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TV Viewing Linked to Attention Problems

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 6 years ago | from the tired-of-being-told-to-go-play-outside dept.

Television 301

oDDmON oUT writes "While your mother may have told you that sitting too close to the TV was bad for your eyes, the folks over at New Scientist are reporting that too much television may be linked to a bad attention span 'The study is not proof that TV viewing causes attention problems, Landhuis notes, because it may be that children prone to attention problems may be drawn to watching television. "However, our results show that the net effect of television seems to be adverse."'"

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301 comments

Obligatory. (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20482477)

> Nothing for you to see here. Please move along.

OK, this thread's done. Back to the firehose. When's the next article come out, guys?

Re:Obligatory. (2)

bakana (918482) | more than 6 years ago | (#20482809)

I'll believe this when I see more unbiased studies come out with the same conclusion under the same factors. For people whom don't know, just because one study's result points towards a corilation doesn't mean that to hold as truth. The study has to be replicated several times over and should be done by different scientist each time under the same conditions. If the results of each study are the same, then maybe they are on to something, otherwise as 1st post says move on nothing to see here.

Re:Obligatory. (4, Interesting)

TheWanderingHermit (513872) | more than 6 years ago | (#20482957)

Yep. It's nowhere near new. I used data like this in a speech I had to do in public speaking around 1979 in high school. When I worked in Special Ed, many teachers had noticed that the kids who talked more about TV were the ones that tended to have less of an attention span. There's a lot of experience that leads one to believe that kids that watch too much TV tend to have an attention span that's about 10-15 minutes, or the length of time between commercials.

On the other hand, I've seen a huge number of kids who are supposedly ADD or ADHD show an amazing attention span when they sit down with a copy of Harry Potter. It makes me wonder if part of the problem with attention spans in school is due to inappropriate expectations for a child's age and boring teachers that just don't have the skills teachers did in years past.

Re:Obligatory. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20483351)

Actually ADD/ADHD is a bit of a misnomer. It is more about an extreme difficulty in controlling one's attention. So frequently it is in deficit. But at other times people enter hyper-attention and get lost for hours at a time. This can be wonderful. But all-in-all the inability to "turn it off" can also be destructive (missing meals, social commitments, etc). Not being able to control one's focus sucks.

At least it does for me. I don't know whether it was the cause or the symptom, but as a child practically all I did was watch TV. It was my baby sitter and my friends. Even now I can easily get sucked in for hours on end if I'm not careful. The funny thing is that I don't feel like I absorb much in front of the TV most of the time. It's just a way to go numb. Anyway, I'm not judging TV, or other poeple's use. Just reporting my biased, subjective experience which is that I have ADD and as a child I easily watched 5+ hours of TV a day.

I wholeheartedly disagree (5, Funny)

CaptainPatent (1087643) | more than 6 years ago | (#20482497)

I am an avid TV watcher and have no problems pa...

Oh look a bunny!

Re:I wholeheartedly disagree (1)

lmnfrs (829146) | more than 6 years ago | (#20482519)

Yeah bunnies are fuz.. oh have you seen this commercial before!?

Re:I wholeheartedly disagree (4, Funny)

Bluesman (104513) | more than 6 years ago | (#20482673)

I'm sure you all think you're very funny, but this is a serious problem. You shouldn't joke about it, even if Lindsay Lohan just bought a new house in Beverly Hills.

Re:I wholeheartedly disagree (1)

eln (21727) | more than 6 years ago | (#20482891)

Lindsay Lohan did what? Oh, that girl is out of control!

What were we talking about again?

Re:I wholeheartedly disagree (5, Funny)

skeeto (1138903) | more than 6 years ago | (#20482743)

How many kids with ADD does it take to screw in a lightbulb?

Hey! Wanna go ride bikes?

Re:I wholeheartedly disagree (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20482755)

It's "a bird" not "a bunny", weren't you payi-

By the way, did you catch Dr. Who this past weekend? It was pretty good!

Re:I wholeheartedly disagree (0, Redundant)

varmittang (849469) | more than 6 years ago | (#20482773)

Yeah, I don't have a problem eith...

