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Television Government United Kingdom Science

Study: Kids Under 3 Should Be Banned From Watching TV 334

Posted by Soulskill
from the can-we-ban-them-from-being-on-tv-too dept.
An anonymous reader sends this quote from The Guardian: "Doctors and government health officials should set limits, as they do for alcohol, on the amount of time children spend watching screens – and under-threes should be kept away from the television altogether, according to a paper in an influential medical journal published on Tuesday. A review of the evidence in the Archives Of Disease in Childhood says children's obsession with TV, computers and screen games is causing developmental damage as well as long-term physical harm. Doctors at the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, which co-owns the journal with the British Medical Journal group, say they are concerned."
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Study: Kids Under 3 Should Be Banned From Watching TV

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  • by Guano_Jim (157555) on Tuesday October 09, 2012 @06:51PM (#41602003)

    Doctors and government health officials should set limits, as they do for alcohol on the amount of time children spend watching screens

    I agree totally. Three-year-olds get really belligerent after a beer or two.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 09, 2012 @07:08PM (#41602201)

      try a light beer, I find my three year old actually prefers it.

    • by Dishevel (1105119) on Tuesday October 09, 2012 @07:38PM (#41602421)

      Seriously though.
      Government should stay the fuck out of it.
      Parents should raise their children. Maybe if we did not make it free to have kids by picking up the tab for them the less responsible people would have less of them.
      If they want to have the TV babysit their kids they get the kids they raise.
      Give it another 30 years and Government will just take the children after birth and raise them. Can not leave it to parents to raise their own children.

      • by Radtastic (671622) on Tuesday October 09, 2012 @08:01PM (#41602607)

        Seriously though. If they want to have the TV babysit their kids they get the kids they raise.

        Unfortunately, rights surrounding the raising of children can't be as simple as you think they are.

        Everyone else 'gets the kids that you raised' when you do an in adequate job in preparing them for life. Certainly, not in every case, but you can probably link higher incidents of poverty, crime, teen pregnancy, and maybe a dozen more undesired outcomes of which a person's course in life was directed fairly early on in life because of poor parenting.

        • by Belial6 (794905) on Tuesday October 09, 2012 @08:19PM (#41602765)
          Sure, but the parenting that is recommended by the 'experts' is the bad parenting. Even the recommendation that children should have screen time is caused by the 'experts' making conclusions and then looking for evidence to support it. The reason that you see a correlation between poorly developed kids and large screen times isn't due to the screens. It is due to the child being exposed to an extremely limited set of information. You see this behavior across almost all demographics. The parents see that their kid likes a particular video and the parent puts the same program in over and over and over. It truly is a case of correlation instead of causation. It just so happens that TV is the witch that child development 'experts' obsess on hunting.

          Having the government tell people the 'right' way to raise children is just throwing fuel on the fire.
        • Re: (Score:2, Redundant)

          That's true, but I don't know to what degree I want to support it. I am all for using the social good on provable facts. I don't feel that anything in the soft sciences should ever be used as justification for anything, nor do I consider their data to be proof of anything except that they wasted their education on false science. In short I don't trust that these doctors know what is good for kids when it doesn't involve broken bones and viruses.

          We supervise our children carefully, and honestly Nick Jr., Ses

          • by AK Marc (707885) on Tuesday October 09, 2012 @09:33PM (#41603261)

            Their tolerance for parenting is as minimal as a kid of any other age, but they will watch tv and they will keep messing with that phone until it stops working. If you can make sure the TV is playing something reasonable educational, you trick them in to learning.

            The problem with these proclamations is that there is no allowance for things in moderation. It's also easier to measure screen time than book time. And, the researchers are all humans, and we are biased to prefer the way we were raised or are raising our children.

            If 22 hours a day in front of a TV is bad, and 0 hours a day in front of a TV is better, that in no way indicates the interpolation of 1 hour a day is worse than 0 or that 2 hours a day is worse than 1 and better than 3. It may be that there is some number in the middle that's best, and the edge cases are both bad, even if one is worse than the other.

            Or, as others have hinted at but not stated overtly, perhaps it is that TV time negatively correlates with book time. Parents that give their children 8 hours a day of TV give less book time than those who ban children from TV until 18. And it's the book time that causes the measured outcomes, and if they figured out how to give 12 hours of book time and 8 hours of TV time a day, 8 hours a day would be irrelevant to their outcome.

            But they aren't looking for a cause in a logical manner, but looking for things to get published and get funding for more study.

            But for parenting, despite the people that whine about "you aren't their friend, you are their parent" you can more easily parent if you are their friend. I can get my 2 year old to do just about anything. He'll eat foods I ask him to, and he'll run when I say run, and stop when I say stop. And the best thing about reading to them is they learn to like reading, and that's the important thing.

        • by chrismcb (983081)

          ..., but you can probably link higher incidents of poverty, crime, teen pregnancy, and maybe a dozen more undesired outcomes of which a person's course in life was directed fairly early on in life because of poor parenting.

          Sure, that may be true. But even if there is a law that is passed that limits how much tv a child can watch. There will STILL be poor parenting that will lead to those higher incidents.

