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January 1986

The Impact of Television on Children: Current Pediatric Training Practices

Author Affiliations

From the Committee on Television, Ambulatory Pediatric Association, McLean, Va.

Am J Dis Child. 1986;140(1):78-79. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1986.02140150080043

By 3 years of age, children may spend 25 to 50 hours watching television each week (New York Times, June 3, 1975).1 The preponderance of available evidence indicates that such regular television viewing adversely influences children's attitudes and behaviors on such issues as violence,2-4 gender and age roles,5 ethnicity (Journalism Quarterly, 1972, pp 5-14), and commercialism.6 Children up to 9 years of age have substantial difficulty comprehending television programming, tend to perceive isolated incidents out of a context, and may be particularly vulnerable to adverse television effects (Harvard Educational Review, 1974, pp 213-245).7,8

Counseling parents about their children's television habits would seem to be an appropriate endeavor for primary care pediatricians. There is, however, little information to determine if pediatricians advise parents on this subject and no information about the education pediatricians receive to facilitate their efforts. The purpose of our study was to investigate

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