TV retards your child's development "A 'good' brain for learning develops strong and widespread neural highways that

can quickly and efficiently assign different aspects of a task to the most effi cient system¡­ Such efficiency is developed only by active practice in thinking and learning which, in turn, builds increasingly stronger connections. A growing sus picion among brain researchers is that excessive television viewing may affect t he development of these kinds of connections." ¡ª Jane M. Healy, Ph.D, author of Endangered Minds: Why Children Don't Think And Wha t We Can Do About It. WANT your child to grow up into budding geniuses in maths, language or music? Or maybe you just want him or her to do well in school, or to become an intelligen t, thinking adult. If so, keep them away from television. Watching TV can make a child less intelligent because TV is an IQ killer, a brai n freezer, creativity strangler, thought inhibitor, time stealer, sleep disrupte r, playtime plunderer ¡ª and more. Numerous studies have found that the actual act of watching TV is even more dang erous and potentially damaging to the brain of the developing child than what's on TV. How does TV harm the brain and affect a child's learning skills, and what can pa rents do about it? Read on ¡ª and be warned. TV's effects on the developing brain According to a University of Chicago study, reported in the Journal of Comparati ve Neurology, the first 3 years of a child's life are important for brain develo pment as this is the time when various parts of the brain are "wired". In fact, the time lost from birth through age 5 cannot be made up for in later y ears. Certain aspects of brain development only occur during certain ages, and a child who misses out on the appropriate stimuli during this period may be disad vantaged from then on. Optimal learning of different skills that will benefit children for life should take place during this time when the brain is being wired, scientists say. An infant, for example, can recognise music it heard during foetal development. Newborns can do simple math long before they can speak, and foreign languages ar e more easily learned in pre-school or primary school than in secondary school. How the brain is "wired" "Wiring of the brain" refers to the explosive burst of the connections between t he various synapses of the brain cells after birth. Synapses are the telephone lines that enable brain cells to communicate. Trillio ns are formed during the first 2 years of life. It is believed that they are ove rproduced to guarantee that enough are available to form neural networks for vis ion, speech, thinking, emotions and other mental capacities. Some parts of the brain (eg: the visual cortex) are wired rapidly in the first y ear of life and need little coaxing other than exposure to people, objects and m ovement to develop. The auditory cortex, which processes sound, explodes with new connections after

The study found that the background noise from televisions stop children from le . That is why limited play experience can cause developmental abnormalities which may not be reversible. Damaged & delayed speech ACCORDING to a 10-year study of babies and toddlers by Dr Sally Ward. television was a "very important factor" in delaying the speech development in the 1 in 5 child ren found to have problems. This may be the best time to teach s uch things as calculus. smell or taste are disc arded. who pioneered brain research in this area 30 years ago. But we need to realise what childre n are able to learn at different ages and not cram them with information they ar e not ready to handle ¡ª especially not by exposing them to TV. This was clearly demonstrated in a study done by Marian Cleeves Diamond. Play ¡ª for brain development Appropriate mental stimulation during this time plays an important role in helpi ng the developing brain reach its potential. Unconstrained. TV has been reported to bring about the death of spontaneous. The great explosion of synapses after birth enables the brain to learn how to ma ke itself work from the experiences it encounters. undergoes an initial growth spurt after birth. a leading authority in the US on the speech development of young children. Nearly half of the connections eventually are pruned away when they are not incorporated into neural networks. Many experts now believe this is the best time for learning music and foreign languages. but it does not appear to be fully developed until early adolescence. imaginative play. She found that the rats in the "enriched" environment had heavier and larger bra ins when autopsied and showed the increase nerve branching that allows the cells to communicate better with each other. effervescent energy of childhood. which is involved in processing higher thoughts and motiv ation. and compared them with those of rats that were without these stimuli. is an environment where a child's langu age skills and creativity are challenged by playing with toys. a profe ssor of neuroanatomy at the University of California at Berkeley. The prefrontal cortex. touch. Synapses that are not activated by sounds.birth and maintains this high level of activity until about age 12. reading or talkin g. which is necessary for the development of neural pathways in early childhood tha t are required for healthy brain development. sight. An "enriched" environment. says Diamond. active play is also important to a child as it provides a release for the natural. Some of the most important types of stimulation include talking to an infant fro m birth and reading to the child. Diamond studied the brain size of caged rats that were given toys to play with. The brain also develops through play ¡ª something that TV watching deprives children of. and is said to help children fine-tune their emotions.