Ooooohhh, pony!

Re:I wholeheartedly disagree (2, Funny)

Jorgandar (450573) | more than 6 years ago | (#20482971)

As an avid bunny watcher i'm offended by your..

Oh look a TV!

Not the cause, but an indicator (5, Insightful)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 6 years ago | (#20483413)

Why?

Because parents who let their kids stay in front of a TV for hours on end are not teaching their kids responsibility. All they are teaching is selfishness and the like. I say this because I have seen ADD kids do just fine playing games for hours on, its because they want to do it. ADD is just an excuse for not teaching a child that there is a time and place for everything. Its because you don't take an active interest in what they are doing, as such they do not know what to place importance on. Don't claim they don't know how to focus , the do damn well when its what they want to do.

Occupy their time. Involve them. You would be amazed at the difference between children of parents who actively engage them throughout the day and those that don't. I bet you can tell which children are which. ADD should renamed ARD - Adult Responsibility Disorder.

No, really? (5, Funny)

SultanCemil (722533) | more than 6 years ago | (#20482501)

Gosh, you mean watching Tv with 1/2 second shots changing quickly will shorten my attention span? What's next, water that gets you wet?

Re:No, really? (2, Interesting)

cp.tar (871488) | more than 6 years ago | (#20482537)

You forgot commercial breaks, which make our attention stop and go and stop and go...

Re:No, really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20482585)

nah. a 15-second commercial outdoes the average attention span by a good 14 seconds.

Re:No, really? (2, Interesting)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 6 years ago | (#20482593)

Gosh, you mean watching Tv with 1/2 second shots changing quickly will shorten my attention span? What's next, water that gets you wet?

Ever notice how stuff on TV in most countries is peppered with advertising? Start a story, ad, ad, ad, some more of the story, ad, ad, ad, ad, a preposterous climax/cliff hanger, ad, ad, ad, ad, some sort of resolution which returns things back to the way they were at the beginning of the show.

I don't watch TV anymore as I find it frustrates the heck out of me. I read books now, play the occasional video game, but have suffer no doubts maintaining my attention span is quite a challenge. I must have 5 or more thoughts pass through my mind each minute I'm listening to someone talk, then find I can't remember their name.

Re:No, really? (2, Informative)

Tau Neutrino (76206) | more than 6 years ago | (#20482739)

Ever notice how stuff on TV in most countries is peppered with advertising?
Completely agree. Commercials drive me up the wall. And even the bad shows are lousy with them. Fortunately, most of the good stuff comes out a little while later on DVD, with no ads. And the kicker is, the local library has many of them. Gratis.

If you don't mind not being current with the latest TV-induced craze, it's a reasonable solution.

Re:No, really? (1)

ed.mps (1015669) | more than 6 years ago | (#20482895)

Just to mention (in Brazil), the main audience-whore programs are soap operas (mainly those starting at 21h). You see credit card/bank/car (one, two or all) being advertised in every episode. (I am at univ. at night, free from this crap, luckily)

Re:No, really? (3, Interesting)

anagama (611277) | more than 6 years ago | (#20483155)

I'm with you, though I go for the convenience of netflix. I quite watching broadcast/cable TV in 1993. On the once every other year chance I watch a show at a friend's place, I'm constantly annoyed at the breaks in the story. Aside from years of training, I don't see how people can tolerate it.

What I prefer is to have a whole season on DVD -- the story becomes a video-novel that way. Even feature films start to feel like short stories when compared to the pleasure of a commercial free movie about 20+ hours long per season.

Re:No, really? (1)

nospam007 (722110) | more than 6 years ago | (#20482923)

Ever notice how stuff on TV in most countries is peppered with advertising? Start a story, ad, ad, ad, some more of the story, ad, ad, ad, ad, a preposterous climax/cliff hanger, ad, ad, ad, ad, some sort of resolution which returns things back to the way they were at the beginning of the show.
--
The movies are following not far behind. The Bourne trilogy was unwatchable for me, for the last one I left the theater after 10 minutes, because I got seasick.
The whole stuff is done with a camera handheld by a guy suffering from Parkinsons.

