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TV and Video Games

Elementary School Expert Advice from Barbara Potts

Q: I have a seven-year-old daughter who loves Nintendo and television. I limit her to one hour a day of Nintendo (not during school days) and two hours of TV a day. Is this reasonable to you? I find the television issue to be a continual battle, probably because my husband likes watching even more than my children do. I would appreciate any advice or suggestions you could give me.

A: Two hours of TV per day, with the possible addition of one hour of Nintendo, is a lot. If you could limit your daughter to 30 minutes of TV per day you will both be much better off. Studies on television watching have shown that children whose TV time is limited score higher on standardized tests and tend to be better readers. Children who watch less TV are also less aggressive and are more empathic with others as they have not been desensitized to violence.

It will be difficult to wean your daughter from TV and Nintendo, especially since her dad enjoys watching. With the coming of warm weather, perhaps you could encourage her to play outside more or to take a walk with you or her dad instead of watching TV.

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Barbara Potts has worked as an elementary school counselor for many years. She has a BA in psychology from Wake Forest University, and an M.Ed. in Guidance and Counseling from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.


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