TV Linked to Kids' Short Attention Spans
- Wednesday, June 09, 2004
June 8, 2004
A recently published study indicates that early exposure to television for young children may lead to attention problems, perhaps even attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
The study, published in the April issue of Pediatrics, said ADHD affects between 4 percent and 12 percent of children in this country, and "is the most common behavioral disorder of childhood."
Because the brain of a newborn develops rapidly throughout its first several years of life, researchers from the University of Washington and Seattle-area mental health professionals theorized that early exposure to TV might affect brain development.
"The types and intensity of visual and auditory experiences that children have early in life ... may have profound influences on brain development," the study said.
Results showed that, for every hour a child watched TV, it increased his chances of having attention problems by about 10 percent, study leader Dimitri Christakis, a pediatrician at a children's hospital in Seattle, told USA Today. That is because the child's brain may develop in a manner that makes it used to the rapid-fire activity of television, "making it harder to concentrate if there's less stimulation," he said.
While the researchers listed a number of cautionary notes about the study's conclusions, they also noted that the American Academy of Pediatrics has recommended that parents exercise caution in allowing children under the age of two years to watch TV.
The article appeared in the June 2004 issue of AFA Journal (http://www.afajournal.org), a monthly publication of the American Family Association.
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