Why kids should not watch too much TV

Raising children is a wonderful and exciting part of life. However, your child's health care needs your overwhelming attention. 

Even the smallest of things matter and that's why you should pay utmost attention to what your toddler or child is up to in his / her leisure time. 

For instance you need to keep a tab on details like your child's TV watching hours. Why, you may ask?

Toddlers watching TV

A recent study has found every hour of daily television for a two-year-old could make them 16 per cent heavier as a teenager.  Excerpts:

For every hour spent watching TV, toddlers eat 13% more unhealthy foods.

Very young children who spend too much time staring at a television screen are more likely to skip breakfast, eat unhealthy food when they are older and do worse at school. 

Watching television as a toddler may lead to sedentary habits, while also exposing children to more junk food advertising at a young age. 

Entertainment promotes distraction, which reduces commitment to education.

Overindulgent habits begin in childhood and persist into people's adult years.

Watching television for three or more hours a day may increase a child's risk of developing type 2 diabetes, research suggested in July 2017.
A Japanese study has shown that  watching too much television can change the structure of a child's brain in a damaging way. Excerpts:

Researchers found that the more time a child spent viewing TV, the more profound the brain alterations appeared to be.  

MRI brain scans showed children who spent the most hours in front of the box had greater amounts of grey matter in regions around the frontopolar cortex - the area at the front of the frontal lobe. This increased volume was a negative thing as it was linked with lower verbal intelligence.

TV viewing is directly or indirectly associated with the neurocognitive development of children, the study concluded.

However, it's a myth that watching too much TV can harm yours or your child's eyes. Dr. Lee Duffner of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, maintains that watching television screens—close-up or otherwise—“won’t cause any physical damage to your eyes.” 

He adds, however, that a lot of TV watching can surely cause eye strain and fatigue, particularly for those sitting very close and/or watching from odd angles. 

But there is an easy cure for eye strain and fatigue: turning off the TV and getting some rest. With a good night’s sleep, tired eyes should quickly return to normal. [Source]

Kids should spend more time outdoors as this ensures better eyesight and minimizes risk of myopia.
Kids should spend more time outdoors as this ensures better eyesight and minimizes risk of myopia.

But excessive TV viewing can give rise to other health issues, some of which are mentioned above. While TV viewing per se may not be as harmful for your kid's eyesight as believed, staying indoors for long hours could cause eye damage.[Source

Scientists have discovered a cell in the eye's retina that may cause myopia when it dysfunctions.The dysfunction may be linked to the amount of time a child spends indoors and away from natural light. It is estimated that up to 40 per cent of  adults suffer myopia or nearsightedness, meaning they struggle to see distant objects clearly. 

More than computer use, TV watching or reading in dim light, it's staying cooped up indoors without exposure to sunlight in your childhood that causes nearsightedness. So in a way it's true that spending too much time indoors watching TV and little time for outdoor activities could affect your kid's eyesight.

Research shows that spending more than 3 hours outdoors each day before adulthood halves the chance of developing myopia. Natural light - which can be hundreds of times brighter than indoor light - triggers the release of dopamine. The chemical stops the eyeball from growing out of shape and causing myopia. 

Professor Morgan, who conducted the study, says that humans were naturally long-sighted but there was a dramatic rise in myopia once people began intensive schooling and spent little or no time outdoors.  

Researchers further add: 'Our evidence suggests that the key factor is being outdoors and it does not matter if that time is spent having a picnic or playing sport. Both will protect a child's eyes from growing excessively, which is a major cause of myopia.' (Also read: Are our eyes aging faster than our bodies?)

In conclusion, reduce your kid's TV watching time and make him / her to spend more time outdoors for better eyesight and better physical, mental and cognitive health.

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