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Sunday, February 28, 2010

TV watching and young children

TV has become an essential part of our homes and this media is the most popular form of entertainment. Young children also become addict of tv watching as they grow. But are we neglecting the bad effects of tv watching by not monitoring the schedule of our kids sitting in front of tv?

Not only that there are many harmful effects of tv watching, it is proved by research that tv watching may cause or trigger the cause of autism among young children.

A study at Cornell University performed in 2006 showed that a statistically significant relationship exists between autism rates and television habits of children under three. Other evidence showed that the more time toddlers spent watching television the more likely they were to develop autism-related symptoms. The correlation seemed to coincide with the increased prevalence of cable television and VCR availability in homes during the late 1970s and early 1980s.
It was concluded that nearly 40 percent of autism diagnoses in the three states studied is the result of television watching." Thus the study has two separate findings: that having cable television in the home increased autism rates in California and Pennsylvania somewhat, and that more hours of actually watching television increased autism in California, Oregon, and Washington by a lot.
This is not to say that the researchers found a direct correlation between television and autism, only that there is a relationship. The researchers do not claim television to be a "cause" of autism, only that television may "trigger" symptoms. There is also no indication as to how television may be a factor so there is a lot of objection to the validity of the findings. One such retort is the possibility that indoor air quality may be a bigger factor in triggering autistic symptoms than television.
Unfortunately the researches made a pretty hefty leap of faith in their testing. Their conclusions are based on data collected in areas with high rates of precipitation. They assumed that on rainy days children spent more time inside and thus watched television during that time. This led to evidence that these areas had greater instances of autism which could lead some to argue that rain has just as much causality as television when it comes to autism.
In 2003, a survey by the U.S. Department of Education found that autism rates were higher in northern, less sunny states while southern, sunnier states had lower autism cases. This led them to wonder if the issue was more with vitamin D deficiency rather than indoor air quality, rainy weather, or television.
Despite these conclusions and the lack of any follow up studies, looking at how television affects us on a biological level as a whole is well worth investigating. Psychologist Dr. Aric Sigman analyzed 35 different scientific studies and found that television is harmful in many different ways, including the following:
• Television has been linked to eyesight damage.
• Television disrupts sleep patterns.
• Television disrupts your attention span.
• Television plays a large role in obesity and type 2 diabetes.
• Television may play a role in the development of Alzheimer's.
• Television suppresses the production of melatonin which can lead to cancerous cell mutations. Lower melatonin levels may also be a factor in why girls are reaching puberty at a much earlier age than in the 1950s.
• Brain scans show that within 30 seconds of starting to watch television, a critical part of your thinking brain shuts down.
On top of all this, a study by the American Heart Association found that watching television is as bad for your heart as smoking or high cholesterol. The numbers are staggering. For ever hour spent watching television, your risk of death increases by nearly 11 percent. Four hours in front of the television increases your risk of heart attack by 80 percent.

Related links:
* 'Does Watching TV Cause Autism?'

* 'TV Really Might Cause Autism'

* 'Cornell University research report'

* 'Children and the Media: Control the Effects of Television Watching with Literacy Programs'

* How addiction of Watching TV is affecting our lives?
* TV watching may cause psychological distress among children
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