Channel Their Energy; Box Clever? from a Young Age, Television Can Be Children's Biggest Distraction from Homework. Inset: Ellen Currey-Wilson and Son Casey

Daily Mail (London), August 28, 2007 | Go to article overview

Channel Their Energy; Box Clever? from a Young Age, Television Can Be Children's Biggest Distraction from Homework. Inset: Ellen Currey-Wilson and Son Casey


Byline: Sarah Harris

AS THE new school term approaches, every parent knows that the biggestenemy of homework is the box of tricks in the corner of the room.

The cries of, 'Just five minutes more!' can be heard in houses across thecountry when mothers and fathers reach for the off button on the television'sremote control.

Giving in to the screams of protest is often easier because it allows a fewprecious extra minutes to yourself.

The electronic babysitter is a way to get supper cooked without worrying thatyour children are destroying the house and pulverising each other.

Recent research shows that around eight out of ten youngsters have a TV intheir bedroom, with 20 per cent boasting internet access, too. They are'bingeing' on TV and computer games, with many children aged under six spendinga staggering six hours a day in front of a screen.

This excessive amount of television watching is thought to contribute to arange of problems including childhood obesity, poor academic performance andaggressive behaviour.

Experts believe the television is responsible for a number of youngstersturning up at primary school able only to speak in grunts.

So, how can parents help their children to kick the habit and switch off thetelevision? One mother who has managed to do that is Ellen Currey-Wilson, whobanned the box from her home. Her book, The Big Turnoff, chronicles how shemanaged to kick her own habit and keep the television out of her 11-year-oldson Casey's everyday life. She runs television-free parenting workshops in theU.S..

Ellen, from Oregon, advises families to take it one step at a timeand start by removing TVs from children's bedrooms.

'Kids with TVs in their bedrooms watch a lot more than those who don't havetheir own televisions,' she told the Daily Mail. 'If the television is in themain living space, it can be put in a cabinet, so family members have to makemore of a conscious choice whenever they want to watch it.

'Turning the television off at dinner time is another great step to take.

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Channel Their Energy; Box Clever? from a Young Age, Television Can Be Children's Biggest Distraction from Homework. Inset: Ellen Currey-Wilson and Son Casey
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