Television and children’s disease

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Television has great impact on people’s mind, especially on kids. Psychologists say it is very important for a parent to understand the impact TV has on the minor. From health problems to learning disabilities or issues with self control and attention, it is proved that watching TV is not just an act: it brings consequences.

According to the book “The effects of television on the human’s mind” the authors outline the risks children take by watching television. Researchers recommend that a child from 0 to 2 years old should not be let in front of the TV, while a scholar should watch maximum 1 hour per day television. In reality, most of the kids watch too much television. Television is deeply involved in shaping our ethical sensibilities. The book shows that while watching the catchy images on TV, the brain is affected because it changes from an active to a passive way. In time, this leads to health problems as ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) and LD (Learning Disabilities).

During a conference held in the USA in which over 300 experimented  professors participated, it was stated that “Television affects the structural development of a child’s brain. A student who watches TV more than 2 hours daily, will definitely be more anxious, agitated then the other, who has other activities, such as reading or playing outside. “TV kids” also are exposed to reading, writing and speaking issues. ”

Secondly, when someone watches television, their brain changes to a “sleeping” or “hypnotic” condition- the subject enters in a passive behavior (Mander, 1978). This fact recorded a major decline regarding the subject’s interest in solving a problem, attention and perseverance.

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Television has impact on adults too. According to a study conducted by the researcher J. Jacoby, it is proven that people rarely understand what they see on Television: “from 2.700 people tested, 90% misunderstood what they saw on TV minutes before.”

It is discussed in a chapter of this book that “Watching TV decreases the level of intelligence and intellectual performances”. Intelligence and intellectual performances are determined by a good communication between both sides of the brain. Dr. Jerre Levy who studies biopsychology, argues that for having a normal function of a brain, it is important that both parts of the brain to work simultaneous in order to strengthen the connection between them. In addition, a learning child should have the possibility to experiment a medium coordinated with the visual one.

“Most of the specialists say that under no circumstances the activity of watching television should substitute other activities as physical games (running, swimming) manual work (to construct, to stitch)- activities that involve working with both hands).” (Healy, 1990).

Maybe a good example of television effects on kids is presented by the authors of the book, in their first page. They present the story of a boy, Michael: when Michael was 10 years old, his parents broke up. He was taken by his mother- a very busy woman. She hired a nanny for Michael because someone should watch after him. His nanny left Michael in front of the television hours because in this way she was free to deal with the housework and the boy” would learn plenty of things” from television. In months, Michael became more and more agitated and nasty with the others even with his mother. Even though Michael was an intelligent boy, he suffered during the school because he could not keep focused on any topic. He was always nervous, absent-minded extremely bad-tempered and peevish. His mother brought him to various doctors until she found out about Michael’s issue: he was suffering from ADHD (Attention deficit with or without Hyperactivity Disorder). The boy received a drug for keeping him focused on subjects. Both his mom and the doctors tried to reduce the boy’s hours spent on television but when reaching the issue, Michael became extremely aggressive. After years, he barely finished school; he had almost no friends and no girlfriend. In 2002 he reached 30 years old. He had no job at that time. Michael tried to work at various places but because of his “lack attention” he could not listen or stay focused regardless any job.

The problem is that Michael could be anybody. Specialists recommend that a baby younger than 2 years old shouldn’t be left in front of a television. After this age, throughout the school, their time spent in front of a TV, computer or video should be reduced to maximum 2 hours per day. Other authors argue that at least the age of 5 or 6, when the first essential period in the development of the child’s brain is completed, every kid should be kept away from TV.

Television lowers your self-esteem

Studies show that watching television lowers your self –esteem. Nicole Martins, an assistant professor of telecommunications in the IU College of Arts and Sciences claims that children who watch too much TV waste their childhood as long as they are not given the chance to explore other things they may be good at, to use their imagination by playing different games which involves using both the body and the brain.

“If you are a girl or a woman, what you see is that women on television are not given a variety of roles,” Nicole Martins added. “The roles that they see are pretty simplistic; they’re almost always one-dimensional and focused on the success they have because of how they look, not what they do or what they think or how they got there. “

She also believes that “This sexualization of women presumably leads to this negative impact on girls.”

Next time when you open your TV, think twice: it is not just entertainment.

Andra Florescu

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