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Are TV and Video Games That Bad?

girl with video game controllerAre you glued to the TV for hours every day? Do you rush home from school to play your favorite video game?

A lot of kids are hooked on TV and video games. Most kids get more than seven hours of screen time gaming or watching TV every day!

Too much TV and too many video games can be bad for your health. Here are five important reasons why TV and video game time isn't that good for you, and why you may want to start watching and playing less.

1. Too Much Screen Time Can Make You Gain Weight

When you watch TV or play video games, you sit still. You don't get exercise like when you ride your bike or play sports. Kids who don't get enough exercise gain weight.

Watching commercials for soda, candy, and fast food on TV can make you want to eat foods that aren't good for you. These unhealthy foods also make you gain weight.

Is screen time taking over your life?

See if the sentences below are true for you.

You stay up late to watch your favorite TV shows.

You can't pull yourself away from your video games at bedtime.

You eat and do your homework in front of the TV.

What you can do about it:

  • Don't watch TV or play video games for more than two hours a day. If you play video games or watch TV for more than two hours, try playing or watching 15 minutes less tomorrow and then 15 minutes less each day after that.
  • If you play video games, pick games that make you get up and move -- like boxing, tennis, bowling, or baseball.
  • Try not to eat while you watch TV. But if you are going to do both at the same time, snack out of a bowl. Limit yourself to a small portion -- like a bowl of popcorn or pretzels -- rather than eating right out of a big bag.

2. Zoning Out in Front of the TV Can Make Kids Sad

Too much TV can make you sad. The more TV you watch, the more depressed you feel. TV takes away from time you can spend being active with your friends and family. It can make you feel lonely.

Is TV making you sad?

See if the sentences below are true for you.

You can't sleep after watching too much TV.

You can't stop worrying about a show you watched.

You cry sometimes during or after TV shows.

What you can do about it:

  • Cut down on the number of TV shows you watch each day. Watch one less today than you did yesterday.
  • Watch shows that make you feel happy and good about yourself.
  • Watch shows on public broadcasting channels. They usually offer quality programming and don't have commercials.
  • Talk to your parents about the shows you watch and how they make you feel.
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