Let’s face it – kids are in front of the TV more now than ever in history (3+ hours per day on average). We would be incredibly naive to think it’s not affecting them. The problem is, most parents have no idea of the severity of the long-term affects of this screen time.
Did you know children who watch more than 2 hours of television when young (under 7) are way more likely to have ADHD, ADD, and/or significant attention issues when older?
Another scary thought- once the damage is done, it is irrevocable because it happens within the developing brain – you can’t take it back and start again.
3 Reasons TV is Destructive to your Young Child’s Brain:
1. Television puts the brain in a trance-like state.
Did you know when our children watch TV, they don’t just look like they’re hypnotized, they actually ARE? That’s what television does to them, it’s scientifically proven. Look for the glazed eyes, blank stare, little movement. This state shuts down the brain and allows the child to slip into a form of mindlessness.
2. Television is extremely fast-paced and over-whelming.
Rapid scene changes, crazy colors, shouting characters spewing out instructions like, “STAND-UP! STAND-UP!” is overwhelming for tiny brains. This abnormally fast movement makes it hard for kids to transition and appreciate the slower things in life – like taking a walk, board games, reading, and school work. They cannot focus because their brain has been programmed to be in over-drive mode.
3. Television takes the place of time with real people, doing real things.
One of the most fundamental keys to developing empathy, connection, social skills, vocabulary, and IQ is an abundance of healthy interaction with trusted and loving adults. When toddlers and young children are in front of the screen, there is a loss of precious time. This time should be filled with conversation, eye contact, and the teaching/learning tango that happens between children and the people around them.
Also, so much time in front of the tube means less time spent on more brain-stimulating activities like playing with toys, building things, painting, drawing, reading, exploring, and being active. The ‘play’ of childhood is imperative to brain growth, the development of the ability to focus, think, and question.
Let’s agree to take an honest look at our children’s exposure to media. Although it isn’t always the easy thing to do – drastically limiting screen time (or tossing the TV altogether) is one of the best steps we can take to ensuring our kids develop sharp minds and healthy bodies.
Cassandra is a home educating mom to 3 children. She’s passionate about Jesus, unplugging, and figuring out exactly what it means to live a surrendered life. She blogs at www.theunpluggedfamily.com.