How TV Changes Our Kid’s Brains

We have a TV-free house, and that’s kind of a rare thing in modern America.

But children are exposed to dubious messages and marketing ploys at a very early age these days, and we don’t think that’s appropriate for our kids – there’s time enough later in their lives to adopt television if they so choose, but as the gatekeepers of our children’s brains and behavior, we choose not to have them indoctrinated into mass media at these critical developmental stages.

And we’re not the only ones who feel this way. In this video, Dr Dimitri Christakis, a pediatrician at Seattle Children’s Hospital, sheds some light on why we need to pay more attention to the effects that TV watching has on our little one’s development and behavior:

[via SeattleMamaDoc]

Derek Markham

Things I dig include: simple living, natural fatherhood, attachment parenting, natural building, unassisted childbirth (homebirth), bicycles, permaculture, organic and biodynamic gardening, vegan peanut butter cookies with chocolate chips, bouldering, and the blues. Find me elsewhere at @NaturalPapa, @DerekMarkham, Google+, or RebelMouse.

5 thoughts on “How TV Changes Our Kid’s Brains

  • The biggest effect is the way children are less active these days.

    I remember when I was a kid we used to play ball each day for hours, walk to each other, and spend a lot of time outdoors. These days kids are fatter, slower, and their health is suffering.

    Too much TV is part of the problem.

  • Wow, you are brave and oh-so-smart! Our kids are brainwashed by television and it so hurts them. Our home had a TV, but NO cable/broadcast. It was just a monitor in which I controlled any VHS or DVD they watched. No watching on school-days.

    They became readers. What a gift to give my boys and every parent to give their children.

    BTW, this notion now applies to ALL the screens our kids use…limit it or they’ll never “Play” IRL!

  • It makes them smarter:

    At least if they are watching smart programmes. Like the Internet itself, it is not the medium but the content that matters. After all, the Web contains everything from this blog to the New York Times to pornography and TMZ.

    • Derek Markham

      It’s really about maintaining some sort of control over how much and what kind of medium. Too many kids have unfettered access to TV and the web these days, and I can guarantee you that most of them do not watch ‘smart’ programs.

      • Probably not in many cases (although this author makes a persuasive case that even the dumber end of the spectrum is smarter than it used to be). But a lot of people seem to take a stance that reading is good, and TV is bad, period. Whereas I’d rather my kids watch a smart TV show than read a dumb book (and there are a lot of dumb books out there too). I suppose that might be a different calculation if you felt your kids needed more practise reading to gain more basic reading proficiency; but my kids read well ahead of their grade level so I don’t feel they get a lot out of reading an endless succession of Rick Riordan books or whatever.


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