Television – a Boon or a Bane
Let’s analyze this today on the occasion of World Television Day
World Television Day is celebrated every year on November 21st. Television has now become a necessity in life. It is a significant source of entertainment, information, and knowledge to us. All the ongoing events around the world could be watched on television without being present at the actual place of occurrence.
Adverse effects of Television on children
Impact on IQ
On an average, children aged 2–5 years spend 32 hours a week in front of screen; of which, around 25 hours are spent watching TV and 4.5 hours watching DVDs. Children aged 6–11 years spend 28 hours a week in front of screen; of which, about 22 hours is in front of TV and 2.5 hours watching DVDs.
Another concerning trend is that an increasing number of children (approximately 70% of 8–18 year olds) have television sets in their bedrooms. Children with a television set in their bedroom spend an average of 1.5 extra hours per day watching TV.
Researchers in Japan analyzed 276 children aged 5 to 18 who watched up to four hours of TV a day. MRI scans showed bad impacts on their brain cells around the front polar area, which in turn impacts intelligence. The team, from Tohoku University in the city of Sendai, says that the children with higher IQs showed “thinning” in this area and are likely to miss out on other activities such as reading or playing sport and thus are more prone to obesity.
Adult and porn scenes, frequently shown on television, are likely to cause bad effect on children’s mind.
Superhero and Reality Shows
Many a times, children try to imitate some act and stunts that they have seen on television, which is actually very dangerous for them.
On watching Shaktiman, Superhero and the similar kind of television shows, children get more prone to imitate the depicted acts that may cause adverse impacts on their health. Some cases of injury in children due to imitation of such characters have already been reported.
Children who watch scary shows are more prone to have their mental condition adversely impacted as compared to those who don’t.
Impact on eyes and ears
Fast changes in color pattern and loud voice in TV shows may cause harmful impact on children’s eyesight and hearing capability.
Children watching violent acts tend to develop violent behavior. A book named “Stop teaching our Kids to Kill” will give information on how violent TV shows, movies and video games affect the mental condition of kids.
Recently, a case of gun fire by a kid on other child on a petty issue of cold drink has been noticed. It can be considered as a negative repercussion of the violent acts seen on television.
Exposure to excessive violence and desensitization to violence & emotions (abnormal development of emotional cognition) may occur in children.
American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children under the age of two years should not be exposed to any television. It is well recognized that normal infant and toddler activities such as talking, singing, reading, listening to music and playing are far more beneficial to child development than merely watching television.
Reduced socialization, fear and sleep disturbance
Research on early brain development shows that babies and toddlers have a critical need for direct interaction with parents and other significant people for healthy brain growth and the development of appropriate social, emotional and cognitive skills.
For these reasons watching excessive television may accrue unnecessary fear and sleep disturbances.
Kids under the age of eight cannot dissociate fantasy from reality and can become scared of make-believe characters (e.g. grotesque monsters). Children over the age of eight years get more frightened by real-life stories, and may become anxious that they may be a victim of violence or a natural disaster. Heightened fears that sometimes result from television, computer and gaming exposure can also impact the children’s sleep pattern.
Adverse effects of advertisement
Most advertisements shown during prime children-viewing times are for energy-dense, nutrient-poor foods & beverages. There are movements in a number of countries that advocate monitoring & minimizing the marketing of unhealthy foods to children on television games through product placement (termed ‘advergaming’), and online.
Exposure to alcohol-advertising increases the likelihood of a child consuming alcohol over a period of time. Alcohol-related advertising is prohibited in children’s weekday time slots (before 12 noon and from 3.00pm-8.30pm) in Australia; however at the weekends, public holidays and during live-to-air sporting events, alcohol-related advertising is permitted, even in these time frames. Children often watch TV outside these time frames, and research shows that many children are exposed to alcohol advertising, which often uses marketing techniques which are particularly appealing to children (e.g. including animals in the advertisement).
Subsequent health conditions
Reduced physical activity is an obvious consequence of excessive screen time that increases body mass index (BMI) and obesity rates. The amalgamation of reduced metabolic rate, reduced levels of physical activity, increased food intake/snacking while watching television and marketing of unhealthy foods is likely to impact significantly on childhood weight management.
