HEALTH EFFECTS OF TELEVISION (TV) TO CHILDREN


Toddler watching TV
Increasing demand for research has been centered on the electronic childminder – television. The following is a summary of findings by a variety of investigators.

Television provides a rapid succession of moving images and sounds. This is a far greater amount of stimuli that are provided by books, play or sound alone. The TV viewer tends to fall into a non-attending pattern after about twenty minutes. The brain rhythms indicate a switched off attitude, and this is found in most children whether the programmers are exciting or dull. A minority of children show abnormal brain activity while viewing and epileptic-like seizures are not unknown. While hyperactivity (aimless, restless, frequently destructive and abnormal inexhaustible energy) may have more than one cause, there are strong indications that some cases are induced by TV viewing. The child cannot interact with the TV, and his post-viewing time is an attempt to work off pent-up energy and the tensions created by what he has seen. Deeper neurological factors are suggested also.

TV watching limits eye movement.

Inability to read has been linked with underdeveloped eye movements, and TV may be a factor in what some education researchers see as a growing problem of illiteracy or semi-literacy. This is additional to the fact that it is easier to sit in front of the screen than to read a book. I state firmly that no child under the age of 4 ought to be placed in front of the TV screen.  

Immobility while watching TV severely retards the amount of exercise the child takes.

Even the act of turning pages is denied, and children are arriving at school with underdeveloped hand-eye-brain functions. The normal active play has been curtailed.

Microwaves radiations is a possible hazard from defective microwave ovens, television sets, visual display units, and computer screens. There are safety limits set for people operating VDUs, but no legal limits on how many hours a person may watch TV. Viewers should not be allowed closer than two meters from the screen.

READ, ALSO: Enough of Video Games: Unplug that thing and find something else to do!

Children usually read books written for their own level. If some of the information is unsuitable it is more easily filtered out than TV presentations because there are no moving pictures, no dramatization. The child lacks the background to evaluate the TV information. He has few reference points to sort out fact from fiction. He cannot question the presenter. Sometimes parents may be present to discuss the programme with the child. Too often the child is on his own. The TV teacher on an educational programme has no way of knowing how his ‘class’ react, except by audience ratings.

Quick Guide for Children’s TV


⏩Not for the under 4 years.
⏩Limit the viewing time.
⏩Nothing was seen you would not wish your child to remember.
⏩View with your child and discuss afterward.
⏩Resist the ‘All my friends watch it, why can’t I?’ argument.
⏩Provide activities as a substitute for TV.

Regulate your own viewing by the same standards you apply to the children, making allowance for age.
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