Northern Star

Preschoolers switched on when it comes to TV

BALLINA four-year-old Christopher Von Reinhaart would rather be playing outside than inside watching TV, but a new study has shown television remains compulsive viewing for Australian preschoolers.

The annual results of the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children revealed two-thirds of children aged three and four watched more than 4.5 hours of TV a week, and half of these watched in excess of nine hours.

“Despite this, 68 per cent of parents were happy with the amount of television their children watched,” Diana Smart, head of research at the Australian Institute of Family Studies, said.

“All of this points to the importance of parental management and monitoring of their children's television watching.”

Christopher's mother, Francesca Von Reinhaart, said she strictly controlled the amount of television her son and his eight-year-old sister watched.

“My older child is not allowed to watch more than one hour of TV each day, and that must be educational,” Ms Reinhaart said.

“Most often she will choose the ABC show Rollercoaster, but Christopher doesn't even have a favourite TV show,” she said.

Ms Reinhaart was shocked to hear of children watching more than nine hours of television a week, saying she felt the limit should be around half-an-hour to one hour a day at most.

“Christopher is happier being in the park, at the beach or climbing trees. He gets to meet other children and learns to socialise,” she said.

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