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IceAlisa
08-10-2011, 05:50 PM
Vagabond, the study has to do with reducing TV time not eliminating it completely.

I do have to say that I'd always been underweight as a kid which is amazing considering how sedentary my lifestyle was.

Really
08-10-2011, 05:53 PM
Balance. My kids were both avid readers when they were younger, and they both enjoy TV. In fact, my daughter is the more avid reader of the two, but she's also the one who could recite lines from videos or TV ads. Son has tailed off in his reading somewhat, until he finds a book that really interests him. Of course, this Nannie is busy buying books on a regular basis for the granddaughters, who love being read to. But they also like some movies and Treehouse TV. As I said at the start...balance...

Vagabond
08-10-2011, 06:03 PM
Vagabond, the study has to do with reducing TV time not eliminating it completely.

I do have to say that I've always been underweight as a kid which is amazing considering how sedentary my lifestyle was.

I'm sure that if agalisgv wants to, she can investigate whether there are studies on the effects of totally eliminating watching television. However, I don't think there's any dispute that American children now who do watch television are fatter than American children in the late 1940's who didn't any watch television at all.

Spareoom
08-10-2011, 06:06 PM
I agree with everyone that BALANCE is key. It is completely possible to overdose on books as badly as TV, and to have it be just as bad. When I was a kid, we didn't have TV in the house, and as a result I was an incredibly avid reader. The biggest punishment my mom could give me was to completely ban me from reading for a day, or oh the horror, a week. When I'd tell that to others they'd usually laugh incredulously, because reading is not something that people typically view as a great pleasure. But I mean, if I was neglecting my work or school for books, it didn't matter that I was reading or doing something else; I still wasn't getting my work done.

I will say though, that reading so much did help my vocabulary, although since the books I enjoyed tended to come from the 1800-early 1900's, (Little Women, etc.), my vocabulary tended to be a bit antiquated. ;) I still clearly remember the day when I used the word "dandy" in a conversation and my brother had no idea what I meant. I had to stop and try and explain the definition to him, which was a definite damper to my enthusiasm! :lol:

IceAlisa
08-10-2011, 06:11 PM
However, I don't think there's any dispute that American children now who do watch television are fatter than American children in the late 1940's who didn't any watch television at all.

It would be a mistake to assume that TV is the sole factor figuring in this difference.

skatingfan5
08-10-2011, 06:21 PM
It would be a mistake to assume that TV is the sole factor figuring in this difference.Right. The amount of junk food consumed (and total calories ingested) by children growing up today compared to 60 years ago is off the charts. TV advertising does factor into that, though, so the fact of "watching TV" is not just about being any more sedentary.

I've probably always watched more TV than I should have, but I also read all the time (sometimes 2 books/night in high school). :shuffle: Both of my sisters read a lot, too, but my brother didn't. I'm pretty sure he was dyslexic, although he never was diagnosed for that. I remember trying to help him for the library's summer reading program -- even getting him through books well below his grade level was torture.

aliceanne
08-10-2011, 06:25 PM
So which do you think is better and why?

I've always assumed reading was superior. So sure was I of this that I wanted to really promote reading this summer and thus, disconnected our tv service :shuffle:. My kids weren't thrilled but went with it. My youngest in particular became a reading fiend. So success, yes?

Except there've been a lot of unintended consequences that have made me question the inherent superiority of reading. First, I'm stunned at how sloth-like my youngest became. He'd start reading a book, and not move nary a muscle for the next several hours. He looks practically comatose much of the day. With tv, he would at least get up during commercials and interact with others. Even if he watched a movie he would move around more and interact with others. Second, he's much less sociable. He's off in his own little world, and no one can really share it with him unless they've already read the book. He finds it tiresome to have to explain it to others, so we miss out on a lot of interaction. With tv, we either all watched together, or at least the tv was loud enough so that you could follow it while doing other things. So we could discuss what he was watching and have that branch to other things. That rarely happens with the books he reads. Third, his vocab hasn't improved the way I anticipated. If he heard a word he didn't understand on tv or in a video game, he would come ask about it. But he just skips over it in a book. What's worse, he has no clue how to pronounce these new words, so he can't really incorporate them into his conversations.

So I've just been struck this summer by the passivity of reading, and wondering if it really is all that better than watching television or playing RPG video games. When I briefly looked up why reading was supposed to be better, what I saw seemed to be mostly opinion and conventional wisdom rather than demonstrated evidence.

Thoughts? And do people know of actual evidence demonstrating the superiority of one over the other?

Who knows, maybe my son will test off the charts in reading in a couple weeks and it will all become clear ;).

Is it possible that your son is being passive/aggressive? Does he resent being told that he watches too much tv?

There is such a thing as too much of a good thing (too much dieting, exercising, studying working, partying etc). Doing anything to such an extreme that it takes you away from other things you need to do to stay healthy and happy is a problem.

If it weren't for tv, where would we watch figure skating? :)

IceAlisa
08-10-2011, 06:32 PM
Right. The amount of junk food consumed (and total calories ingested) by children growing up today compared to 60 years ago is off the charts. TV advertising does factor into that, though, so the fact of "watching TV" is not just about being any more sedentary.

Speaking of TV commercials--I remember coming across a study saying that watching them wrecks kids' attention span. IIRC, it's close to or more than 10 frames per second. So I don't expose Mini Ice to any TV commercials just for that reason alone.

As mentioned, PBS is your friend. I started donating as soon as I got my first real job.

gkelly
08-10-2011, 06:32 PM
If it weren't for tv, where would we watch figure skating? :)

At the rink, if we're lucky and/or motivated. :)

These days, on our computers.

