As far back as 1999, the American Academy of Pediatrics issued straightforward documentation suggesting that television “can negatively affect early brain development”. They recommended that children under the age of two years old should watch no television at all.
A 26-year study that tracked children from birth has found that children who watch more than two hours of television per day between the ages of 5 and 15 suffer serious health risks in adult life (by the age of 26). These include obesity, cardio-vascular illness, raised blood cholesterol and an increased likelihood of smoking, drug and alcohol abuse. The study concludes:
“We believe that reducing television viewing should become a population health priority.”
More than a third of children now live in houses where the television is on all the time. It goes on first thing in the morning (often before children are awake) and goes off last thing at night (after children are asleep). It has become a form of background noise, affecting all experience within the home. There is evidence to suggest that this noise in itself is having an effect on the “inner ear” of children in their early years, which may damage their ability to learn and communicate later in life.
I can find no research or study that has come up with any evidence that such exposure to noise and movement has a positive affect on either the body or the brain.
Sleepless in Seattle, London, Tokyo, Paris….
A group of Oxford University researchers have found that kids who have television sets in their bedrooms are much more likely to sleep less than those who do not. On average they are deprived of a month’s sleep per year. A whole month’s sleep in every year.
It might surprise you to learn that children who do not get enough sleep are more than twice as likely to end up smoking, drinking alcohol and using drugs by the age of 12 to 14.
Not only this, but lack of sleep in children creates risks of poorly developed immune systems, ineffective metabolisms and clinical depression. It is interesting to note that once a habit of lack of sleep has been adopted in childhood, it is likely to continue on into adulthood, with all the resultant risks of increased ill health being increased by the day.
Disrupted sleep patterns can also affect the hormonal balance of both children and adults. During sleep our bodies produce a substance called melatonin that both aids deeper sleep and helps act as an anti-oxidant to clean the body of harmful free-radical compounds. With less melatonin in the system, fewer free-radical compounds are being thrown out of our bodies and that makes us more prone to depression and increases the chances that our cell DNA will produce cancer-causing mutations.
On top of this, disrupted sleep can reduce the production of Cortisol in our bodies. Cortisol helps regulate the immune system and boosts our internal ability to fight off cancer.
Watching television before going to bed - or worse still watching it when we are in bed – in itself actively reduces our chances of a good night’s sleep, with all the results indicated above (and more).
It is also a fact that a nation of television watchers becomes a myopic one. Short sightedness is on the march across the television-viewing world, in some cases increasing from 25% to 80% of young adults over the past thirty years.
Here are some useful statistics:
25 per cent of babies from six months to two years old now have a television set in their own bedroom.
10% of the same age group have remote controls specially designed for them.
Over 50% of three year olds have a television set in their bedroom.
Over 65% of six year olds have a television set in their bedroom.
By the time they are 8-16 years old, 90% of all kids in the USA/UK have a television set in their bedroom and are totally unmonitored in what they watch and for how long.
What is shocking about this is how television affects them, and therefore the rest of us.
It’s time to look at what television actually does to us.
Inside my Special Report: Television, the Silent Killer in your Living Room you will discover all you need to know about the many effects of watching television. Here are just a few:
1) Television makes us fatter.
2) Television decreases our ability to think for ourselves.
3) Television weakens our self-esteem.
4) Television removes our sense of cultural identity.
5) Television depletes our immune system.
6) Television deprives us of sleep.
7) Television affects our sex life.
8) Television creates fear, not peace.
9) Television decreases our respect for senior citizens.
10) Television is directly linked with ADHD.
Recent research at London’s Institute of Psychiatry has concluded that Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is not just a convenient label used by parents and schools for children that are “difficult”. It is a biological condition. And what is more, nearly 10% of our young children are now diagnosed as suffering from it. Almost none suffered from it twenty years ago.
Could it be that exposure to television is the one thing that
all these children have in common?
Here is what Pediatrics had to say about it following a survey of 2,500 children last year:
“Early exposure to television during critical periods of synaptic development would be associated with subsequent attentional problems. Early television exposure is associated with attentional problems at age seven…”
How much television do you watch? How much do your children watch? Should we all be paying much closer attention to the amount of television we are exposed to?
Television, the Silent Killer in your Living Room is a full e-book that will tell you all you need to know. All of the claims are supported by scientific research from major bodies.
This is a book that you must read, whether you have children or not…and I urge you to tell your friends and family about it too.
At £9.99/US19.99 this one purchase could be a lifesaver not just for you, but for all those you care about. To download your copy, please click here.
Copyright Richard Cawte 2008. All rights reserved.