The Effect of Background Television

It is important to talk about how television effect children but secondary effects of television are also important to take into consideration.  Even though it is not actively watched at the moment, television influences children and adults if it is left open. Let’s say that your child is playing and you are busy with something else at that moment. On the television, there is a show you normally watch on the TV. If no one is actively watching television at that moment, it is better if you can close it.


A team of researchers searched the effects of background television on children’ s playing behavior. Children were at the age of 12, 24, 36 months (1,2,3 years of age). They found that even though they are not watching television with adult content and just looked at the screen a few times, background television still divided their play behavior, shortened their play duration, and these children played less. The researchers were afraid that this can have detrimental effects on the cognitive development of your child. Even though children do not comprehend the adult television totally, the stimulus coming from the television distracts them and affects the quality of their play behavior negatively.


Children’ s playing, the quality and the duration of their play is very important for their healthy development. As quoted from Power (2000) play behavior is related with motor skills, knowing the objects, understanding the causality, problem-solving skills, representation and gaining social skills.  If children attend their play, their cognitive skills will develop. In short, it is better to change the habit of leaving the television on when not watching. Let’s close the television and let children focus on their playing. Don’ t let the secondary effects of television to affect your child’ s development.




Schmidt, M. E., Pempek, T. A., Kirkorian, H. L., Lund, A. F., & Anderson, D. R. (2008). The effects of background television on the toy play behavior of very young children. Child Development, 79(4), 1137-1151.