Television and the Brain

Television takes up a large portion of time in a majority of homes. Kids, especially, are exposed to large quantities of screen time. Modern lifestyles exhibit a high dependence on electronics. Television is seen as a lesser evil than phones and computers. This new outlook gives parents a false sense security when it comes to the effects of television. The brains of children, however, are at the most risk.


The brain changes as it is exposed repeatedly to the images on a TV. The neural circuits of children change over time. The makeup of a child’s brain can change completely. Children normally develop language quickly and easily. Excessive screen time, however, can change their verbal acquisition. Television interrupts development and connections in the brain.


Basic physical effects are easy to see. Children who sit in front of the television for long periods of time tend to become more obese. Physical health may suffer due to long periods of time spend indoors, as well. Major physical changes also take place in the brain. Certain areas of the brain become thicker and larger. These include the septum, visual cortex, and hypothalamus. The sensorimotor zone responds similarly. All of these areas support necessary emotional and behavior functions. Verbal ability depends on the proper functioning of the frontal lobe. This is also shown to become thicker with television exposure. The brain changes dramatically in how it is shaped, causing a myriad of issues.


The physical changes in the brain affect behavior. Increased aggression has been known to appear as a result of an altered brain. Emotional reactions may be more inflated or children may be desensitized. Poor vision can also result, causing difficulty with reading and school activities. Socialization is an important part of growing up. Increased screen time limits social interaction. Children are often confuse in situations with their peers, as many TV shoes offer inappropriate solutions to problems. Anti-social behavior can develop in extreme cases. The thickening of the hypothalamus is found in patients with borderline personality disorder. Increased criminal activity and depression are also an issue. Children need peer and family interaction to develop normally.


The frontal lobe is related to verbal progress. Language skills are severely impeded when television takes up a large portion of a child’s time. They suffer a lesser understanding of the language and often have trouble reading contextual clues. The problems stem from the passive viewing of the screen. This ceases the normal ongoing, rapid learning that children normally exhibit. It can be compared to the loss of muscle function in sedentary elderly people. The brain literally begins to waste away because it is not active. The IQ tests of children showed decreased intellectual ability concerning verbal skills in relation to their TV screen time. Television not only takes time away from studying, it also changes the ability to learn. Analytical verbal skills are learned from interaction with other humans. Children’s brains are set up to learn language early on. The ability may decrease as they age. Proper exposure to different types of conversations and groups is crucial to development. Television conversations are not inclusive of the person watching.


It should also be taken into consideration that some children are predisposed to certain conditions. Studies of siblings in relation to television watching show some interesting facts. Increased criminal activity and behavioral issues may be a part of genetic makeup. Some children may respond differently to excessive television. Some people are predisposed to certain conditions. In these cases, there may be a higher sensitivity to excessive television watching. Everyone has a different reaction to their surroundings depending on their experiences and genetic disposition.

Television has taken a back seat to the new electronics. The complications of television exposure are often underrated, as parents worry about cell phones and video games. Television is now often seen as a benign activity. The effects of television, however, are still relevant.

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