        • by jandersen (462034) on Wednesday October 10, 2012 @12:58AM (#41604413)

          Certainly, not in every case, but you can probably link higher incidents of poverty, crime, teen pregnancy, and maybe a dozen more undesired outcomes of which a person's course in life was directed fairly early on in life because of poor parenting.

          Sadly, the problem here is poor parenting skills, and it is going to take more than legislation to sort that out. Personally, I think a number of important life skills should be taught in school - parenting being one, but also things like household management (cookery, basic cleaning, family economy etc). And since it actually is a problem, how to handle intoxication and recreational drugs use - it would be far better to approach this subject with a clear and open mind, rather than hushing it up and leaving it to shady characters like we do now.

      • by PopeRatzo (965947) on Tuesday October 09, 2012 @10:53PM (#41603743) Homepage Journal

        Government should stay the fuck out of it.
        Parents should raise their children. Maybe if we did not make it free to have kids by picking up the tab for them the less responsible people would have less of them

        When you say "less responsible", I assume you mean "poor".

        But see, it's not just poor parents who turn out to be shitty parents, and society pays the bill either way.

        It's possible that if parents were doing their job, we wouldn't need government to try to do something it wasn't designed to do and raise their kids for them.

        To be fair to parents, though, when mom and dad both have to work full time it doesn't leave a lot of time and energy for parenting. My friends in Finland who have a couple of kids both are allowed to have extensive time off to take care of the kids without losing their jobs or income. They work for private industry, but that society puts a higher priority on raising kids, I guess. They also have a lot less violent crime (all kinds of crime, actually) and, strangely, greater social mobility than the US.

        Over the past 30 years, the erosion of the middle class has also meant the erosion of all sorts of social metrics. And the one statistic that has the greatest correlation to all those declining social standards is increasing income disparity. Greater inequality, past a certain point (which we passed in the 1980s) causes just about every single measurement of a society's health.

        The problem is not the government. The fact that the government is becoming the family of last resort is just a symptom. The problem is we've got an economic elite that has decided to shit on the social contract, reflected mainly in a corporate ownership class who no longer feels any connection or responsibility to society, because their "global" status has unmoored them from any particular society. They are above all that now, having broken away from any community save the community of the elite. And the rest of society is just eating each other, young ones first.

      • by sjames (1099)

        What government can do is fix the damned economy so that it doesn't require two parents working full time. Then the parents will have the time and energy to do a better job parenting.

        As for government raising kids, if 'the system' found parents raising their kids the way kids 'in the system' are raised, they'd throw the parents in jail and take the kids away.

        • by wierd_w (1375923) on Wednesday October 10, 2012 @05:58AM (#41605393)

          This is a fallacy. Let me help you.

          (Cue cheesy 1950s documentary music.)

          Mr. And Mrs. Smith live in a quiet suburban neighborhood. Mr. Smith has a decent job. Nothing special, Bob Smith just runs a computerized screw press. Mrs. Smith stays at home, watching and caring for their lovely 3 year old daughter Tiffany.

          As little Tiffany grew up, she started primary school, leaving Mrs. Smith with a great deal of unused time on her hands, and a rising food bill for their growing daughter.

          One day, Mrs. Smith approached Mr. Smith about the prospects of taking on a part time job. She'd still be home in time to see their daughter Tiffany come home from school, and to ensure that all the domestic chores were done, and the family would get a little spending money they could use to go on a family vacation some time. Afterall, that's what the Jones family had done.

          Little did Mr and Mrs smith realize, but as the amount of consumer buying power of the median household increases, so too does the cost of various consumer products, due to the intrinsic nature of the lw of supply and demand.

          Here we see a simple graph, depicting the willingness to spend, intersecting the willingness of a merchant to sell.

          As you can clearly see, that as Mr and Mrs smith's financial fortunes improve, their willingness to spend extra on products they routinely buy increases. The natural market reaction to this event, is the inevitable adjusted price offered by merchants.

          Now, Mr. And Mrs. Smith are both required to work. Mr. Smith still works as a screw machine operator, and Mrs. Smith still works part time at the local nursing home. But, now that they are both working, the market has naturally taken advantage of their increased buying power. Now instead of Mrs. Smith working just to help improve their quaity of life, she has to work just to make sure the two of them can pay their bills each month.

          Seeing that the two of them are still struggling financially due to increased costs of living, Mr Smith suggests that Mrs. Smith switch to a full time occupation...

          Now, dear viewers.. where do you suppose this will lead?

          In just 5 years time, Mr and Mrs smith will both be working full time jobs to purchase the same products they have always purchased, and which they were previously purchasing on only a single breadwinning paycheck just 10 years earlier.

          Working a second job, or sending a spouse to work only improves your financial situation in the short term, unless the practice is significantly undesirable that the pactice does not become mainstream.

          Market forces directly mirror, and correlate with the statistical mean of consumer spending and buying power. The very wealthy occupy only a very tiny section of the population distribution; see?

          As such, the very wealthy never truly experience the dramatic decline in their buying power as a result of a financial practice becoming a mainstream idea. Their contribution to the greater statistical game is miniscule, compared to the market forces at work in the median income bracket.

          As a result of Mr. And Mrs. Smith, and their neighbors, the Jones family, the Applebaum family across town, who were previously just barely getting by on Mr. Applebaum's miniscule pay as a waiter at a roadside cafe, are now deeply stricken with povery, as the prices of common and vital consumer goods quickly exceeds their ability to purchase.

