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Desperately seeking good shows

Here’s what we know about TV: Our kids should be watching less of it. And whatever we don’t know about TV we should be learning from Dr. Dimitri Christakis, director of the Center for Child Health Behavior and Development at the Seattle Children’s Research Institute, and expert on how media affects children. He’s the one who told us that early TV watching could lead to later attention problems. We turned off our sets.

But lots of us didn’t. That’s why he’s switched gears to find ways we can use TV’s powers for good. Last night he spoke to a group of supporters for Look, Listen and Learn, a brand new TV program for local kids, ages 3-6. Locally produced, its mission is to inspire early learning and increase school readiness.

Christakis, trying to overcome his I-Hate-Television image, insists, “I’m not anti-TV. I’m just anti-bad TV.” We need to make that tube work for us, he says.

For starters, pay attention to what shows your kids are watching. Just one hour of viewing the fighting, the yelling, the hitting – even in cartoons - can effect them. Read his study on the way watching violent programs between ages 2 and 5 is linked to aggression in young boys. Get his quick take on the topic in our July feature story, "Confessions of a Slacker Parent!" Then take your kids outside to play.

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