on the secure Bpath Mail Form.