Parents – would you let your child do something destructive for 4 hours every day? You could be already. It’s exposing them to “secondhand TV." That’s background noise from a TV that’s on constantly.

University of North Carolina researchers asked hundreds of families about their daily TV habits. 

The result? The average child is exposed to nearly 4 hours of background TV every day. And kids under 2 are exposed to the most: A shocking 5 hours a day! And just like secondhand smoke – kids are absorbing all that TV time. 

Researchers say that even though children aren’t directly watching the TV, it’s still extremely damaging. Dr. Deborah Carr is a sociology professor at Rutgers, and she says the noise and flashing lights distract kids - and prevents them from being 100% focused on whatever they’re doing. Whether it’s playing, doing homework, and even connecting with their parents.

And other studies have found links between secondhand TV and short attention spans, bad grades – and less social interaction.

It may sound dramatic – but here’s an example of how it hurts: Take a toddler.

They’re still mentally developing and learning how to play. But the background TV attracts their attention away from what they’re doing. It’s draining their already-short attention span – and their limited ability to focus. 

And the effects are even worse for school-age kids. The more a TV is on, the more it draws the eye and the attention away from other things – and the less verbal communication goes on. 

The good news is there’s an easy cure for secondhand TV - turn off the TV when you’re not watching it!