The Effects of Background TV

April 5, 2018

In many households it’s common for the TV to remain on even when no one is watching. Turns out, there’s more harm associated with this practice other than wasting energy! A study has found that in the United States children listen to around 4 hours of background TV a day, and this exposure has been linked to issues with learning and reading.

Background noise and visuals are problems for children because their brains are not able to multitask. When they are in the vicinity of a powered on TV their mental tasks are interrupted. Additionally, when children are around TVs at dinner time their ability to listen to their body’s cues is diminished. This means that they could end up eating way more or way less than their body needs in order to function.

One way to prevent the problems associated with background TV is to keep TVs out of your kid’s room! It is especially important that TVs don’t remain on when your child is sleeping. For children and adults alike, the blue light emitted by electronic devices can interfere with with the body’s production of the hormone melatonin, which lets your body know that it is time to sleep.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children over the age of two watch no more than 2 hours of age appropriate TV each day. And as for children under two, the AAP discourages any TV viewing.

Language development for children under two can be interfered by background TV noise. Instead, to boost your child’s language development, try picking up a book and reading with your little ones! Reading with children from the time they are babies helps to build connections in their brains.


Content adapted from WebMD and Vice.