Re:No, really? (1)

sveard (1076275) | more than 6 years ago | (#20483165)

You should try 28 Weeks Later, I got motion sickness of that one.

Re:No, really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20483071)

That's ADD Chicken, err, Robot Chicken. Most show's don't suck that bad/don't have that problem to quite the extent you mentioned.

Um. (0, Redundant)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 6 years ago | (#20482505)

I lost my attention after the first sentence. Someone tell me what this is all about. :-/

Re:Um. (1)

ShatteredArm (1123533) | more than 6 years ago | (#20482559)

tl;dr

Re:Um. (4, Funny)

hatchet (528688) | more than 6 years ago | (#20482587)

Maybe you should be sent to concentration camp... you know... to learn to concentrate.

Re:Um. (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 6 years ago | (#20482645)

Maybe you should be sent to concentration camp... you know... to learn to concentrate.

Right on. Do they have TV there?

Re:Um. (1)

hatchet (528688) | more than 6 years ago | (#20482847)

No TV, just a nifty 'arbeit macht frei' sign.

Re:Um. (1)

ShaneThePain (929627) | more than 6 years ago | (#20482757)

I laughed.

Re:Um. (1)

qazwer00 (1152449) | more than 6 years ago | (#20483089)

wasn't that from South Park (season 5) when Cartman says that Kyle should be sent to a concentration camp, but according to him, it wasn't a put down on Jews and just a comment about Kyle being unable to concentrate ?

In related news... (2, Insightful)

notthe9 (800486) | more than 6 years ago | (#20482509)

And in related news, scientists are reporting the polar ice caps are cold.

Re:In related news... (2, Insightful)

gardyloo (512791) | more than 6 years ago | (#20482793)

In 50 years, that may have transitioned to an anachronism. I hope not.

Re:In related news... (1)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 6 years ago | (#20483309)

And in related news, scientists are reporting the polar ice caps are cold.
Not for much longer.

This is news? (1)

mark-t (151149) | more than 6 years ago | (#20482521)

This correlation was discovered at _LEAST_ 30 years ago... I remember hearing about it when I was a child.

Re:This is news? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20482827)

And further, the presumption seems to be that a short attention span is a bad thing.

If that were true I would think that the Amish would have taken over the world by now.

Huh? (1)

hurting now (967633) | more than 6 years ago | (#20482523)

Oooooo, look! Shiny!

One for the books, says Ivan (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20482529)

Flappin' them jacks, eh??

You know... (2, Funny)

jmcwork (564008) | more than 6 years ago | (#20482545)

The phrase 'Boob tube' was coined long before late night Cinemax was available.

Re:You know... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20482677)

Now it's called You tube. And you are the boob. Or at least you wish you were.

Wow, what a revelation (2, Insightful)

eviloverlordx (99809) | more than 6 years ago | (#20482561)

Everybody and their dog has been talking about this for the last few years, so I'm not sure that this is really 'news'. My wife and I try to keep our daughter from watching too much TV, and limiting what she does watch to Sprout. Sometimes, though, you just need the services of the electronic babysitter to keep your sanity.

Re:Wow, what a revelation (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20482623)

When you do use it as a sitter, do you make up for the damage later by playing with the child in a fashion that re-inforces concentration and focus?

Re:Wow, what a revelation (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 6 years ago | (#20482769)

Everybody and their dog has been talking about this for the last few years, so I'm not sure that this is really 'news'. My wife and I try to keep our daughter from watching too much TV, and limiting what she does watch to Sprout. Sometimes, though, you just need the services of the electronic babysitter to keep your sanity.

Teach her to play chess, then give her one of those eletronic chessboards. Honestly, give kids those Tinker Toys, Lincoln Logs, Legos and such and they'll keep themselves entertained for hours, develops their little brains, too!

Re:Wow, what a revelation (1)

eviloverlordx (99809) | more than 6 years ago | (#20482849)

"Teach her to play chess, then give her one of those eletronic chessboards. Honestly, give kids those Tinker Toys, Lincoln Logs, Legos and such and they'll keep themselves entertained for hours, develops their little brains, too!"

