You're probably aware of the links that have been made between television (image credit) and a sedentary lifestyle, obesity, and diabetes. Now, there is new data stating that children who watch 2-3 hours of TV a day - early in life - may lead to attention problems later in life. (Reuters)
The link was established by a long-term study of the habits and behaviors of more than 1,000 children born in Dunedin, New Zealand, between April 1972 and March 1973.Personally, I find this study interesting because I was born around the time frame in which this study was done. Can I draw any conclusions to my own life or the lives of my peers growing up? Hmmmmmm.....
The children aged 5 to 11 watched an average of 2.05 hours of weekday television. From age 13 to 15, time spent in front of the tube rose to an average of 3.1 hours a day.
"Those who watched more than two hours, and particularly those who watched more than three hours, of television per day during childhood had above-average symptoms of attention problems in adolescence," Carl Landhuis of the University of Otago in Dunedin wrote in his report, published in the journal Pediatrics.
Now, I do admit that I probably watched the same amount of television at the study participants (does video game playing count in that number?). Here is one of the theories reviewed in the article for this association.
One was that the rapid scene changes common to many TV programs may overstimulate the developing brain of a young child, and could make reality seem boring by comparison.Attention deficit disorder (ADD) is so multifactorial, it's very difficult to pin one thing down as THE cause. However, I do admit that sometimes I "become less tolerant of slower-paced and more mundane tasks." Maybe I should watch less television and, say, blog more. What you do think?
"Hence, children who watch a lot of television may become less tolerant of slower-paced and more mundane tasks, such as school work," [Landhuis] wrote.
It was also possible that TV viewing may supplant other activities that promote concentration, such as reading, games, sports and play, [Landhuis] said. The lack of participation inherent in TV watching might also condition children when it comes to other activities.
The study was not proof that TV viewing causes attention problems, Landhuis said, because it may be that children prone to attention problems may be drawn to watching television.