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Does too much TV damage the brain?

Via Whitedot Board:

http://whitedotboard.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=21&t=11092&sid=3e4f21aa181f28857d30094b9bd355a3

Scientists at  Tohoku University in Japan decided to look at the brains of children (ages 5 to 18) and look for any differences between those who watched lots of TV and those who watched much less.

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. But this increased volume was a negative thing as it was linked with lower verbal intelligence, said the authors, from Tohoku University in the city of Sendai. They suggested grey matter could be compared to body weight and said these brain areas need to be pruned during childhood in order to operate efficiently.”

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2537240/Children-watch-TV-damaged-brain-structures.html

 

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terry33:

A repost of a beautifully written post about growing up without TV from the blog We Canoe.

Originally posted on We Canoe:

Reposted from my facebook page:

I consider my childhood to be idyllic, there was no tv or expensive toys but there were bikes, a canoe, the outdoors and as many trips to the library as I wanted, and I was always reading.

Kids are great at adapting, adults much less so and I’m very grateful that I was brought up without depending on money or television to provide entertainment.

I learned to enjoy all things active, and overall a pretty simple but happy existence. I may have been bored from time to time, but never for very long. I remember my dad saying – “if you’re bored, you’re boring”

I think about that all the time and consider it to be pretty accurate. I had a pretty (over) active imagination, and can still call upon it from time to time.

Incredulity is often the first reaction when people hear we…

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Turn-off Week 2014, May 5-11

Screen Free Week 2014

Screen Free Week 2014

 

CCFC had another excellent screen turn-off week May 5-11, 2014.

http://www.screenfree.org/

The emphasis was on families going screen free for a week (or at least going low-screen for a week).

 

My favorite write-up was by Traci McGrath. She described how her children have already gone low-TV, watching only about 1 hour per day, and how she was dreading losing that hour per day of uninterrupted time to get things done. But as it happened, things turned out much better than she anticipated:

“I try to make it a habit not to ‘entertain’ the kids all the time. I believe in giving them lots of opportunities to solve their own boredom with creativity – but during Screen Free Week, I hardly had the opportunity to push this little soap box of mine at all. They were so tapped into their own creativity, they were no longer coming to me to ask me what they could do, and they completely forgot to ask if they could “watch a show” (a question I’m used to fielding 2 or 3 times a day.) We still made a point to play together, but it was almost always the case that I was simply invited in to join a game they had invented or go on a scavenger hunt they had created.”

http://www.simplicityparenting.com/the-surprise-plot-twist-in-our-screen-free-week-why-eliminating-screens-made-life-easier/

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Dopamine and Addiction

Dopamine-Levels

 

 

via:  Gamer Therapist

Drug addiction, addiction to gambling, and food and video games and TV, all have dopamine as the common denominator:

The brain registers all pleasures in the same way, whether they originate with a psychoactive drug, a monetary reward, a sexual encounter, or a satisfying meal. In the brain, pleasure has a distinct signature: the release of the neurotransmitter dopamine in the nucleus accumbens, a cluster of nerve cells lying underneath the cerebral cortex (see illustration). Dopamine release in the nucleus accumbens is so consistently tied with pleasure that neuroscientists refer to the region as the brain’s pleasure center.

All drugs of abuse, from nicotine to heroin, cause a particularly powerful surge of dopamine in the nucleus accumbens. The likelihood that the use of a drug or participation in a rewarding activity will lead to addiction is directly linked to the speed with which it promotes dopamine release, the intensity of that release, and the reliability of that release.”

http://www.helpguide.org/harvard/addiction_hijacks_brain.htm

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Media, Children & Novelty Seekers

terry33:

Neuro Research Project has a very interesting post on risk-taking, dopamine, and Dr. Christakis’s mouse study.

Note Neuro Research Project ‘s post is based on Dr. Sheikh Arshad Saeed‘s ideas:

http://neuroresearchproject.com/2012/03/14/tv-brain-development-in-children-2/

 

Originally posted on N℮ür☼N☮☂℮ṧ:

Dopamine addiction is an overlooked problem..  Dopamine is the most addictive substance on the planet, a neurotransmitter produced in our own body.

This TEDx video (Media and Children), by Dimitri Christakis, a pediatrician, parent, and researcher,  shows young mice taking risks after being exposed to TV,  6 hours a day,  for 42 days. The mice continued to take more (potentially life threatening) risks the longer they were exposed to TV.

Long term exposure to specific types of media, especially in young developing brains, appears to corrupt the reward system;  fewer dopamine receptors.  Over-stimulation from media may produce the same effects on the brain as drugs, i.e. heroin and cocaine.  These drugs artificially extracts more dopamine from nerve cells in the brain, requiring more to get high or satisfied over time.   An abundance of dopamine, due to a low density of dopamine receptors, appears to lead to unhealthy risk-taking.  Risk-taking comes in…

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Of Mice and TV

Mouse1

Until now, animal studies have never been done on the effects of television. I guess for the obvious reason that animals just aren’t interested in watching TV. This has been a huge disadvantage as animal studies have been essential for establishing that a whole host of things, from abuse, to cigarettes, to lead poisoning, to malnutrition are all bad for the developing brain.

But then, Dr. Dimitri Christakis made a brilliant leap, and thought why not look at the effects of background TV on young mice. Since 2008 a handful of studies have shown that even background TV has at least short-term negative effect on young children. But what about the long term effects of background TV? It would be unethical to do experiments on young human children looking the effects of large amounts of background TV throughout their early years. And yet, in real life there is a substantial subset of young children who are being exposed to 4 to 8 hours of background TV every day.

http://esciencenews.com/articles/2008/07/15/parents.should.limit.young.childrens.exposure.background.tv

http://www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/aap-press-room/pages/Kids-in-U-S-Exposed-to-4-Hours-of-Daily-Background-TV.aspx

Correlational studies and longitudinal studies have found that children exposed to large amounts of television do worse academically, emotionally and academically. But critics have dismissed these studies as not taking into proper consideration other potential causes (such as poor parenting and/or genetics), with large TV exposure being a symptom rather than a cause.

A mouse study has the potential to discover exactly what the effects are background TV really are and prove that these effects are caused by background TV and not by something else.

So what did Dr. Christakis and his mouse study actually find out?

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