Attention deficiency disorder (ADD) or attention deficiency and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) might not kill you, but its adverse effects could last a lifetime. While there are various possible inborn 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 do contribute to ADD and ADHD.
What is ADD or ADHD?
As the causes for 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, impulsiveness, memory recall, organization, following instructions, and of course, attention and hyperactivity.
There is also no known cure for ADD or ADHD, although there are available medications and treatments in the market to help people manage their condition. Nevertheless, children who have been diagnosed of having ADD or ADHD should expect their condition to stay with them in their lifetime.
The Role that Television Plays on ADD or ADHD
Although people had 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 clear.
Watching too much television had been commonly blamed for causing children to become lazy, obese, and violent. The term “couch potato” was coined in reference to individuals who seem never to leave the couch because of watching too much television. These “couch potatoes” are then prone to becoming lazy and increasing weight because of their sedentary choice of hobby.
People, especially children, are also prone to copy what they see and that's why watching violent films or programs frequently can give also give them violent tendencies.
These are not, however, the only negative effects caused by watching too much television. Researchers have also discovered that watching too much television for children between one and three years old can lead them to suffer from attention problems when they turn seven or enter primary school. It also increases chances by ten percent for kids developing ADHD.
Tips for Balancing Television Exposure to Avoid ADD or ADHD
Your child doesn't need to lead a completely television-free existence for the rest of his life, but you do need to monitor the hours he consumes for television each day to decrease chances of ADD or ADHD from occurring.
Doctors agree in saying that television exposure is not beneficial for children below two years old. In this phase of your child's life, he should focus on developing and honing his physical and mental abilities, both of which could be greatly hampered by early television exposure.
Do not use the television set as a substitute nanny. Television may keep your child still and safe within your house for long hours, but it's doing 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 ages three and five. In fact, television exposure at this age can lead to improved scholastic performance, provided you let him watch the right programs of course.
Be aware of what your child is watching on television. While most parents categorize programs according to content and value, you should also consider the show's editing and pacing. Sometimes, television shows are made of incredibly fast edits and scene progression that your child ends up focusing completely on the show. It doesn't mean he understands everything, but it definitely holds his attention.
This process is called orienting reflex, and it could make your child become impatient, bored, and frustrated when they are confronted by inevitable delays in the real world.
Thus, it's important to exert your control and authority early on as regard to what and when your child should watch television. Avoid letting him watch programs that are not only violent in nature but also uses too much orienting reflex in their editing.
Last and most importantly of all, spend quality time with your child so he won't need to resort to the television for entertainment all the time. Constantly test and hone his attention and focus skills through games and teach him the importance of interaction with other kids. This way, television won't cause ADD or ADHD to develop.