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Character Building Problems and Facts: Help My Child Loves TV!

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Does Your Child Love TV?

If you're concerned about building character in your children, does television help? Physician, expert parenting author, and medical researcher, Dr. Parnell Donahue has answers. Listen as he shares an excerpt from his book, Messengers in Denim. He'll tell you the truth about Television.


The Truth about TV

A lot of today's parents were raised with television--cable television to boot. They think, "Well, look at me. I turned out all right. All this worry about TV viewing is just a bunch of hysteria from experts who don't have anything else to get worked up about."

Like other parents, they want what is best for their kids; they believe kids, even infants, can learn by watching TV. But research has documented that even "educational" shows and videos, while they may teach catchy rhymes or even the ABC's, have an overall negative effect on learning.

Let's Look at the Facts

In reviewing medical literature the past few months, I made a list of some of the possible harmful effects associated with watching too much television:

. Delayed vocabulary acquisition in children ages 8 through 16 months

. Shortened attention span

. Increased risk of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

. Sleep problems--trouble going to sleep, increased waking during the night and increased tiredness during the day, difficulty waking in the morning

. Increased consumption of caffeine

. Increased consumption of snack foods

. Increased fat in diet

. Decreased physical activity

. Obesity

. Increased risk of smoking

. Increased risk of using pot or other drugs

. Increased use of alcohol

. Younger age of initiating sexual activity

. Increased aggressive behavior

. Increased delinquency

Before we go any further, let me point out that it is often very difficult to assign causality just because two things occurred together. However, the above evidence is enough to make parents and doctors concerned that TV viewing contributes to many, if not all, of the above. And, what harm can come from not watching TV? (From pages 182 - 183.)


Did you like Dr. Parnell's rational approach to the truth about television? First, he took time to read medical literature, and then he summarized with bullets what he found. He also mentioned the difference between two things occurring together and causality. Finally he asks, "What harm can come from not watching TV?


American Academy of Pediatrics Recommends 

To find out the nine positive recommendations regarding children and television go to pages 184-185 in

Messengers in Denim: The Amazing Things Parents Can Learn from Teens

Cover Messengers in Denim
Available at


Let's give Dr. Parnell Donahue our GRATITUDE for helping us with character building and television. His work may help many parents make wiser decisions about what their children watch.

Blog Optimistic Dr. Parnell Donahue
Doctor Donahue

Hopefully, we'll be more careful regarding the power of TV to influence the young minds of our children. And one more thing, do you think that bad actions are glorified on TV or that your young watcher is often persuaded to be on the side of the offender?


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With warm wishes,

Jean Tracy, MSS

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