The Effect of Television on a Childs Attention Span

Topics: Childhood, Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, Attention Pages: 4 (1511 words) Published: June 27, 2012
The effect of television on a childs attention span
Samantha Martin
May 6, 2012
Jodi Galvan
Axia College of the University of Phoenix

The effect of television on a childs attention span

In watching my 13-year-old daughter, and constantly trying to get her to complete the simplest of tasks such as loading the dishwasher. I have often wondered if watching too much television has anything to do with her inability to complete the smallest of tasks. Some people think that children who watch too much television are likely to develop ADHD; however, it may be the opposite. The child who is prone to Attention problems may be drawn to watching television to sooth their minds (New Scientist, 2007).

Is it possible that children too watch much television? According to Eric Landhuis of the University of Otago, children should not watch more than two hours of television per day (New Scientist, 2007). More than two hours of television can lead to attention problems in adolescence. Children who watched more than three hours of television had above average symptoms of ADHD (New Scientist, 2007). Rapid scene changes can over stimulate the brain. Recently their was a controversial news story on how the rapid scene changes in the cartoon Sponge Bob Square pants on the network Nickelodeon over stimulated the young brain of children under the age of six. The over stimulation can make real life seem boring. Landhuis goes on to say, “children who watch a lot of television can become less tolerant of slower-paced mundane tasks such as school work”, or chores. (New Scientist, 2007)

I know that when my daughter was an infant I would sit her in front of the television while I did my house work. Like a number of stay-at-home moms, I used the television like a baby sitter, first starting off with educational shows like Sesame Street and Calu on PBS. As she became older we advanced to cartoons on networks like Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network....

References: Finkelstein, A., & Roberts, A. (2004, September). The real mom 's guide to kids and TV. Parenting, 18(8), 100-107.
Foster, M. E., & Watkins, S. (2010, Jan/Feb). The Value of Reanalysis: TV Viewing and Attention Problems. Child Development, 81(1), 368-375.
New Scientist. (2007, September 04). Childhood TV Viewing Linked to teen attention problems. Retrieved from
Shute, N. (2004 April, 19). Programmed for trouble. U.S. News & World Report, 136(13), 76-76.
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