Jenny
08-10-2011, 06:34 PM
For kids, reducing TV viewing may be a key to preventing obesity (http://news.stanford.edu/news/1999/may5/tvweight-55.html)


Studies like this really bug me, because they commit the logical fallacy of just a few too many "therefores."

If kids are eating too much or eating the wrong things, then how about addressing that problem directly instead of a different one?

Unplugging the tv doesn't mean that kids who are used to eating crap or eating too much aren't going to continue to do so when they are on their computers, out with their friends, reading a book or studying. Or tucking into fast food or frozen pizza with their family for dinner.


However, I don't think there's any dispute that American children now who do watch television are fatter than American children in the late 1940's who didn't any watch television at all.

Again, logical fallacy. There was no tv, but there was also a lot less junk food, snacking wasn't a way of life, and for that matter, post-war, America was used to eating less and there was a greater focus on nutritionally balanced meals.


It would be a mistake to assume that TV is the sole factor figuring in this difference.

Emphatic ITA.


Right. The amount of junk food consumed (and total calories ingested) by children growing up today compared to 60 years ago is off the charts. TV advertising does factor into that, though, so the fact of "watching TV" is not just about being any more sedentary.



When I was a kid in the 60s and 70s, there was already a ton of advertising aimed at kids - Saturday morning cartoons for example were filled with enticing commercials for sugary cereals, pop tarts, sodas, cookies and other junk we'd beg our parents to buy. Difference was, more families considered those foods to be occasional treats, not diet staples.

Prancer
08-10-2011, 07:16 PM
IIRC, agalisgv's kids are nowhere near obese.

rfisher
08-10-2011, 07:27 PM
How dreary to imagine a childhood with no Conjunction Junction (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mkO87mkgcNo&feature=related)

:cheer2: One of my favorites of the schoolhouse rocks.

Vagabond
08-10-2011, 07:37 PM
Studies like this really bug me, because they commit the logical fallacy of just a few too many "therefores."

If kids are eating too much or eating the wrong things, then how about addressing that problem directly instead of a different one?

Unplugging the tv doesn't mean that kids who are used to eating crap or eating too much aren't going to continue to do so when they are on their computers, out with their friends, reading a book or studying. Or tucking into fast food or frozen pizza with their family for dinner.

If you read the article in the link, you will see that the children in the study who reduced the number of hours they watched television didn't change their diets but still lost weight.


Again, logical fallacy. There was no tv, but there was also a lot less junk food, snacking wasn't a way of life, and for that matter, post-war, America was used to eating less and there was a greater focus on nutritionally balanced meals.

You are the one making the logical fallacy. You assume that because I point out that children sixty-five years ago were thinner than children today, I think that television-watching is the sole cause for the weight gain. I think nothing of the sort. However, the study to which I linked (and others, which you can find for yourself) indicate that television-watching, especially for more than two hours a day, makes a significant difference in people's weight.

I have no idea whether, overall, American children today read more or less than their counterparts did sixty-odd years ago, but clearly children back then found ways to entertain themselves, and many of those ways, such as sports and games, involved substantially more physical exercise than do watching television or using a computer. This is no doubt a significant explanation for why children today are heavier, but not the only one.

Jenny
08-10-2011, 08:02 PM
I have no idea whether, overall, American children today read more or less than their counterparts did sixty-odd years ago, but clearly children back then found ways to entertain themselves, and many of those ways, such as sports and games, involved substantially more physical exercise than do watching television or using a computer. This is no doubt a significant explanation for why children today are heavier, but not the only one.

Yes - that is exactly what I mean - obesity is a result of eating too much and/or exercising too little.

Watching tv doesn't have a direct effect on weight. Watching tv instead of physical activity could equal weight gain, not because there's more tv, but because there's less physical activity. Eating too much junk food while watching tv could equal weight gain, but so could eating too much junk food while not watching tv.

The article does say that diet and physical fitness were similar in the two groups (regular tv viewing vs reduced tv viewing):


However, the two schools didn't differ in consumption of high-fat foods, amount of moderate-to-vigorous exercise, or physical fitness. So if the kids weren't exercising more or eating a healthier diet, Robinson needed to try to account for the weight difference.

But then goes on to hypothesize that there was a possibility of some change in physical activity:


Robinson said one possibility was that the kids were performing more low-level activities * more energetic than simply sitting still but less energetic than walking. Freed from the TV, the children may simply have been moving around more, though this kind of activity is extremely difficult to measure, Robinson said.

And further points out that even the smallest change in dietary habits could have an effect:


However, the difference may also stem from changes in the number of meals the kids ate in front of the TV. The children at the TV-reduction school significantly decreased the number of meals they ate while watching TV. Even a small change in caloric intake could account for the difference in weight gain, Robinson noted. For example, the calorie equivalent of one additional regular soft drink per day translates into a yearly weight gain of about 15 pounds, he said.

I bolded the words that tell me that although they got real results from the experiment, the researcher doesn't actually know why they got those results - they're only guessing (just as we are :lol:).

Anyway, promise to take this discussion offline if it continues as I see am contributing to some serious thread drift here.

Back to reading vs tv, carry on!

Erin
08-10-2011, 08:18 PM
If there is a show they want to watch, they should turn on the TV when that show is on, watch the show, then turn off the TV. The TV should not be on for hours at a time with no particular reason.

:shuffle: The TV is pretty much always on at my house. If there's nothing decent on or I don't actually want to watch TV, I put on a music channel. I found when I first moved out from my parents' place that the constant silence of living alone drove me crazy and I've never been able to go back.

On the reading versus TV, I'll hedge and say "it depends". I do a lot of both, but I can't say I've noticed a particularly harmful effect from either. If anything, I would say that the biggest time waster in my life is probably the time I spend on the internet!