Time and time again throughout my childhood, I’ve heard my mom say, “Turn off the television, it will turn your brain to mush.” Now, I never really listened to her, until I started learning of the very real effects that too much television can have on the developing brains of children. Many people have the idea that T.V. is bad for the brain. It’s a distraction, and nothing good can come from watching hours upon hours of cartoons every day. Today, however, children seem to be watching much more T.V. each day than past generations. For example, I had limits on how much T.V. I was able to watch each day when I was younger. Now, parents seem to let their children watch however many hours of T.V. they want. This is especially harmful to young children when it comes to schoolwork and grades. T.V. is taking up the time that should be spent doing homework and studying, especially in the early years, when children’s brains are still developing.
One observational study, conducted by two professors at Johns Hopkins and Stanford University, examined the test performance of 386 third graders in relation to the time they spent watching T.V. The professors wanted to study the home environments of these children. The professors inquired about the number of television sets in the home, the time the kids spent watching T.V., the presence of any other electronic devices in the house (such as video game sets), and also about the time these children spent doing homework, reading and studying. Overall, the children without televisions in their rooms outperformed the children with T.V. sets. One interesting result concluded from this experiment is that a child who has a television set in his or her bedroom is likely to score about 8 points lower on a math exam than a child who does not have a T.V. set in his or her room. While this result could be due to chance, the result suggests that it is harmful for young children to have a T.V. set in their room. It seems that having access to a television during all hours of the day can be detrimental to a child’s success in school. It is likely that the more television a child watches, the likely it is that a child will perform well in school.
Whether or not a child has a television in their room can have a significant impact on their school performance. According to the New York Times, placing a television in a child’s room puts them at a much higher risk of sleep and school related problems. If a young child is able to watch T.V. whenever they want, the parents are no longer in control of how much time their child spends watching T.V., when the T.V. is turned off at night, or what kinds of shows the child is watching on T.V. A study that was also discussed in this article also found that those with T.V. sets in their rooms were also likely to spend much less time reading as opposed to children without T.V. sets in their bedrooms.
This article also raises other important concerns about health issues that too much T.V. can cause. One study found that children who spend more time watching television are at a higher risk of becoming obese, especially boys. It appears that spending too much time in front of the television can cause young children to become lazy, less responsive to the world around them, and form unhealthy habits. It seems that it is important for all children, and especially young ones, to strike a good balance between work and play. A little bit of television is okay, but too much of one thing is never good, no matter what.