Tests ranging from teachers' assessments to games of "just suppose" were carried out. they neither recognised their names nor basic words like "juice" an d "bricks". "They are likely to be educational failures in all sorts of ways. it seems "just never stop s talking". At 8 months. In contrast. One researcher refers to these events as jolts per minute. A highly active child will remain inactive while watching TV because that is wha t the medium requires. All the evidence showed. A child who spends time watching TV loses the time needed for conversation. Holland." Less creative TELEVISION leaves little scope for the imagination." Although children may hear new words on a TV show. A child rarely develops proficiency with speech simply by watching TV or by getting older. And a child who doesn't learn cannot ex cel academically. The studies they reviewed looked for differences in the creative imagination of children from homes with television compared with those from homes without. They will go t o school with depressed language levels and the whole educational progress is he ld back. TV does not. and speaking to a child directly. Not allowed to think A CRUCIAL element of thinking is extrapolating from what you know and figuring o ut how it applies in a new situation. noting that as time is cut up. At 3. Of the 17 studies analysed. they had the language of 2-year-olds. and be less able to spe ak and write in complete sentences than the child who. School requires this. said Dr Ward. Children generally s tart to talk by speaking single words. not one produced evidence that television boosted creativity. they aren't spending time talking. either by changing the camera angle or cutting to an entirely new scene. 10 of the studies showed that television was linked with a signific . covering many hundreds of children aged from 3-16. who have reviewed all the research carried out over 40 years ¡ª with disturbing res ults. the brain is co nditioned to change at the expense of continuity of thought. then progress to short sentences. Needless to say. then to groups of sentences. this is not the same as speak ing.arning to talk as early as they should. Kate Moody explains why TV is a thought terminator in the book Growing Up On Tel evision: "The picture on the TV changes every 5 or 6 seconds. Reading to a child. a child is also not allowed to think when watching TV. aid the development of spe aking skills. that children whose language was below st andard at the age of 3 could be set back for life. and may well find difficulty becoming articulate and fluent. So says Dr Patti Valkenburg and Dr Tom van de Voort of the Centre of Child Media Studies at Leiden. If they are watching TV. Both mind and body are passive. A child who doesn't think doesn't learn.

and more aggressive in their pla y than children who watched the slower-paced shows. most of them children. Research conducted at the US National Institute of Mental Health concludes that extensive exposure to television may promote development of brain systems that s can and shift attention at the expense of those that focus attention. so does the shift of the child's attention. A child's internal control of the attention span diminishes as he or she becomes a mere spectator when watching TV. After analysing decades of international research. restlessness sets in as the children's inner clocks anticipate a commercial break. Lack of sleep could affect your child's alertness and concentration in school an d can interfere with the completion of homework assignments. TV watching can also cau se disturbed sleep which further impairs concentration. the likely outcome is an uncontrolled brain. These could in turn . another for 5 seconds. say. Since the images change rapidly. 4 hours a day th roughout early childhood. found that teachers reported it was significantly more difficult for lea rning-disabled children who watched television to listen and pay attention for e xtended periods than it was for their peers who did not watch television. he says. a professor of commun ications at the University of Alabama. Unable to concentrate RESEARCH done by Jane Holmes Bernstein. another for 7 seconds. which determines that a child will watch one image for 3 seconds. attain and sustain concentration over a period of time is an internal process developed in early childhood. Disturbed sleep Besides bestowing children with a short attention span. . a neurologist at Children's Hospital in Boston.000 people a year. The ability to mentally focus. The determined length of a TV programme before a commercial interruption can als o condition a child to a "commercial break" attention span. have trouble sleeping or wake up more. less vigilant in their tasks. his or her academic achievement. and so on. the two psychologists have fa iled to find a single study backing the idea that television stimulates children . has found that children who watch a lot of television are more like ly to resist going to bed. The Wall Street Jour nal (10 February 1994) relates the experience of professional story teller Odds Bodkin who performs before some 10. affect your child's grades and ultimately. When this happens for. A study done at a paediatric sleep disorders clinic at Hasbro Children's Hospita l in the US. Bryant exposed pre-schoolers to 4 weeks of Sesame Street. A well-developed attention span can develop if we give our children mentally cha llenging activities on a regular basis. MTV: Music Television and network shows in concentrated doses and found the children who watched MTV m ore distractible. Such decreased attention span is due to the pacing of the TV programme or movie. Aft er about 7 minutes. This was demonstrated in an experiment by Jennings Bryant.ant reduction in creative imagination.

