Thursday, January 6, 2011

Watching TV Before Age 3 May Negatively Impact Children's Normal Brain Development, Leading to ADD, Autism, Antisocial Behavior and Slowed Linguistic Development

In 2007, a British publication, The Guardian Unlimited reported new research linking mental and physical problems in children to television viewing while under the age of 3.   The research indicated that early childhood TV viewing slowed linguistic and social development and led to higher risk rates of attention-deficit disorder, autism, and obesity. 

Before the age of 3, children's brains go through rapid development and are being physically shaped in response to whatever they are exposed to, says the report.  It further explains that exposing chidren to fast-moving images for sustained periods at this particular developmental stage can inhibit their ability to sustain attention, also hindering their development of social skills. 

It is not the quality of the content of the programs themselves that children are watching that causes the problem.  Rather, it is how the brain processes television.

Another study, in The World Federation of Neurology, outlined concerns about the impact of visual electronic media (including television) on children because of stunted frontal lobe development which led to anti-social behavior.  (When children watch television, the frontal lobe is not doing anything with the result that over a period of time this part of the brain doesn't develop fully or develops more slowly than normal.) 

What can you do to encourage healthy brain development in children?
Playing and interacting with others is recommended to encourage the fibers in the frontal lobe to develop and thicken and to make stronger connections to neurons.

Sources: "Television may be doing your thinking," by Lynn Berry,

Timeless Secrets of Health and Rejuvenation by Andreas Moritz.


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