Excessive TV/ DVDs/ Videos Watching in Children have Negative Academic Outcomes

Excessive TV/ DVDs/ Videos Watching in Children have Negative Academic Outcomes

The favorite interests or hobbies of kids in the U.S. include sports (51% of all boys and 40% of all girls), followed by watching television (26%), video games (23%) and hanging out with friends (23%); listening to music (12%) and 11% choose reading1 (11%). The Omaha World-Herald reports children’s television viewing is increasing, while PR Newswire reports almost 10 million children use the Internet. There is also evidence that kids are spending more time with video games and computer game.

Childhood obesity is usually caused by kids eating too much and exercising too little. So creating new family habits around healthy eating and increased physical activity can help a child lose weight and can also improve the health of other members of the family.And with more overweight and obese children come a host of negative health effects, including hip and other bone problems, early puberty, sleep apnea and adult-onset problems like high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes.Eating in front of the TV starts a bad habit and reinforces kid’s dependence on television.

One third of kids aged two to seven, and two-thirds of kids aged eight and up do have TVs in their bedrooms.Placing a TV in your child’s room keeps you from monitoring the amount of TV and the types of shows that they watch.For kids, having a TV in the bedroom is linked to doing worse in school and sleep problems .If your child complains that all their friends have their own TV sets in their rooms, remind them that you are going to do what you feel is best for them, because you care.

In Latin America, Argentina presents a similar scenario, where 99% of households have television, 55% of those homes have cable TV and the average television viewing time each day is 3 hours and 15 minutes6. In Chile, young people 10 to 14 years see more television than do children 5 to 9 years of age7. Costa Rica reports young people 12 and 13 years of age watch an average of 3.8 hours per day. In Venezuela, 97% of homes have television and it is turned on an average of 7 hours each day.Using the holidays to create quality family time. Turn off the TV and play ball with the kids.

Many behaviors contribute to childhood obesity, whether it's the time spent in front of the TV or computer or the types and amounts of food eaten. These behaviors or habits are hard to change within a family, especially if members aren't ready, willing or able to make changes.Small, gradual changes are easiest to follow and incorporate into your daily lives. And small changes can make a big difference over time. Pick a few small changes that seem doable, for example, turning off the TV during dinner, switching from soda pop to milk or water, or taking a walk after dinner once a week.

Regular physical activity, combined with healthy eating habits, is the most efficient and healthful way to control your weight. It is also an important part of a healthy lifestyle.Plan family activities that provide everyone with exercise and enjoyment, like walking, dancing, biking, or swimming. For example, schedule a walk with your family after dinner instead of watching TV. Make sure that you plan activities that can be done in a safe environment.

"Kids will be kids" is an often expressed explanation for their behavior, suggesting a homogenizing effect of the youth culture.Television,radio and print media are the most effective ways to reach large numbers of youth.10” Therein lies the challenge for health. Kids 8-12 years of age are capable, self-centered, very curious and growing in intelligence. They respond to visual stimuli and have an affinity to caricatures such as Garfield, the Tasmanian Devil and electronic gadgets such as Nintendo, Play Stations, computers and boom boxes.

Teens who are glued to the TV for three or more hours a day are at higher risk for developing attention and learning problems, a new study suggests.

The research, led by Jeffrey G. Johnson of Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and the New York State Psychiatric Institute, also found that it was TV watching that contributed to learning problems -- not the other way around.

"Our findings suggest that teenagers who spent a lot of time watching TV tend to be more likely to have attention and learning problems that persist and interfere with their long-term educational achievement," said Johnson.

"Whether teens had existing attention or learning problems or whether they didn't have them, they were at greater risk for later attention and learning problems," Johnson said.

Johnson advises parents to limit the amount of time they let their children watch TV. "About one to two hours a day," he said. "And they should be watching quality programming," he added.

Video games can have the same effect as TV, Johnson said. "The problem with video games is that most of them have very little educational value. And some games may promote the development of attention problems," he said.

Johnson recommends limiting access to TV, for example not allowing a TV in the child's room. If the child has unrestricted access to TV, in the long-term they may have more difficulties reaching their potential as adults."

"Finding that increased television viewing in adolescence is associated with negative academic outcomes is not surprising," said Tara Stevens, assistant professor of educational psychology and leadership at Texas Tech University. "The interesting contribution of the study is that this relationship was still present when socio-economic status as well as prior attention and learning problems were statistically controlled," she added.

For some time, researchers have theorized that watching excessive amounts of entertainment TV might contribute to learning problems, because it takes time that might otherwise be spent reading and doing homework. TV watching also requires little intellectual effort.

