The average American watches an astonishing 4.3 hours of TV a day, according to a new report from Nielsen. Add in DVR time, and that number gets up to 5 hours a day.
— You are still watching a staggering amount of TV every day, Recode (June 27, 2106).
If you haven’t heard, television–or, more precisely, the absence of television–has become a status symbol of some middle class families. As a parent to a two-year old, I understand the desire to ignore the large-screen elephant in the room. Study after study finds that watching television is a detriment to little minds. The act of watching a screen, be it television or tablet, provides instant gratification to young children, who, in turn, become addicted to screen time. Of course, other issues flow from too much television time: sedentary lifestyle, lack of fresh air and vitamin D, obesity, etc.
On occasion, [S] watches a brief portion of the morning news and/or major sporting events. But, by far, she is a television-free kid. Some days, I want to sit her down in front of the boob tube and have the ever-elusive “me” time. But that would be cutting off my nose to spite my face. Indeed, [S] is an easy kid, ready to leave the house at a moment’s notice, be it to go to the bank or find a new playground. But the recent Nielsen study has less to do with our daughter than us.
Russell and I watch a maximum of an hour of television a day. Days go by with us never turning on the television. Why? Because there is nothing worth watching. Okay, that is a bit of an exaggeration. But not much. Yes, PBS NewsHour is worthy of my time. And so was The Good Wife. But four or five hours of television a day? I’d prefer to spend my free time exploring or, even, reading, writing and working out.
Regardless of what programs are being watched, I am now better able to understand the genesis of both the obesity epidemic and the dumbing down of Americans