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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 congenital causes for ADHD, letting your child watch too much television at an early age can also increase the chance of your child having this condition. In conclusion, television does contribute to ADD and ADHD.
What is ADD or ADHD?
Because the causes of ADD or ADHD are unknown, all children are vulnerable to this condition. When your child has ADD or ADHD, he may suffer from difficulties with concentration, impulsivity, 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. However, 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 the television in 1928, it was gradually perceived in an increasingly negative light as its effects on children became apparent.
Watching too much television has often been blamed for making children lazy, obese and violent. The term “couch” was coined in reference to individuals who never seem to leave the couch for watching too much television. These “potatoes” then tend to become lazy and gain weight due to their sedentary choice of hobby.
People, especially children, also tend to copy what they see and therefore watching violent movies or programs can often give them violent tendencies as well.
However, these are not the only negative effects caused by too much television. Researchers have also discovered that watching too much television for children between the ages of one and three can lead them to suffer from attention problems when they turn seven or enter primary school. It also increases chances by ten percent for children developing ADHD.
Tips for Balancing Television Exposure to Avoid ADD or ADHD
Your child does not need to exist completely without television for the rest of his life, but you should control the hours he consumes for television each day to reduce the chances of ADD or ADHD.
Doctors agree that TV exposure is not beneficial for children under two years of age. At this stage of your child’s life, he should focus on developing and improving his physical and mental abilities, both of which could be greatly hindered by early television exposure.
Don’t use the TV as a substitute nanny. Television may keep your child quiet and safe in your house for long hours, but it does him more harm than good. If you don’t have time to entertain or take care of him, hire a real nanny who could entertain your child by reading books, playing interactive academic games and various hobbies and craft activities.
You can start letting your child watch television between the ages of three and five. In fact, television exposure at this age can lead to improved school performance, as long as you let him watch the right programs of course.
Be aware of what your child watches on TV. While most parents rank programs based on content and value, you should also consider the editing and pacing of the show. Sometimes, TV shows are made of incredibly fast edits and scene progression that your child ends up completely focused on the show. It doesn’t mean he understands everything, but it sure keeps his attention.
This process is called the orienting reflex, and it could make your child impatient, bored and frustrated when they are faced with unavoidable delays in the real world.
Thus, it is important to exercise your control and authority early on over what and when your child should watch television. Avoid letting him watch programs that are not only violent in nature but also use too much orienting reflex in their editing.
Last and most importantly, spend quality time with your child so that he does not need to resort to the television for entertainment all the time. Constantly try and hone his attention and focus skills through games and teach him the importance of interacting with other children. Thus, television will not cause the development of ADD or ADHD.
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