NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


February 21, 2007

Dr. Aric Sigman, an Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society and a Member of the Institute of Biology, says that the research shows too much TV can contribute to a range of childhood physiological and mental health problems, according to Medical News Today.

According to Dr. Sigman:

  • Too much TV watching causes short-sightedness and disrupts hormonal balance and leads to increased risk of cancer and premature puberty.
  • It also slows down the metabolism which is linked to increase in obesity and type 2 diabetes.
  • In addition, mental problems linked to too much TV viewing include autism, poor concentration and Alzheimer's in adulthood.

On the other hand, there are experts who argue that TV can help with learning and even promote health through giving people information that they might not otherwise come across. For instance:

  • Researchers at the University of Chicago found that preschool television exposure had no negative effect on school performance and earnings in later life and may even enhance these factors.
  • They found a slight increase in school test scores occurred for an additional year of preschool television.
  • This was particularly marked in families where English was not the first language, where mothers had less than a high school education, and for non-white children.

Source: Editorial, "Is TV Harming Our Children's Health?" Medical News Today, February 19, 2007.

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