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June 2005

Call for PapersThe Effect of Media on Children and Adolescents

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2005;159(6):595. doi:10.1001/archpedi.159.6.595

Television is the elephant in the American living room. Since its invention 70 years ago, it has quickly come to dominate the lives of American children. Today, there are more televisions than toilets in US households. Although over 20% of parents remain concerned about the amount of television their children watch, prior research has found that children under the age of 5 years watch an average of 1 to 3 hours per day.1 More than one third of children under the age of 6 years have televisions in their bedrooms.1,2 The average child spends more time watching television than doing any other single activity except sleeping. But television is but 1 source of what is now being called “media time”; video and computer games, DVDs, the Internet, and instant messaging all contribute to a “wired” child phenomenon.