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The Truth About the Effects of Too Much Television on ADD or ADHD
Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) may not kill you, but its adverse effects could last a lifetime. Although there are various possible innate causes of ADHD, letting your child watch too much TV at an early age can also increase your child’s risk of suffering from this condition. In conclusion, television contributes to ADD and ADHD.
What is ADD or ADHD?
As the causes of ADD or ADHD are unknown, all children are vulnerable to this condition. When your child has ADD or ADHD, they may suffer from difficulty concentrating, impulsiveness, memory recall, organization, following instructions and of course attention and hyperactivity.
There is also no known cure for ADD or ADHD, although there are medications and treatments available on the market to help people manage their condition. Nonetheless, children who have been diagnosed with ADD or ADHD should expect their condition to stay with them throughout their lives.
The role television plays on ADD or ADHD
Although people initially rejoiced at the wonderful invention of television in 1928, it was gradually seen in an increasingly negative light as its effects on children became clear.
Watching too much television was often accused of making children lazy, obese and violent. The term “couch potato” was coined in reference to people who never seem to leave the couch because they watch too much television. These “couch potatoes” are then likely to become lazy and gain weight due to their sedentary choice of hobbies.
People especially children are also prone to copying what they see and that is why watching violent movies or programs frequently can also give them violent tendencies.
However, these are not the only negative effects caused by too much television consumption. Researchers have also found that watching too much TV for children between the ages of one and three can cause them to suffer from attention problems when they turn seven or enter primary school. It also increases the chances by ten percent for children developing ADHD.
Tips for Balancing TV Exposure to Avoid ADD or ADHD
Your child doesn’t need to lead a completely TV-free existence for the rest of their life, but you should monitor the hours they watch TV each day to reduce the risk of ADD or ADHD.
Doctors agree that television exposure is not beneficial for children under two years of age. In this phase of your child’s life, he should focus on developing and perfecting his physical and mental abilities, which could be greatly hindered by early exposure to television.
Do not use the TV as a substitute nanny. The television can keep your child immobile and safe in your home for long hours, but it does more harm than good. If you don’t have time to entertain or look after him, hire a real nanny who could entertain your child by reading books, playing interactive academic games, and various hobbies and crafts.
You can start letting your child watch television between the ages of three and five. Indeed, exposure to television at this age can lead to an improvement in school performance, provided of course that you let him watch the right programs.
Be aware of what your child is watching on television. Although most parents rank programs based on their content and value, you also need to consider the editing and pacing of the show. Sometimes TV shows are made up of insanely fast cuts and scene progressions so that your child ends up concentrating completely on the show. It doesn’t mean he understands everything, but it definitely gets his attention.
This process is called the orienting reflex, and it could make your child impatient, bored, and frustrated when faced with inevitable delays in the real world.
So, it’s important to exercise control and authority over what and when your child should watch TV early on. Avoid letting him watch programs that are not only violent in nature but also use too much orientation reflex in their editing.
Last but not least, spend quality time with your child so that he doesn’t have to rely on television for entertainment all the time. Constantly test and hone his attention and concentration skills through play and teach him the importance of interacting with other children. In this way, television will not cause the development of ADD or ADHD.
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