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Gloria DeGaetano

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Taming the TV Monster for Children Ages 3-7
by Gloria DeGaetano   
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Last edited: Thursday, July 22, 2010
Posted: Thursday, July 22, 2010

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Often summer time finds older kids and teens involved in lots of activities without too much time to be bored. Young children, however, may not have as many options.

Often summer time finds older kids and teens involved in lots of activities without too much time to be bored. Young children, however, may not have as many options. Television or video games may become a handy back-up. And while a little of screen entertainment for young children is fine, too much of it can result in increased reliance on screen technologies to feel satisfaction, taking the pleasure out of daily play experiences. The unintended negative consequence becomes children watch more and play less. The American Academy of Pediatrics cautions parents to keep TV viewing for children under the age of eight to one hour or less a day.

The books below deal with the theme of overuse of TV and show youngsters the importance of being in charge of their media habits.

Since research points out that children learn life-long TV and video habits during the pre-school years, it is never too early to talk about the importance of being "media literate." These perfect media literacy books should be readily available at your local library. Enjoy!

  • Aunt Chip and the Great Triple Creek Dam Affair, P. Polacco, Philomet, 1996.
    With the help of her nephew, Aunt Chip saves a town in which everyone has forgotten how to read because of their complete devotion to TV.
  • The Berenstain Bears and Too Much TV, Stan and Jan Berenstain, Random House, 1984.
    Concerned that the family is spending too much time in front of the TV, Mama Bear decides that there will be no TV for a week.
  • Box-Head Boy, Christine Winn and David Walsh, Fairview Press, 1996.
    TV-crazed Denny watches so much TV his head suddenly goes inside "the box." While fun at first, Denny soon discovers the limitations of too much TV.
  • Fix-It, David McPhail, Dutton, 1984.
    When Emma's TV breaks, she becomes interested in reading books.
  • Mouse TV, Matt Novak, Scholastic, 1994.
    The mouse family squabbles about what to watch on television. When the TV breaks, they learn they can do other things.
  • When the TV Broke, Harriet Ziefert, Puffin Books, 1989.
    A boy who watches TV indiscriminately learns the fun of self-directed play when the family TV goes to the repair shop for a week.
  • William's Television Show, Richmal Crompton, Macmillian Children's Books, 2001
    With the help of his friends, William decides to produce a TV show in his barn.
  • The Wretched Stone, Chris Van Allsburg, Houghton Mifflin, 1991.
    Something is gravely wrong with the crew of the Rita Anne. They have stopped talking and now they are walking the deck at night stooped over. Can the glowing bluish stone they sit mesmerized in front of have anything to do with it?

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