I have a love/hate relationship with TV. If you’ve read much of my blog, you know that I love pop culture – of which TV is a big part. I even think that TV can be used as an informative and unique parenting tool. But when I saw the reports of the study released from the University of Bristol’s School for Exercise, Nutrition and Health Sciences finding children who watched TV television or used computers for more than two hours had higher “psychological difficulty” scores, regardless of how much time the children participated in physical activity, I was not at all surprised.
So here comes the hate side of my relationship with TV. While I have done no formal research on the issue, I can say with certainty that in both my clinical and personal life, I see the effects of too much TV everyday. I’m not even objecting to the risqué story lines or the gratuitous violence – it’s more basic than that. I find TV, computers, and other electronic gadgets to be too stimulating. They wind me up and they can wind kids up too.
We might look like vegetables cuddled up on the couch when we are watching, but it has been my experience that they can over-stimulate us so that even once the TV is turned off, we have trouble turning ourselves off. Find yourself overly anxious, worrying too much, totally stressed, or your kids spinning like a top? It might be worth unplugging for a week or two and see if it makes a difference.
Want some ideas about what to do with all your newly-discovered, unplugged time? Read the diary of my TV Free Week last spring.