Friday, March 9, 2018

A Deadly Wandering

"Researchers said that when parents talk to their children less, engage less - in a nutshell, put their attention to the television not the children - it can eventually retard language development. As the 2009 study concluded 'The evidence is growing that very early exposure to television is associated with negative developmental outcomes.'
...The children who watched the fast-paced show were less able to follow directions and, in a separate set of tasks, showed less patience. These are 'executive function' tasks, meaning they engage the prefrontal cortex, that all-important part of the brain involved in focus.
The researchers wrote that the toll taken on executive function came not just from the fast pace but perhaps from the fantastical nature of the cartoon, which gave the children's brains a lot of information to digest, thus potentially depleting cognitive resources. The researchers wrote: 'The result is consistent with others showing long-term negative associations between entertainment television and attention.' Among those studies, one published in Pediatrics in 2004 found that children who watch more television in their toddler years are significantly more likely to have attention problems by age seven. 
A Deadly Wandering by Matthew Richtel (pp. 175-176) 
As with most things, there are critical periods in your life - periods of time when the mind and body are at their largest potential for growth. Periods, that if missed, may never come again. The child raised by wolves and misses the critical period for language development may never learn to speak human languages well. A child who grows up in an environment where they cannot run or jump or swim freely may never develop athletically. A child who grows up without books will never learn to read at a high level. There are probably very long-term, dangerous consequences for our modern lifestyles of constantly being plugged in and caffeinated. I only hope that the grown ups will notice and make the changes needed before it's too late, but that may require killing the babysitter...

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