Technology plays an important role in our life. One of the technologies we can’t imagine life without is TV. Many researchers have been wondering how TV is affecting our lives. They are all saying that TV is ruining our brains, bodies, and basically our lives. Don’t believe me? Here are nine ways TV is ruining your life.
1. TV Is Making You and Your Children Stupid
TV Decreases Attention
A study from the University of Virginia’s department of psychology, showed the immediate effects of fast-paced television on children. For 9 minutes, one group watched Spongebob, a Nickelodeon cartoon, another group watched an educational episode, and the last group drew with markers and crayons. The study found a notable difference in the executive functions, such as attention control, working memory, problem-solving, and reasoning, between the children who watched Spongebob and the other two groups.
Although Spongebob is the show used in the study above, it isn’t what’s causing low attention levels; TV is. A study of 2,500 children in 2004 found that children who watched more TV had higher rates of attentional disorders, including Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). In this study, higher levels of TV watching between ages 1-3 correlated to higher levels of attention disorders at age 7. Another study of fourth- and fifth-grade children in 2000 also came to the same conclusion.
TV Reduces Intelligence
You might think that children’s brains are more pliable , therefore they are the only ones at risk. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Many researchers have been studying the link between TV viewing and cognitive functioning . Those who watch TV for more than 3 hours a day scored lower in intelligence tests. Higher television viewing and low physical activity in early adulthood were associated with worse executive functioning and processing speed in midlife.
TV Alters Children’s Brains
A Japanese study showed that watching TV changes the structure of children’s brains. The areas of the brain affected were the those involved in emotional responses, arousal, aggression, and vision. TV lowered the children’s IQ, due to the gray matter increase in the frontal lobe region. These changes could cause personality disorders, increased aggressiveness, and mood disorders. These changes were evident regardless or age, gender, and other factors.
TV Decreases Theory Of Mind
Theory of mind is the ability to understand that others have their own beliefs, points of views, plans and desires. It is an important indicator of cognitive processing. A study done by the Ohio State University, showed that preschoolers who were in a home where the TV was on in the background or had a TV in their bedroom had poor theory of mind processing. Poor theory of mind is found in those with autism.
2. It Causes Less Healthy Eating Habits
Watching TV during meals can have an effect on how much and what you eat. A 2007 study determined that adolescents watching television were found to have lower intakes of vegetables, dark green/yellow vegetables, calcium-rich food, and grains and higher intakes of soft drinks compared to adolescents not watching television during meals.
Advertisements also play a big role in what you eat. 40.3% of children who watched the food commercials , asked their parents to buy them a food shown. Most of the commercials were for fatty and sugar-rich foods.
3. TV Makes You Sad
Studies have also correlated watching TV with lower levels of happiness and a lower sense of satisfaction. A 1977 study reported that only 17% of Americans felt “great satisfaction” from watching TV, compared with 32% from reading and 26% for sports and games. (Robinson, J. P. (1977). How Americans use time: A social psychological analysis of everyday behavior.)
Binge-watching TV was linked to depression; this link was strong enough that even exercise couldn’t relieve the depression, even though exercise is the #1 way to fight depression. When observing happy people’s habits, it was found that the happiest people spend less time in front of the TV and more time reading and socializing.
4. TV Steals Your Sleep
Melatonin is a hormone that helps you sleep. Blue light is the light that your TV emits. The problem here is that blue light suppresses the production of melatonin, making it difficult to fall asleep. Despite this, thousands of people fall asleep with their TV on. You may still be able to fall asleep, but you’re definitely not immune. Blue light reduces the quality of sleep and delays the onset of REM sleep, leading to morning drowsiness. Doctors recommend turning off all electronics, including the TV, at least an hour before bed.
5. TV Is Making You Fat
The average number of hours a TV is on in a US household is 6 hours and 47 minutes. Children spend more time watching TV than any other activity, with an average of 2 hours of TV, 30 minutes of non-school related reading and 45 minutes doing homework. By the time an average teen graduates, he would have watched 15,000 hours in front of a TV screen. TV, more than any other medium, has created a generation of students who have abdicated the responsibility for their own education.
TV is doing us more harm than good. It takes our time, money, and health. Take a look at your TV habits. Are you watching too much TV?
Here’s an infographic with some pertinent facts: