Much of the programming and commercial message content of television programs being watched by children and youth is potentially, and often demonstrably, a mental and physical health hazard to the young. This is particularly true for those viewers who are at high risk because of ongoing conditions, such as developmental disabilities, mental retardation, psychoses, and impulse disorders.

In recognition of this situation, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Child Psychiatry have both issued Position Statements on the effects of television viewing on children and youth. Both groups have recommended to their membership the inclusion, during their work with children and their families, of questions concerning the television viewing habits of the child and his on her family. Pediatricians and child psychiatrists have also been urged to make attempts to assess the impact of television viewing on children and youth and, where appropriate, make specific recommendations concerning viewing habits.

Pediatricians and child psychiatrists have been asked to familiarize themselves with current programs provided both by the commercial networks and the public broadcasting system which are deemed to have positive influences on the psychosocial growth and development of their child and adolescent viewers, so that this information can be passed on to children and their families.

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