A recent study conducted at Iowa State University has concluded that exceeding guidelines for viewing television or playing video games can do something bad to your attention span, or whatever. I wasn't paying attention.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children and teens limit their television viewing and game playing to no more than two hours per day. They're extremely serious about this. If you were to ask a member of the academy about this on the street, they wouldn't even crack a smile.
So what happens when children and young adults exceed these limits?
In a 13-month study, Edward Swing and colleagues at Iowa State monitored the viewing and playing habits of 1323 middle-childhood test subjects and 210 late adolescent subjects. Both groups provided self reports of their viewing and playing habits, while the middle-childhood group info was bolstered by parental reports, while taking into account any trouble reported by the children's teachers.
What did the study find?
"Those who exceeded the AAP recommendation were about 1.6 times to 2.2 times more likely to have greater than average attention problems."
At first, this completely shocked me. Then I found a neat picture of a bunny and posted it at the top of the article. Hello there, bunny!
According to the Television and Video Game Exposure and the Development of Attention Problems report, which can be viewed in full at the Pediatrics website, fast-paced television shows and video games train the mind to expect faster-paced input. As Edward Swing puts it, "You prime the mind to accept that pace. Real life doesn't happen fast enough to keep your attention."
So what can we do? Dr Dimitri Christakis of the University of Washington in Seattle stated, "These media aren't going away. We do have to find ways to manage them appropriately."
Or, we have to start teaching children in such a way that doesn't lag their minds.
Man that bunny is cute. Don't you just wanna scritch his lil' ears?