          What is a "thriving economy" you ask?

          A thriving economy is one where products are highly available, and merchants feel a modest degree of surety that they will continue to make profits and growth of their business investments. As such, a "thriving economy" is one in which Mr and Mrs Smith, representatives of the majority of the median income bracket, have their income presicely balanced by a highly lucrative and market accepted pricing structure.

          The attempts of Mr and Mrs Smith to climb the ladder of affluence has instead only shifted the status quo, plunging other families into poverty,

          • by sjames (1099)

            In other words, fix the damned economy? You went into a lot more detail than I did, but you are offering a potential solution to do exactly what I said!

            When I say fix the economy, I mean fix it so that it meets our social goals, not improve the 'leading economic indicators' or 'pump up the Dow'. After all, we do not exist to serve the economy, it is the construct and is supposed to serve ALL of us.

            One potential answer would be a Basic Income paid for with a progressive tax. Unlike just fluffing a few indica

    • by notsoanonymouscoward (102492) on Tuesday October 09, 2012 @07:46PM (#41602473) Journal

      In other news, guy with no qualifications makes unqualified statements...

      But the issue is controversial and his opinions and standing are questioned by Dorothy Bishop, professor of developmental neuropsychology at Oxford University who says that although this is an important topic, Sigman's paper is not "an impartial expert review of evidence for effects on health and child development". "Aric Sigman does not appear to have any academic or clinical position, or to have done any original research on this topic," she said. "His comments about impact of screen time on brain development and empathy seem speculative in my opinion, and the arguments that he makes could equally well be used to conclude that children should not read books."

      • And your qualifications are where?
        And your raised how many children?
        And your results were independently certified by whom?

        • by AK Marc (707885) on Tuesday October 09, 2012 @09:38PM (#41603295)

          And your raised how many children?

          I find that to be false, useless and offensive. Before I had kids, I gave my sister advice on more than one occassion. She, like so many others gave the "you don't have children" response. Later, after I had a few of my own, she came back to me and asked if it was what I thought. "Of course it is" was my response. My advice, given as a childless 20-something was correct. It was correct when I was a 20-something with no children. It is correct when I am a 40-something parent. To dismiss good advice because you don't like the source seems absurd, but parents everywhere do it.

          • by Cytotoxic (245301)

            And your raised how many children?

            I find that to be false, useless and offensive. Before I had kids, I gave my sister advice on more than one occassion. She, like so many others gave the "you don't have children" response. ... My advice, given as a childless 20-something was correct. ... To dismiss good advice because you don't like the source seems absurd, but parents everywhere do it.

            As a 40-something parent I agree. But I will also add that being a parent teaches you quite a bit of humility and not to judge other parent's choices too quickly. Kids will teach you what they need - and every kid is different. Often very, very different. I have friends who don't put their 5 year old down until after 9. Seems to work for them. I wouldn't do that with my kids for anything - on the rare occasions they have to be up late we pay for it for 2-3 days afterwords. So depending on who's lookin

            • by AK Marc (707885)
              Yes, the children are little people, with unique personalities from birth. And the instant uniqueness is something that's hard to understand for a childless person who sees babies as generally universal (they all looked the same before my own, now they do look a little different), but having childcare experience and a psychology degree, I had some theories about people interactions that I generalized to children that I'd offer when appropriate, but it's like being an atheist in church. You may be right, b
      • But it well known that Dorothy Bishop is a tool of big screens.

    • by flyingsquid (813711) on Wednesday October 10, 2012 @12:27AM (#41604271)

      Doctors and government health officials should set limits, as they do for alcohol on the amount of time children spend watching screens

      I agree totally. Three-year-olds get really belligerent after a beer or two.

      Really? Mine usually asks the girl next door if she'd like to come over and play doctor. She always says no, then he gets moody and quietly stares into his sippy cup. After that, it's outside, and after a couple of laps around the yard in his Power Wheels, he usually ends up hitting the rhododendron.

      I guess every kid is a bit different. But that's what makes being a parent so great!

  • by phrackwulf (589741) on Tuesday October 09, 2012 @06:51PM (#41602007) Homepage

    The real consequence of those "Baby Einstein" tapes now becomes clear. I also don't see television as something inherently bad for kids. But too much of anything is often poisonous. Television takes up time that could better be spent running around playing tag or staring at lego blocks thinking about making neat things, or playing with my little pony, in some of, um our cases. Hopefully this starts to re-inject some sanity into the mix.

    • by peragrin (659227) on Tuesday October 09, 2012 @07:03PM (#41602125)

      I have had the chance to watch two different sets of parents raise two different sets of kids.(friends vs family)

      One set watched TV had mcdonalds occasionally, played video games.

      The other set all of the above was either banned or discouraged( TV watching was discouraged).

      Neither group was really religious(you can count the number of times both groups went to church on one hand)

      The kids with minimal TV, while not necessarily smarter are generally calmer, and listen better to their parents.

      the interaction of parent and adult at the young age at this point seems to be the trick(the oldest child is 7)
      As far as learning, the kids without TV are able to deal with complex puzzles(for their age at least) quite easily.

      of course 4 kids 2 from each family is hardly noteworthy for standard deviation.