Well, since she's coming up on her first birthday next week, those will have to wait. We do have age-appropriate stuff for her, like shape sorters and such.

Re:Wow, what a revelation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20483149)

Television isn't really age appropriate for children under two years of age either, according to most child experts. We never use the television around our 15 month old daughter. Her only exposure to TV has been the few times that she has visited grandma and grandpa.

Or for those on a budget (1)

jbeaupre (752124) | more than 6 years ago | (#20483003)

Send them outside. They can be mighty creative with just stuff in the yard. Both of mine are under 2, so my wife insists I go with them (might be just a ruse to get rid of me too). But even a stick and a rock seem mighty entertaining to them. The 17 month old thinks I'm a god just pushing the rock with a stick, while the 4 month old thinks his brother is a god for being able to pick up the stick without losing an eye. No, they aren't retarded (that's the official line, anyway). Kids can just make anything fun if given a chance.

Meanwhile I'm amassing a Lego and Brio empire for when they are a bit older. I might even let them play with it.

Re:Wow, what a revelation (1)

stove (38601) | more than 6 years ago | (#20483023)

My 3 year old will spend about 5 happy minutes throwing the Lincoln Logs all over the room, then ask to play with something else. I anticipate him playing with those types of toys in the future, just not right now. If the child is able to play chess, the parent is probably not needing to plop them down in front of the TV.

When I grew up, our family was allowed a half hour of TV a day. Strangely, that half hour was right before dinner. Now I understand my Mom's reasoning...

Re:Wow, what a revelation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20483031)

Sometimes, though, you just need the services of the electronic babysitter to keep your sanity.

Wow, Ivan [slashdot.org] really can go anywhere!

Re:Wow, what a revelation (1)

butterwise (862336) | more than 6 years ago | (#20483405)

Sometimes, though, you just need the services of the electronic babysitter to keep your sanity.
Unless, of course, that electronic babysitter goes berserk and mechanically separates your kids. Happened to a friend of mine.

it makes sense... (1)

mseidl (828824) | more than 6 years ago | (#20482601)

You get five minute clips of your show, followed by 30 seconds of commercials. Overall the pace of life in America is a very go go go go go! So, things have to be short and sweet. But unfortunately it's spilling over into all types of content and collectively ruining our children. But I suppose parents could get rid of the TV and lock the kids outside in the sun.

Re:it makes sense... (1)

Radres (776901) | more than 6 years ago | (#20482707)

Ruining them? Or improving them?

Re:it makes sense... (1)

SpaceLifeForm (228190) | more than 6 years ago | (#20483177)

The depends upon the SPF rating.

Re:it makes sense... (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 6 years ago | (#20482715)

They say that shows like Sesame Street are really bad for this, because they consist entirely of 30 second commercials for things such as "the letter T" or "The Number 7". Shows which contain an actual story for them to follow, like Dora the Explorer, tend to be much less harmful to their attention spans. What I like is that most kids shows on PBS, Treehouse, and other networks tend to be commercial free, because they've found that most parents don't want their kids subjected to so much advertising.

Re:it makes sense... (1)

Anne_Nonymous (313852) | more than 6 years ago | (#20483051)

>> 30 second commercials for things such as "the letter T"

I'd like to buy a vowel, please.

Re:it makes sense... (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 6 years ago | (#20482753)

You get five minute clips of your show, followed by 30 seconds of commercials.


That's an interesting theory as to the source of the problem; to test it, one might try to studying the effect of commercial-free viewing vs. commercial-laden viewing (and even different levels of commercial frequency and duration). There is a considerable difference, IME, in viewing experience between watching series on Showtime, HBO, etc. vs. broadcast networks from the lack of commercials, but it'd be interesting to see how that relates to effects like the one studied here.

OTOH, the effect may not be from commercials so much as short cuts in the main body of the program, which are very common in modern TV and movies, in which case programs without commercials might not have a big difference (though the series on the premium cable outlets might still average better; at least the ones I've seen seem not to favor quick cuts as much as broadcast shows do.)

