Children Should Take Responsibility for Decreasing TV Viewing

February 12th, 2013 posted by Growing Up

Getting children to decrease the amount of time they watch TV is not often easy, but researchers from Texas A&M University and the University of Mississippi say encouraging children to take responsibility for decreasing their TV time can be effective. Patricia Larke, who teaches multicultural education courses in Texas A&M’s College of Education, says when children are asked to actively participate, such as keeping a log of the amount of TV they watch and describing their reactions to alternative TV activities, they become accountable for their behavior. “It is similar to having students spend their own money. Many will not buy the most expensive items if they have to spend their money,” she comments. “Many students are not aware of the amount of time that they have and such an activity provides for them an awareness of time and their ability to control their own time.” Larke, along with researchers Fannye Love and Judith Thompson of the University of Mississippi, also says students should analyze their grades before and after their designated TV withdrawal period to determine if they have any academic improvements. Even though researchers believe having children involved is important, they also believe teacher and parental involvement in this exercise is just as important or perhaps more so. “There are many studies that support a link between teacher and parent involvement that equates to the statement that the more parental involvement with the school/teacher, the more likelihood of increased academic achievement for students,” Larke says. The role of teachers, Larke notes, should be to assist parents in finding productive activities, such as reading, that children can do instead of watching TV. A list of activities can be distributed to parents as weekly notes, or students can become accountable for taking them home. “In many instances teachers may have available more activities to share with parents. These can be provided by the school in the forms of booklets, or teachers can provide parents resources where these materials can be purchased,” she says. Furthermore, Larke points out that teachers should help parents take a non-negotiable approach with their children about reading. It’s such an important component of academic achievement and education, she notes, that parents must take a more active and forceful position in instilling the importance of reading to their children. “Good readers practice reading just like good athletes practice their sports,” she says. “There is a high correlation between reading comprehension and standardized test scores. “Additionally, reading increases creativity as well as student empowerment, and vocabulary and gives the reader a broad range of educational information. No child wants to be labeled as a non-reader,” Larke says. The researchers developed methods for changing TV habits among children based on their study conducted at an elementary school in Mississippi.

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