Over the years, many have debated about the effects of letting your kids watch TV or play computer games for prolonged hours. Some will argue that many TV programs or computer games today are quite educational and are indeed, very helpful for the young minds. Surfing through television channels, you can immediately find programs that are intended to impart learning such as Science or History Channels. There are also educational computer games such as Scrabble, Chess, word related games, analytical games, puzzles, and many more. However, experts will tell you that watching TV and allowing your child to play computer games have detrimental effects on the brains of young children.
You might say that watching TV or playing video games is alright as long as a guardian is around to check on the kind of games that kids play or the TV shows that they watch. Needless to say, exposing young kids to video games and TV shows that depict sex and violence can have a big effect on their development. Children may adapt what they watch on TV or see in video games and may even normalize harmful behavior if that is what they regularly see on their games and TV shows. For instance, the popular Tom and Jerry cartoons can be quite funny, however, experts and parents alike have been alarmed at the violence shown by the two characters. Tom hits Jerry, Jerry strikes back and people that watch this show can surely laugh about their attempts to murder each other. Many video games show harmful behavior too such as sword fighting, armed combat, and shooting. Children that watch TV shows or play video games like these, may think that hitting others is normal and is, in fact, okay because people find it funny or entertaining to watch. So then, just don’t let your kids watch violent programs or play violent games right?
Child psychologists can tell you that it is not just actually the kind of shows or video games that you expose your kids to that affect their brains negatively. It is the fact that they watch TV or play video games at all. Letting young children as young as 2 years old to middle school ages watch TV or video games can hinder their brain development. By the young age of 1 to 2 years old, brain training happens and young minds need to take in a lot of things around them. This time of a child’s life is crucial as this is the point when skills, preferences, personality, reasoning, and creativity take shape. This is the time when their young minds progress and playing video games or watching TV can negatively affect how their brains will grow. When a child is at this age, he or she should be engaged in various activities such as exploring, reading, running around, interacting with people, fantasy play, creating and building, and so on.
Consider the following studies made on the effects of TV and video games to children:
• At this young age, reading will open the imagination and will allow the brain to visualize situations and objects. Permitting the child to watch TV for more than 2 hours a day or more can alter and even hinder the brain’s advancement because there is no longer left for imagination when all is made available visually in the TV.
• Kids should engage in all sorts of physical activities such as running, skipping, swimming, riding a bike, etc. Studies have shown that children that watch more than 2 hours of TV a day or those that play PC games all the time have higher chances of becoming obese. Children that enjoy outdoor activities become physically fit and are generally healthier.
• Children that spend most of their time outside to play develop better social skills that they can use as they grow up. Kids that are used to playing PC games or watching TV starting from a young age tend to keep to themselves and become less sociable.
• PC games are fun and very entertaining. However, children can become addicted to playing PC games. This addiction will prohibit them from enjoying other activities and this will result to a limit in their experiences as children
• When you allow young kids to play PC games at a very young age, your child may start to develop wrist injuries such the carpal tunnel syndrome. Your child can suffer from this painful injury until he or she grows older.
• Vision problems are common for kids that learn to play PC games early or watch TV for hours daily.
• Children that did not grow up on watching TV or playing PC games had more concentration, were less hyperactive, and were more independent. They can sit still and read in a corner without the need for constant attention from their parents.
In conclusion, The American Academy of pediatrics recommend that children under two should have no TV hours, and those over that age should have limited TV viewing time, preferably 1 to 2 hours a day only, totaling to a maximum of only 10 hours in a week.