Why is it (4, Insightful)

BlowHole666 (1152399) | more than 6 years ago | (#20482605)

I was wondering why it is that back in the 1950's you never heard about people having attention problems. I know doctors have learned a lot about attention problems since the 1950's but you can still tell based on grades, interest in social activities etc. We may have not had a name for it in the 50's but if it was around it would have been documented. But now it just seams that cases of ADD and ADHD are just popping up all over the place. Could it be that parents are no longer at home? The dad does not get the joys of working 9-5 and coming home to his wife and dinner like in leave it to beaver? So the kid spends a lot of time away from their parents because the parents are at work. So the child must think up new ways to entertain them self and it just spirals out of control and the brain tricks the child into always wanting to daydream? So naturally the child sits in front of the TV and that just spurs the imagination, but maybe the imagination should only be used so much before it is always on. So if you think of the your imagination as downloading an mp3, and getting caught as ADHD. If you download one song you will probably be ok. If you download songs 24/7 you will probably get caught.

Re:Why is it (1)

Jafafa Hots (580169) | more than 6 years ago | (#20482719)

Because back then any kids who DID have attention problems were considered to be WITCHES and they were summarily killed. It's true, I saw something on TV about that.

Re:Why is it (2, Interesting)

decipher_saint (72686) | more than 6 years ago | (#20482763)

In the 50s if you had a problem you were just "funny", if it was too much for the family to handle they'd drop you off at the funny farm and pump you full of drugs.

I wonder sometimes about exactly how "good" attention span is defined. I mean back in the 50s they used to have intermission for motion pictures. Maybe inattentive behaviour went unnoticed? (It would explain the Edsel).

Re:Why is it (1)

BlowHole666 (1152399) | more than 6 years ago | (#20482795)

Yes you were considered funny. But in the back of your mind you knew that if you acted up the teacher was going to smack the crap out of you, or your dad was going to kick the crap out of you at home. I think it all just comes down to parenting and paying attention to the child rather then just dropping them in front of the TV, computer, or video game console. Parents are just getting lazy and they do not discipline.

Re:Why is it (1)

Jarjarthejedi (996957) | more than 6 years ago | (#20482921)

Mod Parent Up. Much as modern entertainment is unlikely to be a cause behind modern violence but more likely a channel used by those who already have those tendencies. In other words, it's not that T.V. causes ADD, it's that ADD goes (semi-)well with T.V.

One interesting note is that I know that I, and my friend who was actually diagnosed with ADD, both don't watch T.V. because it's way too boring. Honestly I don't have the attention span for T.V., and I'm not ADD.

I wonder what percentage of ADD diagnosed children actually watch T.V. voluntarily nowadays, I would imagine that it's much smaller than the percentage of ADD diagnosed people who spend most of their time online as that is a much faster, more controllable form of entertainment. If one site gets boring just go to another.

In addition, with the modern extremely broad definition of ADD I wonder how we can make any generalizations about ADD diagnosed people. Remember that officially diagnosed friend of mine? We regurally play multi-hour sessions of Age of Empires, and he stays focused the entire time no problem. He also gets great grades, and doesn't take any medications at all. When someone who doesn't need any meds to do well in school and pay attention for hours can be diagnosed with ADD then I personally believe the diagnosis of ADD is far to wide. Right now it seems like if you get bored easily with things adults consider important, which are 9 times out of 10 extremely boring, then you're ADD.

Re:Why is it (1)

Xtravar (725372) | more than 6 years ago | (#20483263)

I was thinking the same thing - "if a child doesn't pay attention to what *I* want him/her to pay attention to, the child has an attention problem." Sorry, it doesn't work that way.

Perhaps the best way to get kids to pay attention is to raise them to appreciate things for which you want them to be interested in... and then not kill the opportunity with boring school teachers.

I've got the same problem with TV, too. I have always needed to do something /while/ watching TV... whether that's play with Legos as a child or surf the interweb as an adult. Perhaps I'm just able to better divide my attention... I doodle at meetings too (and no doubt some people think I'm not paying attention).