      • by Belial6 (794905) on Tuesday October 09, 2012 @08:53PM (#41603023)
        Your description betrays your bias. You listed TV, McDonalds, and Video Games. These combined with corporal punishment are the four horsemen of the child development apocalypse. You have been bombarded with the idea that these things are the root of all childhood ills so heavily, that you just assume that they are the reasons for children's problems.

        My experience with kids listening across many dozens of families has lined up 100% with whether the parent is clear on their expectations, and consistent on making sure the child does what the parent tells them. I have seen plenty of kids that watch lots of TV, play plenty of video games and eat McDonalds regularly who are well behaved and generally calm. I have also seen plenty of kids that don't have a TV, don't play video games, and never eat fast food who are holy terrors. The behavior, good or bad has always lined up with the behavior of the parents.

        With the ability to solve complex puzzles, I have seen the not surprising correlation with the complexity of the concepts and games they are exposed to. Whether playing video games, or not, the kids that were presented with complex puzzles got better at them. Those that were not presented with complex puzzles did not. We see the same thing with TV programming. Every show that a kid watches presents new information. When a child only sees one program looped over and over, they very quickly learn everything they are going to from that program. Once they have done that, they might as well be staring at a wall. Put a kid staring at wall for 8 hours a day for a few years, and you can bet that they will not be as good at solving complex puzzles as well as a kid that has spent that same amount of time solving a wide range of puzzles on their computer.
    • by buchner.johannes (1139593) on Tuesday October 09, 2012 @07:20PM (#41602295) Homepage Journal

      The American Academy of Pediatrics' issued a recommendation in 2001 that children under two should be discouraged from watching television at all: http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/107/2/423.full [aappublications.org]

      Research has shown primary negative health effects on violence and aggressive behavior7–12; sexuality7,13–15; academic performance16; body concept and self-image17–19; nutrition, dieting, and obesity17,20,21; and substance use and abuse patterns.7

      Pediatricians should recommend the following guidelines for parents:

              Limit children's total media time (with entertainment media) to no more than 1 to 2 hours of quality programming per day.

              Remove television sets from children's bedrooms.

              Discourage television viewing for children younger than 2 years, and encourage more interactive activities that will promote proper brain development, such as talking, playing, singing, and reading together.
              [...]
              View television programs along with children, and discuss the content. [...]

              Encourage alternative entertainment for children, including reading, athletics, hobbies, and creative play.

    • by k6mfw (1182893) on Tuesday October 09, 2012 @07:21PM (#41602305)
      when I was a young child, we had only one tv set. It was in the living room and only received about two stations I think. It was mainly tuned to boring shows, the kind that parents like to watch. So I had to spend my time building things i.e. Erector Sets, which later I began tinkering around with electrical stuff including making the mistake of cutting a lamp cord while it was still plugged in ("bang!"). Grew up to become an engineer.
      • Grew up to become an engineer

        Odd, I always assumed that becoming an engineer was something we did to avoid growing up...

    • by fm6 (162816) on Tuesday October 09, 2012 @07:21PM (#41602309) Homepage Journal

      The real consequence of those "Baby Einstein" tapes now becomes clear.

      Huh? Is that sarcasm? Or what? You seem to be assuming that there's some ironical fact that obvious to everybody, but it ain't obvious to me

      I also don't see television as something inherently bad for kids.

      Well, TFA gives several reasons why developmental psychologists think it is. Care to share why you think they're wrong, or is this just more obvious stuff everybody's supposed to know?

      But too much of anything is often poisonous. Television takes up time that could better be spent running around playing tag or...

      OK, I'm sure we can all agree that too much of a good thing is a bad thing. That doesn't change the act that very little of a bad thing is a bad thing.

    • by Guru80 (1579277)
      What's even more ridiculous than you finding away to bring your pony fetish into this is the fact that a study even had to be done to confirm this. Welcome to the wonderful world of getting paid to study the obvious.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 09, 2012 @06:52PM (#41602013)

    We need to fire Big Bird.

    • Yo, Yo... y'all don't step to my bloods Biggie B and Tinky Winky.. dawg! Me and Tinky be down, straight old school. You don't want my homies back out lookin for the GTA in the Sesame Hood. Where's the love?

      • My boy Tinky got three shorties and ain't seen none of the weak, frontin baby girls down on Sesame got it on and burnt a brother, playa! Biggie B be steppin up with the mad love, got Tinky his second job workin body guard for Ice Cube on the weekends. You know we down.

        • by wierd_w (1375923)

          Shit nigga! Everyone know that fake rappa T-winky ain't no blood! Nigga cant decide if he wearin' red or blue! Sheet!

          I hear he mean deala though. Nigga's got more crack in that bag than oprah got on her ass!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 09, 2012 @06:55PM (#41602047)

    We don't have enough laws pertaining to how we parent children. PASS MORE NOW PLEASE!

    I want a government official to come to my home and verify how much TV my little girl watches every day. It's important that this happens because I'm a moron and can't control myself. I also assume you are even dumber and perhaps the best thing to do would be to just take all the children away and have the government deal with them. They could return them once they're all grown up.

  • by flyneye (84093) on Tuesday October 09, 2012 @06:56PM (#41602067) Homepage

    C'mon, I took my first television set apart by 3. Sissies!
    Keep them away from strong magnets, Tesla coils, acids and bases.
    Some realistic adults should take control here, please.

