Does TV rot the brain of a child glued to the screen more than an hour or two a day, as many parents fear? (. The group .)

According to brain scientist Daphne Bavelier, the effects of television depend completely on the quality of the TV kids watch. In her study, Bavelier argues that content quality varies as widely as the nutritional value of different foods. Many television programs foster cognitive gains, she reports, while others decidedly do not. For example, Dora the Explorer is associated with an increase in vocabulary and expressive language skills; Blue’s Clues and Clifford the Big Red Dog offer similar benefits. Teletubbies, however, is linked to decreases in both.

Just say no — to SpongeBob?

Here are two more programs for your do’s and don’ts list: Sesame StreetCô gắi dễ thương is consistently associated with school readiness, vocabulary size, and numeracy skills. Effective educational shows like this can, according to .” MRI scans find that viewers of the show , which correlates to verbal abilities. On the change-the-channel side, University of Virginia researcher Angeline Lillard determined that .

Cô gắi dễ thươngA 2001 . The authors of the study conclude with an anti-McLuhan opinion: “The medium of television is not homogeneous or monolithic, and content viewed is more important than raw amount. The medium is not the message: the message is.” Their report reveals that “viewing educational programs as preschoolers was associated with higher grades, reading more books, placing more value on achievement, greater creativity, and less aggression.”

Cô gắi dễ thươngIn any case, it’s safe to conclude that two hours per day of television for children is plenty — even if it is high-quality programming.

What about screen violence?

Decades of reports suggest that . A 1982 study by the National Institute of Mental Health says children viewing violence on television become less sensitive to the pain and suffering of others; it also suggests they may be more fearful of the world around them and more likely to behave in aggressive or harmful ways toward others. Additionally, researchers say elementary school children watching violence on TV exhibit more aggressive behavior when they’re teenagers and are more likely to be arrested for criminal acts as adults.

Ban TV binges

Overall, research shows that TV binging is hazardous for the developing brain. A 2013 Japanese report published in Cerebral Cortex claims . A 2005 study correlating mirrors a 1986 meta-analysis that indicated more than .”

Cô gắi dễ thươngCopious TV doesn’t only damage GPA. A , receive a diagnosis of antisocial personality disorder, or exhibit aggressive behavior than those who watched less television. A 2002 Turkish study determined that and was linked to social problems and aggressive and delinquent behavior. Excessive , according to a 2009 study, particularly in young men.

But don’t despair, not all the news about TV and the brain is sobering. It turns out that comedies have brain-boosting value. Seriously! Processing humor, notes a involved in incongruity resolution and . What about reality TV? Does it have a shred of redeeming value? It turns out that it does — sort of. Psychologist Christopher J. Ferguson conducted a study of 1,141 as well as to “expectations of respect in dating relationships.” Less surprising was the link between reality TV viewing and an increased interest in appearance and prioritization of fame over other values.

Also in this series:

Your child’s brain on technology: video games
Our kids are awash in technology 24/7 — should we worry about the effects on their developing brains?brain.

Your child’s brain on technology: cell phones
How much do we know about the hazards of cell phones? Find out in part three of our ongoing series on technology and your child’s brain.

Your child’s brain on technology: social media
Social media isn’t going anywhere, so as parents we to need consider how it affects kids’ developing minds and determine what role we want it to play in our children’s lives.

Your child’s brain on technology: tablet
How do e-readers and tablets compare to good ole print-on-paper books when it comes to learning? Find out in part 4 of our series on tech and your child’s brain.

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Updated: December 5, 2019