Just how much of a typical young child's life at home is played out against the insistent drone of a television somewhere in the background? For children 8 months to 8 years, the answer is just short of four hours, says a new study issued by the International Communication Assn., a professional group for scholars studying media and human communication.
That, despite findings that when the television is on, parents tend to talk to and make eye contact with their children less, children are more distracted from activities such as free play and children who have TVs constantly on tend to watch more -- with the consequent rise in obesity and drop in academic success.
And that's on top of the average 32 hours per week that a Nielsen study found children ages 2 to 5 log actually watching TV. (Kids 6 to 11 watched on average 28.)
The first nationally representative effort of its kind found that the average American child 8 months to 8 years old is exposed to 232.2 minutes of "background TV" daily. African American kids' daily exposure to background TV was 45% higher than the national average -- the highest of all ethnic groups polled