30% of 2-year-olds watch two hours of TV a day, ministry says


Some 30 percent of mothers in Japan have their 2-year-old children spend at least two hours a day watching television or DVDs, according to a nationwide survey by the Environment Ministry.

Among them are mothers who allow their 2-year-olds to watch TV or DVDs four hours or more every day. They accounted for 5 percent of all respondents.

“Watching TV for a long time can reduce the time needed for children to grow, sleep and interact with other people,” said University of Yamanashi professor Zentaro Yamagata, who analyzed the survey results.

The ministry conducted the nationwide survey in November and collected valid responses from 26,521 mothers of 2-year-old children.

Two percent said their children never watch TV or DVDs.

Younger mothers tend to let their children spend more time in front of the set, with 34 percent of those aged 20 to 24 setting the daily viewing time at two hours or more.

Mothers who spend more than two hours of their own time on a computer, phone or video game console when they are with their children accounted for 5 percent overall and 11 percent of those aged 20 to 24.

The Japan Pediatric Association recommends parents refrain from letting kids less than 3 years old watch TV. For older children, the association advises keeping the combined time spent on TV, phone and video games at no more than two hours a day.