The negative effects of television on children, according to science

Psychologists and educators have been warning parents for decades about the harmful effects of television on children at home. This is why many researchers they have invested their time in verifying what is true in this hypothesis.

Is it true that television harms the development of children? And if so, how does television affect their development?

More television, bigger problems at school

Television used appropriately and with certain limitations can be positive, but it should be remembered that it is an agent of socialization and therefore transmits values. Therefore, you have to control what children watch.

It is common for many parents, to have a moment to breathe, to hear their children in front of the small screen. Care should be taken to do this, as a study in which it was published in Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine Archives, And in which the Université Sainte Justine du Québec and the University of Michigan participated, proved that children who spent more hours watching television at the age of 2, 3 and 4 had more problems in school and they had adopted more harmful habits by the age of 10.

According to this study, excess television exposure during childhood led to a 7% drop in school engagement, a 6% drop in math skills, a 10% increase in peer victimization class, a 13% decrease in time spent on physical activity on weekends, a 9% increase in soft drink consumption, and a 10% increase in time spent on soft drinks.% of consumption unhealthy “snacks”.

Childhood is an essential stage in the development of the brain

The authors of the study emphasize that childhood is an essential stage in the development of the brain. During this period, the brain and its neural circuits undergo an intense process of selective stabilization of synapses. The best way to make these connections is to play. In other words, children develop their intellect experience the physical world.

TV exposure can make us more anxious and violent

Television has had a huge impact on our culture. This is why Michel Desmurget, doctor in neurosciences and research director at INSERM (National Institute for Health and Medical Research) conducted research to find out the impact of “TV” on our lives.

His study concluded that TV exposure seems to make us more competitive, anxious and aggressive. On the other hand, this research has also indicated that too much television during childhood is linked to the appearance of attention disorders in the early stages of growth and, as mentioned, can also lead to anxiety. and delinquency during adolescence.

The relationship between health problems and television use

But there is more, because children between the ages of 2 and 10 who spend more than two hours a day in front of the television they are 30% more likely to have high blood pressure. It seems that the cause lies in the relationship between a sedentary lifestyle and frequent use of television.

On the other hand, television seems to have a strong influence on the culture of the image. A study in the Republic of Fiji concluded that up to 69% of teens have started to control their weight after continued media exposure. We can therefore see that television also modulates the beliefs of minors.

The recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)

From what we can see, several scientific studies have shown the negative effects of using television: aggressive behavior, anxiety, school performance, negative perception of one’s own image, etc. Despite this, good use of television can be positive. Therefore, so that the small screen does not become a negative aspect of children’s development, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) offers several tips for parents:

  • Remove televisions from children’s rooms.
  • Only allow television and other audiovisual media to be used for a maximum of one to two hours per day. The content must be of high quality and therefore what children and adolescents see must be controlled. Choose programs with informative and educational content.
  • Children under the age of two should not watch television. Instead, parents should encourage them to do activities that stimulate brain development: talking, playing, reading, etc.
  • If it’s possible. watching television with children and taking advantage of the programs to initiate debates on family values, violence, sex, drugs, etc.
  • Use videos and DVDs to record educational programs.
  • Support school media education programs.
  • Encourage children to develop other activities such as reading, playing sports or playing hobbies.

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