As much of a national pastime as baseball, television has become ingrained in US society. However, there are a number of detrimental effects which researchers have uncovered. Here are ten ways that watching TV is killing you.
1. MAKES YOU DUMBER.
A Johns Hopkins University study led by Dina Borzekowski found that children who watched more than two hours of television a day, especially those with a TV in their own rooms, scored significantly lower on standardized tests than their counterparts. (The study also found that having a computer with Internet access actually increased the scores.)
Also, a New Zealand study discovered that children and adolescents who watched the most television attained the least amount of educational success. Around 1,000 babies were chosen at random and were followed until they were 26 years old. Those who watched less television were more likely to graduate both high school and college.
2. MAKES YOU VOILENT.
In 1960, Professor Rowel Huesmann began a study, trying to document the effect of media violence on children. Ten years later, Huesmann and his team found an indisputable link between media violence and actual violence. Children who were exposed to it were more likely tobehave aggressively than those who weren’t.
While people may disagree as to whether or not media violence is a “public threat,” the correlation is said to be similar to that of smoking and lung cancer. Not everyone who smokes gets cancer, just like not everyone who watches violent media becomes violent, but it is a contributing factor.
3. TURNS YOU INTO A CRIMINAL.
A research study conducted by a group of British researchers looked at a sample of more than 11,000 children born between 2000 and 2002 and found that those who watched at least three hours of television per day were more likely to engage in antisocial activities such as bullying or stealing. However, when looking at children who played three or more hours of video games per week, no statistical link was found.
One of the reasons put forth for why television could be responsible for the increased risk of criminal activity later in life is that violence plays a prominent role in much of what is aired, which is what a New Zealand study of over 1,000 people concluded. The study stated that the average rate of violent incidents per hour is eight, with children’s programming (cartoons or otherwise) containing even more violence.
4. LOWERS YOUR SPERM COUNTS
Published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, a study by researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health concluded that men with a sedentary lifestyle, especially one with prolonged television watching, had sperm counts 44 percent lower than men who spent little time in front of the TV. The threshold for the lower sperm count levels was 20 hours per week. (That may seem like a lot, but it’s less than three hours a day.)
Conversely, men who exercised at least 14 hours a week had the highest sperm count. Note that the quality of the sperm itself (i.e. motility and shape) remained unaffected. When asked why television was singled out, Jorge Chavarro, the senior author of the study, said the following: “One of the important mechanisms appears to be TV watchers are exposed to commercials for food. That makes you hungry and eat more.”
5. GIVES YOU HIGH CHOLESTEROL.
A 1990 study at the University of California, Irvine, studied the cholesterol levels in children, investigating whether or not watching TV or playing video games had an effect. What they found was shocking: Children who watched more TV had elevated cholesterol levels; those who sat in front of the television for four hours a day were nearly four times as likely to suffer from heart disease later in life.
The reasons for the elevated levels were that the children who watched television were more likely to eat an unhealthy diet and rarely exercised. (The study mostly followed white middle-class .
MICHAEL VAN DUISEN