Turn off the television and shut down the computer

British researchers from the University of Bristol found that “more than two hours a day spent watching television or playing computer games could put a child at greater risk for psychological problems” (MSNBC).  More than 1,000 children between the ages of 10 and 11 filled out a questionnaire reporting the amount of time spent daily in front of a television or computer screen and answering questions regarding their “mental state – including emotional, behavioral and peer-related problems” (MSNBC).  Among children that spent longer than two hours a day in front of either a television or computer screen, there was a 60% greater likelihood that these children would experience significant psychological difficulties.  Children that spent more than two hours in front of both types of screens, for a total of at least four hours of screen time split between the two mediums, were 120% more likely to experience psychological difficulties.  Perhaps most significantly, “the effect was seen regardless of sex, age, stage of puberty or level of education or economic deprivation” (MSNBC).The risk of experiencing psychological difficulties increased if children did not obtain an hour of moderate to vigorous exercise daily in addition to the increased screen time.  Increased physical activity did not, however, seem to compensate for the psychological consequences incurred by screen time.  Screen time was the biggest factor attributed to the uptick in likeliness of psychological difficulty; there was a “lack of negative effect for activities such as reading and doing homework,” which are also sedentary, but mentally stimulating (MSNBC).

This is further affirmation that children do not belong in front of televisions or video games.  Children need to encounter their world through tactile and other sensorimotor experiences that compel them to respond to their environment.  Screen time might be an excellent babysitter, but it is not an even remotely acceptable substitute for real-life interaction.  Brainjogging encourages interactive play for children, and absolutely no video gaming!

Leave a Reply