The dispute on the amount of media that is appropriate for children is discussed often within my family. I decided to research this topic because this subject generally gives me much anxiety when thinking about my children’s development and discussing their screen time with my husband and family. I honestly want the absolute best for my twins, however, the only way to clean, eat, work or study is to occasionally sit them in front of Finding Dory. I often feel incredibly guilty that I use the television as a “baby sitter.” I never exceed a full movie length, while some days they do not even watch television; I did not start this until they were about five months of age. Furthermore, they are always watching Dory in their bouncers and typically bouncing the entire time and\or grabbing toys and playing.
           It is obvious that directing your time watching television does inhibit time spent socializing, reading, exercising and often promotes inattentive eating. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (2016a), with valued programming, media can be educational. Considering this, it is still vital that children primarily learn through actual play, interactions with others and advocate one hour or less for children two to five years of age. They explain that, “Problems begin when media use displaces physical activity, hands-on exploration and face-to-face social interaction in the real world, which is critical to learning. Too much screen time can also harm the amount and quality of sleep.” Nevertheless, any media under the age of 18 months is not recommended.
         Even healthy activities can lead to an immense amount of screen time. Video games and movies lurk within masses of the fitness facilities as well. Gyms that have kid’s clubs are heavily equipped with video entertainment to keep a child busy, while workout machines, gym walls and ceilings also panel televisions and touch screen workout games. Technology has immersed itself into the fitness community from cardio cinemas, personal televisions on cardio equipment, machines counting reps, apps to assist\replace personal trainers to virtual reality in some cases. There are still more technological ideas pouring into the fitness industry, only leaving us that more dependent on technology.  Working in the fitness industry for a few years has made me realize how much technology is incorporated.
           Though the actual answers on the true effects are limited, a literal growing concern is how a child’s BMI increases per hour of media, as suggested from the American Academy of Pediatrics (2016b). It may not just be the content that the child watches, but also the advertisements and products that also can promote an unhealthy lifestyle. Along with Step to Health (n.d.), your food intake actually increases when eating during media use, leaving the body to not recognize signs of fulfillment. They state that, “People that watch more television tend to have worse diets, as well as having a sedentary lifestyle and not exercising.” Lack of physical activity, that too much media can influence, also can contribute to behavioral and attention span difficulties.
         When taking in violent, non-educational media, behavior can suffer. If this viewing trend is changed to more positive, informative material, performance can improve. Additionally, the American Academy of Pediatrics (2016a), continuously refers to the televised show, Sesame Street, as a prime example of quality media. Hank Pellissier (as cited in Great Schools, 2016) described that some educational TV programs were actually connected to higher scholastic achievement in preschoolers and less behavioral issues.
         Since I do not substitute television for reading, play time, dancing to music or various other activities, I feel more confident in allowing some media into their lives. Also, it was peculiar how much screen time allowed differed between each source. It appeared that there was plenty of back and forth arguments about how some media can be positive but also negative. What bothers me, is that none of them truly listed a definite line dividing the good or bad.  The American Academy of Pediatrics is purely established to research, help and protect adolescence as well as assist with government issues regarding youth. This, to me, automatically makes it the most trusting source.
References
American Academy of Pediatrics. (2016a). American Academy of Pediatrics Announces New Recommendations for Children’s Media Use. Retrieved from https://www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/aap-press-room/pages/american-academy-of-pediatrics-announces-new-recommendations-for-childrens-media-use.aspx
American Academy of Pediatrics. (2016b). Media and Young Minds. Retrieved from http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2016/10/19/peds.2016-2591
Pellissier, H. (2016). Your Child’s Brain on Technology: Television. Retrieved from http://www.greatschools.org/gk/articles/child-brain-development-and-television/
Step to Health. (n.d.). The Danger of Eating in Front of the TV. Retrieved from            https://steptohealth.com/danger-eating-front-tv/