Research has shown that just being awake in a room with a television on for more than two hours a day, is a risk factor for being overweight at the age of three to four-and-a-half years. Other studies have shown that an adult’s BMI is directly related to how much television one watched as a child – every extra hour of television watched per weekend as 5-year-old results in a 7% increase in BMI at 30 years of age. Importantly, it has been shown that television viewing and lack of physical activity are most associated with the risk of being overweight in 3–6 year olds, and that the influence of television watching has a greater effect than diet does.
A number of studies have documented a correlation between television viewing, and elevated levels of blood glucose in children with type I diabetes and increased cholesterol levels in adulthood.
Increased rates of asthma may also be partly due to increased rates of screen viewing during childhood. Studies have shown that hours spent watching television as a child increase the risk of having asthma later in adulthood.
Brain development: Cognitive function, imagination and creativity
A remarkable feature of human brain development is the extraordinary number of brain cell connections that develop during the first two years of life as a result of physical and emotional experiences. In this way, an infant’s realization of the world changes from one that is purely sensory, to a world that is cognitive and contains associations, perceptions and thinking based upon previous experiences.
Television and infants (0–24 months)
A remarkable process of brain development occurs during infancy and early childhood, in which 90% of a child’s brain wiring develops before five years of age. About 1.8 million connections are produced per second, from two months after conception until the baby is two years old.
Studies have shown that children learn better when being taught a task as a live demonstration, rather than when the task is being shown on screen. Therefore, in addition to the detrimental consequences of excessive screen exposure on child brain development, cognition and socialization; television shows aimed at infants and toddlers are less efficient at education compared with normal everyday play, learning and interactions.
How to manage television exposure ?
- By shifting televisions or computers from children’s bedrooms;
- By monitoring the amount of time spent in front of a screen;
- By framing time limits for weekday and weekend screen times;
- Know what they are watching and monitor exposure to drama, violence and programs of a sexual nature if not age-appropriate;
- Watch programs and games with children so issues arising from the content can be discussed with them; and
- By strictly avoiding screen time as a ‘reward’ for good behavior or as a parenting tool.
Parents should keep vigilance on what they are watching and how much time they spend watching television, by not allowing them to watch too much of cartoons and scary shows etc.
Side-effects on elders
Watching television has bad effect on our eyesight
Some people relate their own story with some character. Once a lady related her story with some character and on death of that character in that particular television show; she fainted and later, had to be hospitalized. This may be a reason of hampering health conditions of emotional people.
If one day , a person spends an hour watching television without gaining any information, then in one year he will waste 365 hours and in 10 years, the wasted time will be 3650 hours. Within that time, one can learn new languages or complete some studying course.
Utilizing television effectively:
Though the television has many disadvantages, yet one can utilize its time by watching discourse (satsang) of H.H. Ashram Bapuji (and other saints) who tells how to develop brain cells and memory capacity by doing Bhramari Pranayam and other relevant yoga, asanas and Sarasvatya mantra techniques etc., thus enabling a child tread the path of spirituality. Hear from Memory Genius – Virendra Mehta , who after taking Sarsasvatya mantra from Bapuji, could memorize 84,000 words of Oxford dictionary, despite being a weak child in his early school days.
Time is precious and once lost, it ruins the life and never comes back; therefore, it needs to be utilized in singing the glory of God and the True Saints.
It is a question unanswered so far as to how such a great saint like Bapuji is not granted bail whereas fodder scam mastermind gets bail so easily, cine star involved in bomb blast is granted bail on parole, Manu Sharma accused of murder is granted bail. But what Bapuji – a true saint is getting in return is:-
- Recurrent Adjournments
- Tortured as terrorist
- Humanity ridiculed
- Justice ridiculed
- Saints ridiculed
For knowing the truth related to Saint Shri Ashram Bapuji, please visit ashram.org Or watch sudarshannews.com on internet.
For discourses (satsangs) by Bapuji, watch:-
Dish TVHD 581,
Big TV 428,
Hathway 210, In, Citi, Den and other cable