Parents these days are rightly concerned about moderating the amount of “screen time” their kids get. If left unsupervised, it’d be very easy for kids to do nothing but sit in front of the TV all day long. Of course, that screen time can be valuable, depending on what sort of content is involved. But it turns out the rise of streaming services like Netflix has introduced one advantage parents might not have considered: it means kids are seeing a lot fewer commercials in their formative years.
It’s no secret that the average American adult has traditionally spent a lot of time exposed to television advertising. Recent statistics show that Americans watch on average 282 minutes of TV per day. When you consider that a typical hour-long TV drama contains close to 20 minutes of commercials, that math starts to add up quickly. Commercial-free streaming from sources like Netflix or Amazon Prime obviously don’t decrease the amount of time we spend staring at a screen, but it does remove commercials from the equation. How much of an impact could that have on your average American child? Try 150 hours per year.
That total comes from Exstreamist.com, who did the math and determined that Netflix could be shielding your youngsters from over six days’ worth of commercials per year. That’s based on estimates that children between two and eighteen years of age spend on average 1.8 hours a day using streaming services like Netflix. That works out to around 650 hours of streaming TV and movies in a given year. Since the average hour of TV, per Nielsen, clocks in with around 14 minutes of advertising, a comparable amount of time watching regular TV would have meant over 150 hours of commercials per year being beamed into little Timmy or Susie’s impressionable noggin.
One the one hand, it’s probably better for kids not to have that relentless glut of consumerism assaulting them constantly. On the other, many of us have fond memories of the crazy commercials and favorite toy spots of yesteryear. Oh well, there’s always YouTube to supplement the kids’ TV education…