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Posted on Mon, Nov 23, 2009 : 11:30 a.m.

Study: 70 percent of children at home day cares watch TV daily

By Jen Eyer

Children in home-based day cares across Michigan may be spending as much as two hours per day watching television instead of playing, according to a study published today.

From an AP story:

When added to the two to three hours many parents already admit to allowing at home, preschoolers in child care may be spending more than a third of the about 12 hours they are awake each day in front of the electronic baby sitter, said Dr. Dimitri Christakis, a pediatrician at Children's Hospital and Regional Medical Center in Seattle and a researcher at the University of Washington.

That's double the TV time he found in a previous study based on parental reports of home viewing, according to findings published Monday in the journal Pediatrics. The study is the first to look at TV watching in child care in more than 20 years.

The figures come from a telephone survey of 168 licensed child care programs in Michigan, Washington, Florida and Massachusetts. Christakis said he thought television use was probably underreported.

Of the child care programs surveyed, 70 percent of home-based child cares and 36 percent of centers said children watch TV daily. The children were watching TV, DVDs and videos. The study did not track what kind of programs were shown.

The State of Michigan's licensing rules for family and group child care homes states that children may watch up to two hours per day.

Television, video tapes, movies, electronic devices, and computers shall be limited to not more than 2 hours per day and to programs designed for children’s education and/or enjoyment. Other activities shall be available to children during television/movie viewing.

The American Academy of Pediatrics, however, says children under age two shouldn't watch any TV at all, and that children over 2 shouldn't watch more than 1-2 hours of TV per day.

Under age two, talking, singing, reading, listening to music or playing are far more important to a child's development than any TV show.

What do you think? Take the poll below, or leave a comment.

Jen Eyer is on the Community Team at She can be reached at 734-623-2577 or, or you can visit her at 301 East Liberty.



Mon, Nov 23, 2009 : 1:31 p.m.

Kids should be able to watch TV 24hours a day. Would I want my children doing that - heck no, but I don't see the direct harm to the general populous for allowing TV watching. I see direct harm (or opportunity cost) to the child in question, but unless it's harming others or putting others at risk (directly) then don't punish those who may use TV for value added education. This is not the same as smoking bans or limiting the amount of alcohol someone can consume; those impact others directly (second hand or uncontrollable behavior). Too much TV watching has no direct link to crime.

Jordan Miller

Mon, Nov 23, 2009 : 1 p.m.

The poll isn't quite enough, because there's a lot of nuance to this. My son was at an in-home daycare, and the children were occasionally allowed to watch a video (as in, maybe once a month or so) when the weather was bad. This didn't bother me. But if "not every day" means a few times a week, I wouldn't be okay with that.