Teen attention issues linked to childhood TV viewing
And now, an item from our 'Duh! It's kinda obvious' department . . .
A new, long-term study conducted by the University of Otago in New Zealand says that watching more than two hours of television early in life can lead to attention problems later in adolescence. Symptoms of the attention problems included short attention span, poor concentration and being easily distracted. Um, sorry, what was I saying? Oh look, a pretty flower!
The study focused on 1000 children born in the Dunedin, NZ area between 1972 and 1973 (that's a looong study). Children ages 5 to 11 watched an average of two hours of television a day, while those ages 13 to 15 watched a little over three hours a day. Overall there was a 40% difference in attention span, equally divided between boys and girls, from those who watched less television than those who watched more.
What causes this sudden change? Well, the researchers had a few theories. For instance, the rapid scene changes common to many television shows could overstimulate the brain of a young child, making reality seem a tad boring. Frankly, those fast scene changes make me queasy. Another theory was that too much television watching takes the place of other activities that require concentration, such as sports, reading and playing the game Concentration.
Is this really news to us, especially parents of young children? We try to limit the amount of television they watch, but when you have 24-hour kid networks vying for your child's attention it can be a losing battle. Let me know what you think in the poll below and in the comments.
|Yes. It definitely opens my eyes to a potential future problem||8 (9.8%)|
|Well, I had a feeling too much television caused this, but I never really saw it scientifically proven||14 (17.1%)|
|It's fairly obvious. See the glazed look of my teeage son/daughter?||13 (15.9%)|
|Please. We knew this since the first image appeared on the first television screen. Hey, look a pretty pony!||47 (57.3%)|