  • by gmhowell (26755) <gmhowell@gmail.com> on Tuesday October 09, 2012 @06:57PM (#41602071) Homepage Journal

    I'm just gonna leave the obligatory Onion article [theonion.com] here. (Note, at the time I began composing this, nobody else had posted a link, nor had the inevitable "I don't own/watch a tv" posts started"

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      What happens when an obligatory Onion article and an obligatory XKCD comic collide?

  • I'm fine... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Doctor_Jest (688315) on Tuesday October 09, 2012 @07:03PM (#41602129)
    I watched TV for years... mom would set me in front of the boob tube in my swing and I turned out jim dandy. The upside is I can remember tons and tons of commercial jingles, usually while sitting down ironically enough.

    Seriously though, limits are important. Limits set by parents. The Nanny State is quite adamant about making sure they are involved in your private lives. Too many people simply surrender control to the almighty state. It's baffling.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Too many people simply surrender control to the almighty state. It's baffling.

      Why is it baffling? These are the same people who can't drag themselves or their children away from the almighty TV.

      Why should children and the society that they will inhabit suffer because their parents are too incompetent to set limits? Anti-government paranoia uber-alles?

      • by epyT-R (613989)

        More like pro darwin. Why should my life choices be restricted to legislated white lists because someone else is stupid? The limitations on my existence at this point are mostly defined by pointless legislation and a general whitewashing/dumbing down of my choices..

    • by Longjmp (632577) on Tuesday October 09, 2012 @07:46PM (#41602483)

      I watched TV for years...

      And now you ended up on slashdot, makes you think, doesn't it? ;-)

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Too many people simply surrender control to the almighty state. It's baffling.

      You do realize that under a functional democratic government, the will of the state is approximately the same as the will of a majority of its people, right? So it's hardly baffling that people want to do what they think ought to be done anyway, and for the majority who support the state position, it happens to coincide with what the state wants. I suppose it might look like "surrender" to someone who doesn't understand how the state works. The minority is free to complain, protest, sway public opinion,

      • by russotto (537200)

        You do realize that under a functional democratic government, the will of the state is approximately the same as the will of a majority of its people, right?

        If so, there's rarely been a functional democratic government.

        The great victory of democracy is that the state is us, not them.

        That is a lie they tell you to legitimize their power.

      • by Z34107 (925136)

        You do realize that under a functional democratic government, the will of the state is approximately the same as the will of a majority of its people, right?

        That's better known as "mob rule," and is exactly why no first-world country is a democracy. You should question your "majority rules, might makes right" thesis, if only because what majorities of your countrymen can be found to believe.

        Posting from what I'm sure you consider a "sham republic."

    • I always wonder about people who say they ended up fine. I mean, I ended up fine, but holy crap you could ask a murderous psychopath and he would tell you he ended up fine. Self-diagnosing really isn't indicative of anything....
  • From TFA (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 09, 2012 @07:03PM (#41602133)

    The study says that a lack of interaction is the root cause of the issue, and there is a pretty obvious rebuttal in TFA:

    But the issue is controversial and his opinions and standing are questioned by Dorothy Bishop, professor of developmental neuropsychology at Oxford University who says that although this is an important topic, Sigman's paper is not "an impartial expert review of evidence for effects on health and child development". "Aric Sigman does not appear to have any academic or clinical position, or to have done any original research on this topic," she said. "His comments about impact of screen time on brain development and empathy seem speculative in my opinion, and the arguments that he makes could equally well be used to conclude that children should not read books."

  • Probably adults too. (Score:4, Informative)

    by bored (40072) on Tuesday October 09, 2012 @07:03PM (#41602135)

    Everyone has been saying that adults need to limit their exposure to tv as well, based on the idea that sitting around for extended periods of time can cause health problems.

    Based on personal experience, I suspect that those studies showing extremely low levels of brain activity in people watching TV is also going to result in eventual proof that watching TV actually makes people dumber. Your brain needs "exercise" the same way as the rest of your body. So instead of having hobbies, or playing sports people just sit around and let the TV fill their eyes/ears. Of course this is going to be reflected in a "dumbing down" of society in general as those hours are taking up time that might have been spent on more stimulating activities.

    • Your brain needs relaxation too - TV's no different than reading a book or any other mostly passive activity. The secret, of course, is moderation.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        Your brain needs relaxation too - TV's no different than reading a book or any other mostly passive activity.

        Citation?

        TV is the product of decades of study to find ways to keep you watching, indefinitely if possible. It is the junk food of entertainments -- highly engineered to push every available button that will keep you consuming, with zero regard for the impact of that consumption on the consumers health or well being.

        How is it "relaxing" to be assailed by an endless stream of manipulative messages designed to stimulate all manner of consumption, often by promoting various anxieties?

        • by The Good Reverend (84440) <michael@mic h r i s . c om> on Tuesday October 09, 2012 @07:49PM (#41602501) Homepage Journal

          No, "TV" is a device that allows me to watch visual and audio stimuli - it's unrelated to the content, which is what you're describing. I choose what I put on my television, and I'm sorry if you've only been exposed to the kind of programming you've described.

          Also, everything you've just discussed can be said for books (and many websites, for that matter). Are you giving up reading and internet surfing, too?

