Oct 19, 2012 No Comments
That television has been linked to all of the following among our children :
- The couch potato syndrome. Children don’t just look like they’re vegetating while they’re watching TV, they really are. They actually enter a trance-like state, with their metabolic rate (the rate at which the body burns calories) dropping as much as 16% below what is it in a normal resting state (when they’re just sitting and doing nothing) and even further below what it is when they are active.
- Inadequate physical, intellectual, social activity. When the television is on, children aren’t generally running around, playing with other children, looking at books or listening to stories, playing dress-up or make believe, drawing or painting, or exercising their minds and bodies in any other way. Excessive viewing prevents young children from developing skills that are vital to long-term happiness. Chronic TV viewers learn to depend on television for stimulation and satisfaction.
- Obesity. TV, studies show, is one reason why obesity among children is up 50% in the last couples of decades. The explanation is simple: too many calories (they tend to snack while viewing and, tempted by advertising, to snack on the wrong kinds of foods). And they burn fewer of them (because they exercise less and have a slower metabolic growth rate during TV watching).
- Higher cholesterol levels. Not only does a heavy diet of TV tend to make young viewers healthier, it also tends to raise their cholesterol levels. Researchers suggests that this is due to a combination of factors, including inactivity and a heart-unhealthy diet inspired by TV commercial and junk food snacked on during TV viewing. It’s even been suggested that parents who fail to limit TV viewing may be the same parents who also fail to limit fat in the healthy diet and to take other steps to control cholesterol.
- An increase in aggressive behaviour. Though some continue to dispute it, mounting evidence supports what many parents have long suspected: watching violence on TV fosters aggressive behaviour in children. At the very least, it dulls sensitivity towards violence, and allows young viewers to take it for granted rather than being worried about it. (Why not, when the character splattered across the screen in one episode always snaps right back in the next?)
- Increased fear. Young children find it difficult or even impossible, to differentiate between what’s real and what’s not. They find fantasy as frightening as reality because they tend to take all that they see and hear literally; what they see on TV is, for them, as real as what happens in their living room or playground. Even if they don’t seem frightened while watching a scary show, they may later experience nightmares related to it.
- Questionable values. A few children’s shows make a very commendable effort to teach positive values, such as tolerance, sharing, kindness and honesty. Many programmes, however, transmit negative values, such as it’s okay to use violence or to lie to get what you want, or the acquisition ‘things’ is what makes you important or popular.
- Less effective coping skills. A toddler is bored, cranky, upset, has a problem? For many parents, the solution is simple: click on the TV. Experts predict that children whose parents use television in this way may grow up unable to deal with the normal ebbs and flows of life; rather than trying to work out problems or figure a way out of boredom, they may gravitate towards easy fixes, even develop self-destructive habits. You don’t have to face reality when Pinocchio is on.
- Lagging intellectual and social development. Not surprisingly, heavy TV viewers tend to score lower on reading tests and, on average, do less well in school than light viewers. There are probably a host of reasons, including less time (and less inclination) to read and study; overblown expectations (the high-tech, special-effects style of TV learning turns children into passive learners who are bored or unable to concentrate when learning in school is not exciting and fast-paced as it is on TV). Excessive television viewing in a toddler years can prevent a child from developing a close relationship with books, a relationship crucial to continuing intellectual growth.
- Less imagination and creativity. Reading provides the paint and the brush but makes your mind do the drawing, visualizing scenes, imagination action, and so on. Television, on the other hand, paints the whole picture and leaves nothing to the imagination. With rare expectations, TV shows don’t challenge children to come up with new ideas and don’t encourage creativity.
- Weak independent play skills. Children who watch a lot of TV often can’t entertain themselves and certainly aren’t motivated to do so. Spoiled by the ample stimulation of TV, heavy viewers don’t want to put effort into free play that requires thought and imagination.
- Weaker family and social ties. Families that watch TV day in and day out may gradually drift apart. With everyone in a TV trance so much of the time, little sharing of ideas, feelings, values.