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On TV Viewing
Thursday, September 20, 2007
This article was intended for submission to PMN. It was in a draft mode for quite sometime, unfinished, until a fellow member submitted an article on the same topic. So, I decided to finish mine and publish it in my own website instead.

It was not until a year ago when TV viewing was not discouraged nor limited in my household. Everytime my kids come home from school, even while they do their homework, at mealtimes, until the time to go to bed, the TV was on. I did not question this back then, for I was thinking that it was one way of loosening up from the day's stressful activities, a way to relax. Until one day when I had a chance to talk to a mother of a once-not-so-intelligent child.

This kid was not performing very well in school until last school year when she really did a good job. Her mother told me that the secret was not allowing her child to watch TV on weekdays. So, I did some research on the ill effects of TV viewing. I read from a neurobics book that it is a passive brain activity, meaning the neurons are not in an active state, as what it is in during reading, thinking, or conversing.

Since meal times are perfect times for interaction, of knowing how each family member spent the day, me and hubby decided to discourage TV viewing during meal times. This was how we started implementing the "No TV rule", until gradually we allowed it only on weekends.

It was initially on a trial basis. But by the time we saw some improvements - better communication among family members, reading and playing during free times and not just sitting in front of the television, sleep comes in faster making it easier to doze-off during bedtime, kids are less irritable than before - made us continue with what we have started.

I know not everybody will agree with this set-up. But with little kids like mine - ages 10 and 6- the arrangement will make them focus better on their studies, and to make a way for reading books and playing actively instead of being in front of the boob tube during free time.

I guess it will be different with young adults, teen agers, or bigger kids. These kids already know the right kind of shows to watch, and which will benefit them the most, so I don't think this age group need to be prevented from watching their favorite TV shows.

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posted by Amelyn R. Rafael,MD @ 6:42 AM  
4 Comments:
  • At 6:48 PM, Blogger Noemi said…

    I believe in NO TV VIEWING during school days. The kids never complained. Every friday night, they looked forward to their favorite cartoons. They performed quite well in school.

     
  • At 4:15 AM, Blogger Amelyn R. Rafael,MD said…

    I also noticed that my kids,especially my six-year-old,performed very well in school. Had I known earlier...
    Thanks for the visit, Noemi.

     
  • At 12:35 PM, Anonymous purplegirl said…

    My 5-and-a-half year old boy does not watch TV either. He's only allowed to watch DVDs on weekends. He went to this disciplinarian private school when he was 2 years old and they were staunch followers of the NO TV rule (it was a real academic school -- not play-based -- that had academic programs for 2-year olds).

    The school regularly distributed materials regarding the disadvantages of watching tv and I remember reading about the "Flicker" effect of tv and that contrary to popular belief, tv does not promote attention span among children because it refreshes the picture/images at a rate of 60 timer per second!

     
  • At 1:02 PM, Blogger Amelyn R. Rafael,MD said…

    It's good to know that there's a school implementing this rule, purplegirl. Schools here in our place leave it to moms and dads whether they will allow their kids to watch TV or not.

     
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Name: Amelyn R. Rafael,MD
Home: San Fabian, Pangasinan, Philippines
About Me: Family Physician, and Associate Professor (Clinical Anatomy and Medical Physiology)
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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 2.5 License.