TELEVISION AND ATTENTION DEFICIT DISORDERS
A new study appearing in the April issue of Pediatrics concludes that children who watch television experience shortened attention spans and considerably enhances the chances, based on number of hours of television watched, of developing ADDs (attention deficit disorders) later on in life. The American Academy of Pediatrics has recommended that children under the age of two not watch television and this new study seems to validate such a recommendation.
The release of this study comes at the same time Sesame Street is celebrating their 35th year on the air. The assistant director for research at Sesame Workshop questioned the results of this study because researchers did not know the content of the programming during the study, instead focusing on the number of hours a child watched the television set. Sesame Street programming is considered instructional and educational.
According to Dr. Dimitri Christakis, a researcher at Children's Hospital and Regional Medical Center in Seattle, fast paced visual images most typically seen on television could alter normal brain development. Additionally, excessive amounts of time watching television Christakis maintains, contributes to obesity and aggressiveness in children.
This apparently comes as nothing new to Dr. Lorraine Day, an internationally acclaimed orthopedic trauma surgeon and best selling author was for 15 years on the faculty of the University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine as Associate Professor and Vice Chairman of the Department of Orthopedics. She was also Chief of Orthopedic Surgery at San Francisco General Hospital and is recognized world-wide as an AIDS expert.
According to Dr. Day, who has for more than a decade advocated the eliminated of television from a child's early years:
"It is reported that children watch an average of 43 hours of TV per week, that's longer than the average adult work week. While watching, they rapidly become almost hypnotized. It has been shown scientifically that within minutes of beginning to watch TV, the brain changes from the alert brain waves (beta waves) to the hypnotic waves (alpha waves) where the judgment center of the brain is bypassed. So the violence and decadence that the child sees, bypasses the judgment center in the brain and is implanted in the child's brain without any ability on the child's part to decide whether what they are seeing is right or wrong. The violence and decadence are accepted by the brain without any moral judgment being applied to it. It then becomes part of the child's permanent subconscious.
Dr. Day's long held opinion on this seems to be shared at least in some part by Christakis who said, "The newborn brain develops very rapidly during the first two to three years of life. It's really being 'wired' during that time."
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