Well, we all *know* that TV screws up the kids, but it doesn’t seem to stop us from planting them in front of it for multiple hours a day. There are shows marketed at two year olds and parents can’t buy the associated crap fast enough to reinforce having their kids be quiet for that time they’re watching the screen.
Of course, common sense would tell us this is idiotic. A horrible idea. A stupid way to raise a child – or, more accurately, a way to avoid having to raise a child.
Common sense would tell us that those first four years of life – when the brain is developing – DEVELOPING – would be a good time to be exposing it to wonderful things. But, putting a video in is so much easier. Amazing how that frantic pace on the screens keeps their brain occupied – not necessarily developing, just occupied – while we talk on the phone or make a work appointment or write an email.
Think back… into the long ago times… when people raised children without videos and DVDs. It wasn’t that long ago. Think back even further into the very long, long, long ago times when people raised their children without TV. Those would be the generations that brought us the light bulb, cars, phones, computers, the space program, and other such things. They also brought us TV. I’m sure they didn’t imagine we’d think they’d given us ’round the clock child care.
There’s new research now from The University of Washington and Children’s Hospital in Seattle that finds – not surprisingly – that the more TV your children watch when they’re young, the more difficulty they have paying attention later.
For each hour of television a child watched daily before age four, their risk of having attention problems at age 7 increase by 9%.
So, if the kids are watching the average of 8-10 hours a day of television, it’s pretty much a given – 72-90% likely – that they’ll be unable to focus when they start school.
Well, gosh, that seems like a good trade off. You get to avoid dealing with your children. They get a rocky start on the education that will have tremendous impact on whether or not they’re successful in life.
OK… so… stop reading this blog… go pull your kids out from the front of the TV and take them to the park.