Posted: October 17th, 2013
Causal Analysis Argument about the Media
Causal Analysis Argument about the Media
Television has been around in America since the 1950s. Currently, around 99% of Americans watch televisions on an average of 4 to 5 hours in a day. More so, families with more than one television set at their home have increased, with many having them in their bedrooms. It has acted as the primary and most popular source of entertainment for people. Therefore, it occupies majority of people’s time in a day, after sleeping and working. Thus, it is bound to have many effects on the American cultures, both positively and negatively. Current research has indicated that television watching is posing some health problems among children who are most vulnerable as well as adults. Television watching irrespective of what content one is watching has some effects that shape our lives from a positive to negative. However, it is the intention of this essay to focus on the health effects caused by watching television.
Effect on Weight
The major health effect is its contribution to nutrition and obesity especially for children. Currently, children spend a lot of time in front of the television watching their favorite programs with some starting during the day and watching until evening together with parents before going to bed. This encourages a very high level of a sedentary lifestyle for the child. Young children are preoccupied by television, and forget other important activities that are physical. Activities outside the house are reduced completely and activities such as riding bikes, playing ball games among others physical activities. Reduction of physical activities increases the chances of developing obesity due to lack of burning the calories they take every day. The physical activities are important for children to help them in their fitness. Without physical exercises, the children do not gain fitness and development of muscle is poor as well as blood circulation necessary for circulating oxygen to the whole body. Rather, the calories they take are stored in the body as fat, leading to increased weight. This is not different for adults who engage in the same kind of sedentary lifestyle that reduces physical activities to a minimum.
Additionally, working parents hardly have the time for preparing and cooking healthy meals in the house, which leaves them no choice except to feed the children with fast foods, bought from the fast foods restaurants that have little regard for healthy nutrition. This leads to consumption of junk good more than the healthy diet they eat. More so, children prefer buying snacks at the school bars instead of taking with them, healthy food prepared at home. This further heightens the chances of developing obesity. The mechanism working to cause obesity or even eat more is because the brain monitors non-food cues while watching television. Rather, it should monitor the internal food cues that tell when we are hungry or eaten enough. Through distraction by the screen, many continue to eat even when they should not. According to Hassam (2011), “Beyond displacing physical activity, a new study has reported a significant dose-response relationship in which the resting metabolic rate [REE] decreased as average weekly hours of TV viewing increased. Thus, metabolism is changed due to watching television for long hours, contributing to fat accumulation” (Hassam, 2011).
Effect on Attention and Cognition
Another health problem caused by watching too much television especially for children is attention and cognition. New research has concluded that children should not be watching television or even any kind of screen entertainment especially under the age of two years. It has been proven to affect their brain development negatively. The research goes further to say that, children should never be allowed televisions in their bedrooms. “Early exposure to television during critical periods of synaptic development would be associated with subsequent attention problems,” (Hassam, 2011). The research conducted indicated that young children at ages below three are at a greater risk of developing attention related problems du to watching television. It was realized that television watching has the ability to elicit instinctive sensitivity in us when there is sudden changes in vision and sound.
A research conducted to test the responses of electroencephalogram to some techniques of television such as cutting, editing, zooming and sudden noises indicated that they have an effect on the brain. It indicated that, “these stylistic techniques can indeed trigger involuntary physiological responses of detecting and attending to movement – dynamic stimuli – something television has in abundance,” (Hassam, 2011). This enables as to pay attention to television for long hours, while it would be hard without such stylistic techniques. Thus, when children are exposed to such styles designed to draw attention find it hard to pay attention when such stylistic techniques are absent. Normally, we would not pay attention for long to television since it is the same scene. However, with many edits, cutting, changing sounds, and changing visual draw our attention since the scene is changing rapidly.
Effect on Sleep
Another health effect of television watching is sleep. Research has indicated that children continue to get less and less sleep than earlier generations had. Children are experiencing more difficulties sleeping than before. Research found that exposure to more than two hours of sleep was associated with sleep disturbances. “On the other hand, those adolescents who reduced their television viewing from one hour or longer to less than one hour per day experienced a significant reduction in risk for subsequent sleep problems,” (Hassam, 2011). Lack of enough sleep comes with its complications such as altering levels of melatonin hormone that is a known powerful antioxidant. With reduction of the melatonin, there are greater risks of having DNA mutation that could cause cancer. The hormone is also known to cause sleepiness since the melatonin rises, as it grows dark. Further, research indicates that watching of television reduces levels of melatonin in the urine, which affects young children at their puberty when important changes take place. Thus, changes that are supposed to take place may not take place fully, causing problems later in life. The effect could be long-term and devastating.
Conclusively, it is obvious there is a causal and effect relationship between watching television and health as evidenced above. However, there are very few people aware of this fact. Many people do not realize any danger of watching television since it only requires vision. However, it seems that children at their few first years of life are more vulnerable since they are developing. Thus, exposure to television at the ages of below three poses a great risk for children especially attention and cognition where they learn to respond to the stylistic techniques of television, and responding to smaller cues becomes hard. Evidently, television watching at early stages of life can have long-term effects especially to education.
Effect on weight
Effect on attention and cognition
Effect on sleep
Early exposure to television watching may have adverse health problem in the long-term for children that could lead to difficulties in education as well as social well-being.
Hassam. (2011). Effects of Television on Humans. Retrieved from http://hassam.hubpages.com/hub/Effects-Of-Television-On-Humans
methodsofhealing.com. (2012). Physical Effects of Childhood Obesity. Retrieved from http://www.methodsofhealing.com/physical-effects-of-childhood-obesity/
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