By Lindsay Ercanbrack
New research shows young children watching too much TV may cause a higher risk for attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder in later childhood years.
A study headed by Dr. Dimitri Christakis, a pediatric researcher at Children”s Hospital and Regional Medical Center in Seattle, found that children ages one to three who watch even one hour of television a day have a 10 percent greater risk of acquiring ADHD by the age of seven. The study reported the percentage grows higher with the greater amount of television the children watch.
“We know from national estimates that children watch an average of two to three hours of television a day in the 1-to 3-year-old age group,” Christakis said in a news release. “As many as 30 percent of all children have a television in their bedroom. There is a tremendous and growing reliance on television for a variety of reasons.”
Statistics from the Kaiser Family Foundation report two out of every three children live in homes where the television is on half a day, and one out of every three children watch television almost all day long.
Jenny Chamberlain, a part time faculty in the Sociology Department at BYU, said she is not surprised with the results of the study.
“Think about how quickly images flash across the screen on television,” she said. “People deal with serious traumas and issues, resolve them in a half hour and everything is ”happily ever after.” Who has time to focus on something if they can see things being solved so quickly?”
Chamberlain said parents need to take a greater responsibility in the television viewing habits of their children.
“The first step is to be aware of what they are watching,” she said. “The second step is to figure out how much time they are spending in front of the television.”
Rebecca Bishop, an Orem resident and mother of four young girls, said she is selective with what her girls watch and for how long.
“I don”t mind if they watch a little bit, but only after homework is done,” Bishop said. “I set a limit, and then it”s time to get up and go play and do something worthwhile.”
April 19-25 has been designated as the national TV Turn-off Week. Every household is challenged to watch less or no TV for one week. Chamberlain said she strongly encourages people to participate.
“There are so many problems with watching too much TV,” she said. “If kids watch less TV, they have more time to exercise, to be with their families and to do homework.”