television

  1. Docs: No more TV for tots

    The American Academy of Pediatrics got it all wrong on ADHD with its outrageous new screening guidelines -- but the organization did manage to hit one nail right on the head.

    And that's with the new advice on television and little kids: Keep it off.

    The group now says the only safe amount of television for a kid under the age of 2 is no television at all -- and that includes "educational" programs and any DVDs that claim they can turn your child into the next Einstein, Mozart or da Vinci.

    See? We can agree on something -- although TV is a pretty easy target. After all, there are no studies that find television is good for children, especially young children.

    Instead, multiple studies have found that little kids who watch TV -- any TV, even the supposedly age-appropriate shows and videos -- have a higher risk of developmental problems.

    Other problems may not crop up right away -- but you can bet the remote control they're there: Children raised in front of a glowing screen have a higher risk of obesity, problems with social skills and even trouble doing their schoolwork... not to mention no time for homework.

    After all, who has time for homework when SpongeBob is on?

    And SpongeBob, by the way, is the last TV "friend" you want your kids spending time with -- and not just the under-2 set. A recent study found that 4-year-old children who watch this show have immediate problems with attention spans, focus and memory.

    It doesn't get any better after that -- a study I told you about last spring found that kids as young as 6 who watch the most TV already show the earliest warning signs of heart disease.

    These problems follow kids right through childhood -- and you don't need a crystal ball to see where it'll lead them in adulthood. One study this summer found that every two hours of daily TV viewing boosts the odds of type 2 diabetes by 20 percent, heart disease by 15 percent and death from any cause by 13 percent in adults.

    Good advice tends to be good advice, no matter how old -- or how young -- you are. So whether you have little ones at home or not, do yourself a favor and keep the TV off as much as possible.

  2. Sleep problems linked to TV, Internet

    What's keeping you up at night?

    If you're like most people--kids and adults alike--it's almost certainly some kind of screen, from the big one in the living room to the little one that's never far from your hand.

    Now, a new study finds that more than a third of all Americans get less than seven hours of sleep a night--and at the same time, a new survey finds that up to 95 percent of us are in front of those glowing screens within an hour of bedtime.

    Are the two related? Almost certainly, and here's why:

    First, you get "sucked in." Once you turn on the tube, start playing a game or begin surfing the Web, it's easy to lose track of time.

    Next thing you know, it's well past midnight... and you're not even tired.

    And that's because--second--all those glowing lights can actually disrupt the production of the sleep hormone melatonin... making it harder to get the rest you need, even after you shut of all the lights, big and small.

    And that can lead to huge problems during the daytime.

    In another new study, researchers found that a quarter of all people who get less than seven hours of sleep a night have trouble concentrating.

    Another 18 percent said they had memory problems... while 8.6 percent said they were so tired all day they didn't do their jobs very well, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    If only offices had nap rooms!

    Actually, that's not such a bad idea.

    In fact, it's a win-win: Studies have found that daytime naps can enhance productivity, boost memory and learning, and lower the risk of burnout.

    That's the win for your boss.

    But there's also a win here for you--because in addition to catching up on sleep, you might also lower your blood pressure: A new study finds a significant drop among people who take a 45-minute nap during the day.

    Maybe office cubicles should come with pillows, blankets, and inflatable mattresses along with computers, phones and spinning chairs.

  3. TV is bad for babies

    Researchers say those who spend even a little time in front if it develop more slowly than those who don't watch any.

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