          • No, "TV" is a device that allows me to watch visual and audio stimuli - it's unrelated to the content, which is what you're describing.

            The content I am describing is the "audio and visual stimuli" that you are referring to. The point is that while people could stare at a blank screen or specialized patters of relaxing audio and visual stimuli, that is not what most people watch on TV.

            Also, everything you've just discussed can be said for books (and many websites, for that matter). Are you giving up reading and internet surfing, too?

            Give up books? Of course not, because a book is just a collection of pieces of paper bound together. A book is unrelated to the content printed within.

    • by jd2112 (1535857)
      I submit the Kardashians and Honey Boo Boo as evidence to support your claim.
    • I was thinking that at least one zero got dropped from both the /. headline and the article. Judging from some of the responses defending the boob tube, I rest my case.

      Cheers,
      Dave

  • by M0j0_j0j0 (1250800) on Tuesday October 09, 2012 @07:04PM (#41602145)

    As always the same rule applies, less laws, more education.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 09, 2012 @07:06PM (#41602181)

    TV makes you stupid. I've been saying that for years. I'm one of those people that grew up without a TV. I don't typically share this information with people (I don't like being "that guy"), but it seems relevant...

    As a child, it irked me that I didn't have any context for understanding the TV shows that all my friends were watching. As a teenager, I found it difficult to fit in, since I didn't have TV to insert fashion trends and pop cultural phenomena into my consciousness.

    As an adult, however, I consider my parents' choice to not have a TV in the household to be one of the best child-rearing decisions they made. Why? Hard to say, but to sum it up, I'm smarter and more motivated than my peers. Instead of anesthetizing myself on the couch with the mindless tripe you find on TV, I read books and study topics that are of interest to me. I actively seek out information about what is going on in the world, rather than having news/opinions (it's hard to separate the two, if you get such information from TV) spoon-fed to me. It amazes me that people piss away their lives watching garbage that is, as far as I can tell, designed solely to make you consume while simultaneously making you unhappy with your life.

    If you have a TV near you, turn it on for a second and count the number of seconds in between scene changes (where what you are watching switches to a different camera, angle, perspective, etc.). In a lot of the media consumed by kids/teens today, that interval is often 0-5 seconds. Reflect, for a moment, on what that might do to one's capacity for attention and focus.

    There is a huge disconnect between what is portrayed on television and actual reality. Since kids today are socialized primarily by the media, this ought to be cause for at least some level of concern. Whenever I see people on TV (especially the talking heads), my first thought is always "People don't look like that".

    And don't get me started on advertising.

    my opinions on this matter, summed up: people ought to be more discriminating when it comes to what they are willing to expose their consciousness to.

    • by k6mfw (1182893)

      >As a teenager, I found it difficult to fit in, since I didn't have TV to insert fashion trends and pop cultural phenomena into my consciousness.

      You sound like this guy I met from Ukraine. He said growing up he didn't fit in because he had no interest in drinking and partying, so he worked his way through school with goal of moving away which he now lives in Silicon Valley.

    • by circletimessquare (444983) <circletimessquare AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday October 09, 2012 @08:36PM (#41602895) Homepage Journal

      If you have a TV near you, turn it on for a second and count the number of seconds in between scene changes (where what you are watching switches to a different camera, angle, perspective, etc.). In a lot of the media consumed by kids/teens today, that interval is often 0-5 seconds. Reflect, for a moment, on what that might do to one's capacity for attention and focus.

      What the hell is that supposed to mean?

      Apparently a childhood of not watching TV turns people into smug egomaniacs who believe rubbish because it makes them feel better about themselves.

      That sentence, that I just wrote, is ridiculous nonsense.

      It is ridiculous nonsense on equal par in terms of what you just wrote.

      The only difference is I have a data point of 1 to support my rubbish assertion.

    • TV makes you stupid. I've been saying that for years. I'm one of those people that grew up without a TV. I don't typically share this information with people (I don't like being "that guy"), but it seems relevant...

      I grew up watching TV, even today if I am home, the TV is on, even if I'm not paying attention.

      As an adult, however, I consider my parents' choice to not have a TV in the household to be one of the best child-rearing decisions they made. Why? Hard to say, but to sum it up, I'm smarter and more motivated than my peers. Instead of anesthetizing myself on the couch with the mindless tripe you find on TV, I read books and study topics that are of interest to me.

      By the time I was in 3rd grade, I was getting in trouble reading books in class. In the 4th grade I was reading adult, science themed books such as Michael Crichton, and could follow along with the plot and science. My elementary school has about a 5-6 book box set on the Vietnam War; I read that 3-4 times. By 4th grade I was in the advanced program, which continued on through middle school and I enrolled in a M

    • by argStyopa (232550)

      ".... to sum it up, I'm smarter and more motivated than my peers. Instead of anesthetizing myself on the couch with the mindless tripe you find on TV, I read books and study topics that are of interest to me. I actively seek out information about what is going on in the world, rather than having news/opinions (it's hard to separate the two, if you get such information from TV) spoon-fed to me....."

