Memory speaker, Ron White, would like to share information on how television has an effect on the brain and the ability to memorize.

Most of us watch television as a way to relax and distress. Many parents are concerned about the effects of television on their children, and if it will stunt their mental development. They are not just worried about small children, but also that if their teens study with a television in the background does it help to improve grades, or does it hinder them?

In an April 2001 issue of Pediatrics an article says that watching television one hour a day increases a child’s chances of developing attention problems by almost 10%. “The newborn brain develops very rapidly during the first two to three years of life”, said Dr. Dimitri Christakis, a researcher at Children’s Hospital and Regional Medical Center in Seattle. “Even educational TV can be damaging. That’s because it’s not the content that is the culprit,” says Dr. Christakis. “It’s the unrealistically fast-paced visual images that may alter normal brain development.”

Children are not able to tell the difference between fantasy and reality. Television requires less concentration than reading, so the brain gets lazy and not able to concentrate. Low concentration leads to difficulty in memorizing and retaining what they learn. Children who watch television late at night do not get enough sleep, and that also impairs their ability to concentrate. Having a television in a child’s room also takes away their ability to focus on their homework.

According to psychologist Brad J. Bushman, Ph.D., of Iowa State University, in a report published in the December 2008 edition of Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, published by the American Psychological Association, “Violent programming seems to impair memory for commercial messages even when the level of program arousal is controlled.”

A study funded by the Tamaki Foundation with additional support by the National Institute of Mental Health and the National Science Foundation found that putting an infant in front of a DVD, Videos show can harm their cognitive development because the clips are short and they don’t mimic actual language, whereas by contrast, children’s educational programs on television, which make up the largest viewing category at this age, are, crafted and tested to meet developmental needs of preschool children.

A new study done by the Kaiser Family Foundation of Menlo Park, California found that young children who watch television have a more difficult time learning to read. They found that “only 34 per cent of 4 to 6 year olds can read and they spend an average of 49 minutes reading books compared to 2 hours and 22 minutes watching TV or playing on the computer.” The worst thing is, says Vicky Rideout of the Kaiser Foundation,  “that not just teenagers are wired up and tuned in, it’s babies in diapers as well.”

The Canadian Pediatrics Society agrees with the American findings, and recommends that children under two years of age not view television at all, and that older children should watch no more than an hour. They do find, however, that the right kind of educational shows, like Sesame Street, can be of benefit.

There is good and bad to everything, and it watching television, even educational shows, should be done in moderation – and not be a substitute for reading and socializing. Accelerated learning and improving grades come from utilizing and expanding your brain, and television is most often ‘brain-numbing’ as opposed to a ‘brain-stimulating’.




Science Daily – Baby DVDs, Videos May Hinder, Not Help Infant’s Language Development:

uTube – How Television Effects Your Brain Chemistry:

Negative Effects of TV on Kids Brains: