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Does TV Damage Your Brain?

Jul 07, 2015

Ah, sweet television. Who doesn't love spending a rainy weekend catching up on hours of the Vampire Diaries? Watching too much television or spending too much time in front of your iPad or video game console can be damaging, though, and here's why! 

Brain Development

There's a reason that children under the age of two aren't supposed to watch any television at all, and children over the age of two should be restricted to one or two hours of electronic media time per day. The early years of your life are incredibly important for brain development, and in order for the brain to develop properly, it needs to be stimulated by a variety of different activities. Sure, there are educational shows on television, but let's be honest - most of the programming we tune in to serves as entertainment rather than as a chance for learning. 

Take a break from the remote!Take a break from the remote!Courtesy of Huffington Post

Physical Development

Even if you justify your television watching habits by claiming that everything you watch is educational, there are negative physical aspects to too much television that can't be ignored. Children who spend four hours or more in front of a screen each day are much more likely to develop weight problems such as obesity, which can lead to other significant health programs like immobility and heart failure. Your body needs to be active, especially when your motor skills are still developing. Watch an hour of your favorite show, then think about heading outside to climb a tree, go for a swim, or go for a walk with a friend or your dog. Your body will thank you!

Get outside and walk your dog!Get outside and walk your dog!Courtesy of My Darling Theo

Critical Thinking

While you're watching TV, you're processing a lot more information than you might think. Not only are you taking in some of the educational material, as well as the characters and storyline of whatever you're watching, you're also internalizing what the show you're watching is telling you about gender roles, racial stereotypes, preferred consumer products, and something unrealistic standards of family and romance. The very best thing you can for yourself when watching TV is to question what you are seeing. Talk about what you've been watching with your friends, parents, or teaching. What you see on television is almost never normal, not even when you're watching reality TV. You need to actually take the time to think about what you're watching and see how you really feel about it. You might find that you don't like some aspects of your favorite shows, and that's okay. You'll probably decide to watch it anyway to enjoy some total escapism, which is also fine. Just don't forget to think!

Question what you're watching!Question what you're watching!Courtesy of Parenthetical

As with all aspects of life, the key to a healthy television habit is moderation. You don't have to stop watching TV or playing games altogether. Go ahead, read that celebrity news! Just keep your brain awake while you're doing it, and be sure to make time for all the other things that life has to offer. 

Have Your Say!

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