quick movement in the pe ripheral (ie side) visual field. hyperactivity and impulsive behavio ur. they are not engaging in important learning opportunities such as playing. or combinations of these 3 behaviours. reading.Attention Deficit Disorder THE frenetic pace of television. When children spend h ours watching TV. the fast-paced. and television leaves no room for th at creative process¡­ Brains are designed to meet cognitive challenges. and do well in school. he has to self-create whole scenarios. Across the US. warnings have been sounded that television viewing turns ch ildren into passive. what the feeling of this environment is. According to a 1994 report from the US Department of Education. language difficulties (which extend to reading comp rehension as well as oral expression) and weak problem-solving skills ¡ª all of whic h have been associated with watching TV. "I have talked to many parents of children diagnosed with Attention Deficit Diso rder who found the difficulty markedly improved after they took away television viewing privileges. flashes of colour. failing academic abilities. and sudden loud noises) deprive a child of prac tice in using his own brain independently (as in games. which determined that th is technique is the best way to engage the brain's attention involuntarily. found that there is a direct corr elation between the amount of time a child spends watching TV and their scores o n standardized achievement tests ¡ª the more TV watched. Lowers academic performance WATCHING a lot of television may make it difficult for children to learn to read . social interact ion or just "fussing around"). If you don't exercise brains . with its rapidly changing sound and images. he has to create images of who these people are. they're not spending time reading. These self-created scenarios are important. what their environment looks like. teachers are reporting an epidemic of attention deficit disorder. hobbies. writing. the lower the scores. to keep their attention focussed. or an avera ge of 2 hours a day of TV. According to Healy. There is enough research to suggest that prohibiting children under 5 from watch ing too much TV will lessen the chance he or she will develop ADD. attention-grabbing "features" of children's programming ¡ª eg: rapid zooms and pans." she says. Poor reading ability "WHEN children commit time looking at TV. As far back as 1977. It's just li ke muscles: If you don't exercise them they wither. Whe n a child reads a novel. what their tones of vo ice are. A 1980 study by the California Department of Education which studied the TV habi ts and test scores of half a million children. may overwhelm the nervous system of some young children and lead to Attention Defic it Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) ¡ª previously known as Attention Deficit Disorder ( ADD) ¡ª characterised by consistent inattention. what their emotions are. incommunicative "zombies" who cannot play. academic achieve ment drops sharply for children who watch more than 10 hours a week. Such features were modelled after advertising research. a nd cannot even think very clearly. cannot create. studying or socializing.

analyti cal thinking. too much television viewing can lower acad emic performance. a child doesn't imagine much because the images are already there for h im or her on the screen. not by watching TV. but there is no pathway in her brain for coming up with an image to inform unde rstanding. The child has no prior experience for imagining what a sc ene in history the teacher is describing looks like or what an angry crowd in th e scene might sound like. an educational psychologist and author of sev eral books on children and the brain. Watching TV is a one-way communication. new connectio ns called synapses are built in his brain. This results in new connections as the brain analyses and solves proble ms to complete its understanding of a concept. Stunted language skill WATCHING television can also lead to poor language skills. The synapses form pathways that are necessary for reading comprehension. feelings. and an authority on the brain's hemispheric development ACCORDING to Jane M. On the other hand.. when a child respon ds to the sights. and sustained attention and problem-solving. smells and tastes around him . According to one therapist. The child has to scramble to make sense of what she is hearing from the teacher. but a child's "2-minute mind". the more it becomes capable of doing it. "One in 5 children under the age of 5 suffers langua ge problems because many parents use television as an automatic babysitter. especially reading ability. The child becomes passive and is not all owed to think and this freezes the brain. Another study found that 6th and 12th grade California students who were heavy T V viewers scored lower on math achievement (as well as reading and written expre .D. the connections in the brain required for the t asks aren't available. Math misfits A 1994 US Department of Education report on plunging academic achievement cites excessive TV watching as one of 3 factors that account of nearly 90% of the diff erence in the average performance of young school children's mathematics scores. When the time comes to draw upon creative thinking skil ls in school and other settings." Language skills are best fostered through reading and active two-way participati on in conversations and play activities. Reading requires depth or processing. t he visual nature of television blocks development of the left part of the brain that is important for learning language skills. acquired fr om too much TV watching can easily become impatient with this effort required in reading. When a young child doesn't have the thinking done for him and the images display ed in front of him." ¡ª Dr Jerre Levy A bio-psychologist at the University of Chicago. his brain must go to work to create a picture using his imag ination. sounds. With TV. The more work the brain does.. Ph. According to Healy. Healy. they wither. A recent conference of speech therapists in London revealed that television rest ricts and limits children's abilities to speak and understand English.

Source : http://consumer.ssion) tests than students who viewed little or no ourchilds-development .

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