      You sound like the sort of asshole that didn't get even the basic socialization you'd have gotten watching tv

  • Enforcement (Score:4, Interesting)

    by cervesaebraciator (2352888) on Tuesday October 09, 2012 @07:07PM (#41602185)
    What's the point of attempting to regulate behavior like this if it's utterly impossible to enforce? Or, what might even be worse, what's the point in trying to enforce a regulation when doing so--if it were possible--would cause more harm than not doing so? Let us imagine a likely scenario: lower income parents, tired by working three jobs, gives in and decides to use a television for a while to quiet an unruly toddler (for why the toddler is so unruly, see how much the parents work and ask where the child must be). This is against the law. If we regulate this in the same way as alcohol, parents who are a repeat offenders might well lose their children. Is the life of a broken family really an improvement over the previous condition?
    • by mark-t (151149)
      It would be sort of "enforced" by banning the broadcasting of television programs which are specifically engineered to appeal to that demographic. Programs which currently target such audiences would have to be redesigned to be oriented more towards children who are perhaps just about to start school. While children under 3 might still be exposed to such programs, the lack of any content explicitly geared for infants and toddlers could nonetheless make some difference.
  • Some TV is fine (Score:5, Insightful)

    by GreatDrok (684119) on Tuesday October 09, 2012 @07:07PM (#41602193) Journal

    Don't park your kid in front of a TV all day, but a little TV has to be fine. We would go insane if we didn't have some down time while the TV provided entertainment. The main thing we do is stick to DVDs rather than live TV to limit exposure to all those adverts.

    • by Mitreya (579078)

      The main thing we do is stick to DVDs rather than live TV to limit exposure to all those adverts.

      And how is that working out for you? Between the "Don't steal that DVD" and about 10-20 minutes of un-skippable previews and sometimes even commercials, I feel that I get at least a decent dose of ads from most DVDs.

      And don't get me started on the increasingly common ads (not previews - ads!) in movie theaters.

      I don't know where I can get commercial-free (and legal) content nowdays (netflix?).

    • by tbird81 (946205)

      DVDs?
      Here's a secret:
      http://thepiratebay.se/ [thepiratebay.se]

  • by slew (2918) on Tuesday October 09, 2012 @07:08PM (#41602199)

    Apparently, this guy (psychologist Dr. Aric Sigman) apparently has lots of agendas...

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1149207/How-using-Facebook-raise-risk-cancer.html [dailymail.co.uk]

    Not saying that TV is good for you, but sometimes you have to look at the source of this stuff and wonder how seriously to take it...

  • Yeah Limits! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by U8MyData (1281010) on Tuesday October 09, 2012 @07:11PM (#41602227)
    I think there should be limits on Doctors and government officials constantly drumming up studies on what is good for us. We know already and the vascillations of these studies is way more harmful to my mental health and well being than say TV ever would be. Get the hell out of my and others business.
  • by geekoid (135745) <dadinportlandNO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Tuesday October 09, 2012 @07:11PM (#41602231) Homepage Journal

    look up the guy who ran the study before giving any merit to this study based on an article, or even the conclusions of the study.

  • by l0ungeb0y (442022) on Tuesday October 09, 2012 @07:13PM (#41602237) Homepage Journal

    Any study taken by the Police State formally known as Great Britain that strives to set a course for conduct within the household should be viewed as suspect. Immediately, I would think this is little more than a ploy to goad Parliament into passing a whole new set of overreaching laws to invade the privacy of citizens households to insure that "children are being brought up in a safe environment that encourages good social behavior". Hefty fines and jail times for letting your children watch TV before the gov't sanctioned age limit is not at all far fetched based on what I've seen from that fascist Nanny-State as of late.

  • Not science based (Score:5, Informative)

    by Hatta (162192) on Tuesday October 09, 2012 @07:17PM (#41602267) Journal

    This is one of the most artful academic smackdowns I've read:

    But the issue is controversial and his opinions and standing are questioned by Dorothy Bishop, professor of developmental neuropsychology at Oxford University who says that although this is an important topic, Sigman's paper is not "an impartial expert review of evidence for effects on health and child development". "Aric Sigman does not appear to have any academic or clinical position, or to have done any original research on this topic," she said. "His comments about impact of screen time on brain development and empathy seem speculative in my opinion, and the arguments that he makes could equally well be used to conclude that children should not read books."

    Read this as "Clinicians have no idea how to do meta-analysis. He's making this shit up".

    • by Kittenman (971447)

      This is one of the most artful academic smackdowns I've read:

      But the issue is controversial and his opinions and standing are questioned by Dorothy Bishop, professor of developmental neuropsychology at Oxford University who says that although this is an important topic, Sigman's paper is not "an impartial expert review of evidence for effects on health and child development". "Aric Sigman does not appear to have any academic or clinical position, or to have done any original research on this topic," she said. "His comments about impact of screen time on brain development and empathy seem speculative in my opinion, and the arguments that he makes could equally well be used to conclude that children should not read books."

      Read this as "Clinicians have no idea how to do meta-analysis. He's making this shit up".

      Nicely put. And I mean really.

  • by julian67 (1022593) on Tuesday October 09, 2012 @07:19PM (#41602281)

    ...when you take it from my soft, warm, vomit stinking, slippery, snotty, infectious podgy hands.

    waaaaah.

    I am 45 and three quarters.

