SALT LAKE CITY — Do you feel bad about spending so much time binging on Netflix? How about letting the streaming service babysit your kids? At least take solace in the fact you’re saving time not watching commercials.
A new study from the University of Michigan found that the average 2- to 5-year-old child spent over 1,600 hours a year watching TV, according to Local Babysitter. The average hour of television features 15 minutes and 30 seconds of commercials, which means children from Netflix-only homes save 400 hours a year not watching commercials.
Additionally, children in the 6-11 age bracket were found to watch 150 fewer hours of TV, resulting in 360 hours a year saved.
Here are some other findings from the study:1 comment on this story
- 71 percent of 8- to 18-year-olds have a TV in their bedroom. Of that group, only about 37 percent have access to satellite or cable television.
- Two-thirds of households also have a TV on during dinner, while 51 percent are watching something “most” of the time.
- TV watching at a young age can discourage reading, which helps promote healthy brain development. Watching TV can also affect academic performance for viewers up to 26 years old.
- Children who watch TV for more than two hours a day are also at greater risk of obesity.
- Habits and behaviors seen on TV are also likely to be imitated by kids, including alcoholism, smoking and mimicking dangerous stunts. However, many of these habits are more heavily promoted by advertisements and commercials.
Judging from the study’s findings, Netflix could be a double-edged sword. Spending too much time in front of the TV presents its own health risks, but the loss of commercials means kids are exposed to a little bit less harmful information. Ultimately, it’s up to parents to decide what is best for their family.