In the study, Johnson and his colleagues collected data on 678 families from upstate New York. They interviewed parents and children about television habits and school problems. The interviews were conducted three times -- when the children were 14, 16 and 22 years old.

In addition, when the study participants reached age 33, they gave information about their secondary and post-secondary education, including whether they had graduated from high school or attended college.

When the children were 14 years old, 33 percent said they watched TV three or more hours a day. The researchers found that watching this much TV at 14 was associated with attention difficulties, failure to complete homework, boredom at school, failure to complete high school, poor grades, negative attitudes about school, overall academic failure in secondary school and failure to obtain post-secondary education.

Johnson's team also evaluated whether TV watching resulted in these problems or if children already prone to these problems watched this much TV.

"The results suggest that although youths with attention or learning problems may spend more time watching television than do youths without these difficulties, this tendency may be unlikely to explain the preponderance of the association between television viewing and attention and learning difficulties during adolescence," the study noted.

The researchers concluded that getting teens to watch less TV may help avoid learning problems.

The findings "suggest that by encouraging youths to spend less than three hours per day watching television, parents, teachers and health-care professionals may be able to help reduce the likelihood that at-risk adolescents will develop persistent attention and learning difficulties," the study authors said.

The results are published in the May issue of the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

Stevens said the findings need to be interpreted with caution. She said the study's conclusion "simply means that those who watch a large amount of television are at a disadvantage in comparison to those who do not."

"If television was a strong predictor of attention and learning problems, then we would see an increase in the diagnosis of both learning disabilities and attention disorders in adolescents along with an increase in their television viewing. At present, the majority of diagnoses in this category are made in elementary school," Stevens said.

Stevens does think, as does Johnson, that there's a need for increased weekend, summer and after-school activities that don't involve TV.

"Television viewing in adolescence is linked to a wide host of problems, including smoking and obesity," Stevens said. "Arguing over the strength and nature of its impact on learning and attention problems seems pointless when the cumulative evidence clearly points to the benefits of selective viewing in moderation."

In another study in the same issue of the journal, researchers found that many parents ignore warnings from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and let their infants watch television, DVDs or videos. By 3 months of age, some 40 percent of babies are regular viewers. By the time the children are 2 years old, the number jumps to 90 percent, said the researchers, led by Frederick Zimmerman, an associate professor of health services at the University of Washington.

"While appropriate television viewing at the right age can be helpful for both children and parents, excessive viewing before age three has been shown to be associated with problems of attention control, aggressive behavior and poor cognitive development. Early television viewing has exploded in recent years and is one of the major public health issues facing American children," the study authors wrote.

That finding gibes with another study, published Monday in the issue of Pediatrics, which reported that only 32 percent of children between zero and age 2 watch no television, and as many as one in five youngsters under 2 even have a TV in their bedroom.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children 2 years old and under not watch TV at all.

Too much of the time, television becomes a backdrop to family life — it blares away in the den or great room while kids are playing, mom's cooking, or the family is eating. "We purposely didn't put a TV on the first floor of our house so that watching television would require a deliberate decision on everyone's part to either head to the basement or to the master bedroom.

This ensures that kids are not rushing to finish their homework so they can watch a favorite show. It also frees up more time for family interaction during the busy weekdays. For example, instead of parking the kids in front of the TV while you fix dinner, have them help you get ready for dinner. Even young children can slice a cucumber with a dull knife or put silverware on the table.

You can limit exposure to marketing that promotes unhealthy eating by limiting the amount of time your child spends watching TV and playing computer and video games. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that kids who are 2 years old or older should have no more than 2 hours of screen time each day.A short, moderately intense exercise intervention helped third-graders switch to healthier activities such as soccer and swimming instead of watching TV, researchers reported at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions

So it is important to identify what kids like, understanding what messages and media engage their attention, and defining successful strategies that could be adopted by health professionals to reach kids 8 to 12 years of age.When your child is watching TV, sit down and join in the viewing. Talk to your child about what he or she is watching, and about the messages about foods and healthy lifestyles that the advertising and the programs are sending.This keen insight and thoughtful counsel may be empowered the health sector to better engage kids 8 to 12 years of age in issues involving their own health and well-being.

Parents can also set rules for the home that help reinforce the healthy lifestyle. For example, limiting the time spent watching TV or playing video or computer games encourages children to find other more active pastimes.Have your kids watch TV programs, not just TV. This means planning ahead with your child what he wants to watch and turning off the tube when the program is over. "The idea is that you're making a conscious decision to watch something instead of simply flipping around the channels to find something on. Television should be an engaging activity, not simply mind-numbing time to 'chill out.


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