  • I have good friends, that are completely insane, that had their first child 2 years ago at the age of 45. And the TV is on 24/7 to entertain the child. It's insane enough to have a kid at that old age, but they dont have the energy to actually raise the child, so the TV will do.

  • An unqualified moron publishes paper full of hearsay and speculation.

    It pays to read the article cited.

  • but this was back when it was "radio with pictures" and they had text cards up with the bulletin points when they were reading ad scripts.

    nowdays, it's babes making out with hamburgers and there is no direct correlation.

  • It's been a tough week for Big Bird.

    From the article ...
    Sigman goes further, suggesting no screen time for the under-threes, rising gradually to a maximum of two hours for the over-16s.
    I'm sorry Mrs Jones. I couldn't finish my history report because I spent my two hours of screen time on math and biology.

  • by bennomatic (691188) on Tuesday October 09, 2012 @07:49PM (#41602495) Homepage
    I appreciate the guidelines, but to some degree, the best guideline is: Don't be an idiot; pay attention to your kid, and if you see signs of a problem, be a parent and change what your kid is allowed to do.

    I've got a 3.5 year-old, and in his first few months of infancy, we could totally watch TV while holding him, let him loll around on the floor and play while the TV was on, and he didn't even pay attention to it. He was much more interested in Mom and me, and even more so, his little musical toys.

    But at about six months, my wife was watching the news while feeding him, and suddenly he turned away from the boob and looked at the TV like, "WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN ALL MY LIFE?!?!" And immediately, we knew that he couldn't watch TV.

    We kept him away from all TV for about another year and a half, when the nanny who was helping out two mornings a week went down to one morning a week (and eventually none), and if the house was going to stay tidy, my wife needed a distraction. Since he was two, we introduced him to Netflix and Dora the Explorer.

    On a normal day, he gets one episode of whatever his current favorite show is (currently Blues Clues). It's always educational, and the little guy is totally OK with it. Sometimes he gets bored, shuts down the laptop and announces he's done and goes right to his Legos. The only times he watches more than one a day are when he's sick with a cold and we're trying to keep him in bed.

    The first time he ever watched a full-length movie (Cars 2) was, coincidentally, when he was 3. We all had a family cold, and I needed to get some additional sleep. He loves his toy cars, so I figured he'd love the movie, and I told him that since he's such a big boy, he could watch that. He loved it, and it's been a great tool to have, for example, on a recent road trip we did. He wouldn't have made it all the way to Tahoe without Cars 2. The funny thing is that in the last couple of weeks, he's been asking just to see specific scenes in the evenings. Five or 10 minutes, and he's done. He's got more self-control than I did any time before the age of 30.

    But not all kids are like that. Some will always have a problem, some will never have a problem. Maybe we got lucky, maybe we actually did the right thing by removing exposure between 6- and 24 months. I don't know, since I can't do the experiment. But I feel pretty strongly that a good, engaged parent can take big steps towards mitigating any problems with screen time just by remaining engaged.

    Believe me, "remaining engaged" is easier said than done at some points in a child's development--parenthood can be pretty demanding--but even a C-grade level of engagement is better than an A+ enforcement of a blanket rule. If you take that sort of stimulation away from a kid who can handle it, you might be missing great opportunities for learning: my kid's got an incredible vocabulary because of Dora, Diego, Dinosaur Train, Blues Clues and Cars 2; my wife and I can certainly take some credit, but there are things he says that we know we didn't teach him directly; there's got to be some value there.
  • ...how will we babysit our kids?

    Geeze, sorry Big Bird, looks like you're out of a job.

  • by retroworks (652802) on Tuesday October 09, 2012 @08:05PM (#41602645) Homepage Journal

    Just "TV is bad, m'kay?"

    My wife and I let our twins watch only tapes, no broadcast TV, until they were about 5. Musicals and foreign films and animated movies (Fantasia, Jungle Book, etc). Oh, and only in French... we went to Montreal and bought all the videos in French only. Both kids are now fluent in French/English and speak Spanish as a third language, now studying Latin. The point being, the article says it's the amount of TV and the age of the kid and seems to assume all TV is the same... Fiddler On the Roof, Clockwork Orange, Japanese Anime, Sesame Street, Fox News, content makes no difference? That's like saying all food is the same, and it doesn't matter what you eat only how old you are when you eat it. Maybe the study covers it and the Guardian reporter just forgot to ask, as it is, it's a stupid article. But put a government regulation in without any control group study and you are asking for problems.

    • by rsilvergun (571051) on Tuesday October 09, 2012 @10:16PM (#41603521)
      that human beings at that age are learning to interact with the world, and TV if fundamentally non interactive. You're obviously putting a LOT of effort into raising your children, which is good for them. But is it possible that they're succeeding despite Television, and that it's your hard work that's making them a success?
  • by manoweb (1993306) on Tuesday October 09, 2012 @10:07PM (#41603471)
    Not only small kids but all humans are better off without a TV. I do not own one since 2004 and I would NEVER go back. My wife (back by girlfriend) at the beginning was skeptical and then realized how much better it was compared to when she was in her shared apartment. My kids are growing without a TV and don't even show the need for one. The problem is grandma when she wants to show teletubbies or other utter crap like that. Shame on the people that make those programs. Instead, we watch cartoons on the internet from time to time, good old stuff, not the modern silly cartoons. Heidi, Fist of the North Star.

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