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Screen Time In America Essay

1493 words - 6 pages

Television, or screen time, has become a large part of today's society. Whether it's by way of smart-phones, a television, a computer, or a tablet, screen time has negative effects on the cognitive ability of children and adolescents. It has even been proven that it can lead to Alzheimer's disease when a person, in the age range of 20-60 years old, views an hour more than the recommended amount of screen time a day (Sigman 14). In children, the amount of screen time viewed has a relationship with the likelihood of developing a deficit in his attention span; the longer a child views screen time, the more likely he is to be diagnosed with an attention disorder. Screen time, or television, can ...view middle of the document...

” (Anderson 43). This study proves that television effects the education that a child will work to gain. Although educational television programs help young children learn things like counting, the alphabet, and shapes; they also have been proven to cause children not to choose activities that require mental work, such as stated in a 1996 study “viewing any television program that is easy to understand and entertaining (including educational programs) will have negative consequences.” (Anderson 43). Screen time effects a child's education both by increasing the capabilities of the basics and decreasing the capabilities of the more advanced subjects. Television programs, even educational, have led to deficiencies in the educational material a child can comprehend.
Television viewing causes attention disorders due to the brain being falsely rewarded. As stated in a journal, Biologists, in 2007:
Television may overpay the child for paying attention to it, and in so doing it may physically corrupt the reward system underpinning his ability to pay attention when the TV is off.
The actual currency used to pay off and corrupt the reward system may come in the form of the neurotransmitter, dopamine. The release of dopamine in the brain is associated with reward. In particular, dopamine is seen as rewarding us for paying attention, especially to things that are novel and stimulating. Screen entertainment causes our brain to release dopamine. It is increasingly clear that ADHD is linked to a change in dopamine functioning. Genes necessary for synthesis, uptake and binding have been implicated in ADHD, and dopamine underfunctioning is also found in the Spontaneously Hypertensive Rat animal model of ADHD. This underfunctioning of dopamine may fail to reward the brain's attention systems, so they do not function effectively. (Sigman 14).
Television viewing increases the risk of developing a deficit in a child's attention span. It does so by falsely rewarding our brain for watching television and causing the inability to pay attention while not watching TV; which is why children diagnosed with attention impairments do not do as well in school as other children.
People belief that because a child can pay attention to a TV for hours that he does not have ADHD. But, as stated by Perri Klass M.D., “A child's ability to stay focused on a screen, though not anywhere else, is actually characteristic of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.” (Klass 1). Although the child may be able to pay attention to a television program for long amounts of time does not mean he does not have ADHD. The long attentiveness of the child to the television is a symptom of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and also a cause. The more television a child watches, the more likely he is to develop a deficit in his attention capabilities.
Doctor Christopher Lucas states, as seen in an article in the New York Times, “The kind of concentration that children bring to video games and...

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