Children watch so much television today. They also play video games, watch movies and use computers much more than children did a few years ago. As children do this, they tend to lessen other important activities that aid in development of reading, social and some types of thinking skills. Other concerns for children include that they maintain good eyesight and physical fitness.
Studies show that long periods of television may hamper development of the pre-frontal cortex -- the area of the brain responsible for planning, organizing and sequencing behavior for self-control, moral judgment and attention, says Abell.
Some researchers believe this may be one explanation of the widespread problem of attention deficit disorder and some behavior problems. While some children have always been more prone than others to attention problems, cases have increased, and studies link the increase to the concurrent rise of television watching in the day-to-day activities of children.
The visual nature of television or other media stimuli do not develop the part of the brain responsible for language. Children who watch too much television and do not read enough may have trouble paying attention and listening to comprehend language.
It's important that parents take time reading out loud to their children and help them develop their own reading and comprehension skills. Abell suggests that parents make plans with their children for weekly television viewing. Select shows that you will allow children to watch instead of leaving the television on all the time, says Abell.
Children who have televisions or computers in their rooms tend to watch more programs and play on the computer with less supervision. Adults should be available to watch with their children to ensure they view appropriate programs. Emphasize that homework comes first and that it requires a student's full attention, without the distraction of television, says Abell.
With a little planning, parents...
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