Re:Why is it (1)

mcmonkey (96054) | more than 6 years ago | (#20483091)

In the 50s if you had a problem you were just "funny", if it was too much for the family to handle they'd drop you off at the funny farm and pump you full of drugs.

Tell me more about these funny farms. Do the have conjugal visits?

Re:Why is it (1)

hatchet (528688) | more than 6 years ago | (#20482799)

It's because in the 1950's people with attention problems were just stupid.
Similarly, retards became mentally challenged and cripples became paraplegic or physically challenged

Re:Why is it (2, Interesting)

Ubergrendle (531719) | more than 6 years ago | (#20482839)

Its more complicated than that, but you're on the right track. Can't remember the exact details of the show, but a CBC Radio program called Ideas had a sociologist on one episode talking about the separation of humanity from nature and doing things 'real'. Nature in all its aspects is beaten back, controlled, dominated, destroyed. We are having generations of children grow up with absent parents, 24/7 electronic media, and a complete segregation from spontaneous childhood play. -- the last one being the MOST troublesome. I was fortunate to grow up in a suburb that had lots of wild spaces to play in, and before parents had kids lined up in supervised after school programs 7 days a week. Kids nowadays only see a flowing river in Legends of Zelda; they see a forest on TV.

Recently a TV program on the Food Network, Jamie Oliver's School Dinners, really hit this mark home for me. The majority of kids in a classroom couldn't identify an unprocessed carrot from a potato. (!!!)

Over dependence upon TV is a symptom, not the cause IMHO. Yes TV has some detrimental effects, but there are some communicative benefits as well. Lack of physical activity, lack of access to 'nature', lack of spontaneous play, hyper-compressed 'quality' time with children as both parents work...these are all problematic, ontop of TV exposure.

Re:Why is it (1)

Knuckles (8964) | more than 6 years ago | (#20483049)

Recently a TV program on the Food Network, Jamie Oliver's School Dinners, really hit this mark home for me. The majority of kids in a classroom couldn't identify an unprocessed carrot from a potato. (!!!)

I recently read about a study being done in German schools that allegedly found that 30% of kids aged 6 to 11 could not walk backwards.

Re:Why is it (2, Insightful)

bwindle2 (519558) | more than 6 years ago | (#20482889)

Maybe it didn't happen (as much) in the '50s because TV was less entertaining back then. Then: 3 channels of fuzzy, black&white content without so much as a knee exposed, and certainly no sex and hardly any violence. Now: You get 500 channels of crystal-clear content, oft sprinkled with half-naked women, violence, and sex.

Re:Why is it (1)

BlowHole666 (1152399) | more than 6 years ago | (#20482941)

No that is the reason kids shoot up the school. Not ADD. Or is it video games, or music?? Do not know what the excuse is now.

Re:Why is it (1)

SpaceLifeForm (228190) | more than 6 years ago | (#20483283)

You gotta admit though, June was hot!

Re:Why is it (1)

kharchenko (303729) | more than 6 years ago | (#20483347)

I think that the style of TV cinematography contributes to that. Modern TV changes the scene every few seconds.

You get used to that when you watch a lot of TV, but I stopped watching TV regularly a few years back, and every time I see it now it's highly annoying how each scene is yanked from under my eyes as soon as I get comfortable with it.

Re:Why is it (1)

fonetik (181656) | more than 6 years ago | (#20483367)

And they didn't have the drug to sell, so they hadn't invented the disease yet.

Re:Why is it (4, Interesting)

mark-t (151149) | more than 6 years ago | (#20482967)

The reason it is more common now than it used to be is two fold: one, our society has improved mechanisms for detecting neurologically atypical activity due to improved social programs and medical technologies; and two, there actually _are_ more people in the world with these disorders than before. The reason for the latter is connected with how medical technology has advanced over the past century or so. Before, people with either mental or physical disabilities would not usually be able to be successful, and thus would not typically survive in a competitive world. These people would have relatively few offspring, and the genes associated with those disabilities would not be very common. Enter ever-more improved medicines, the ability to control or limit the effects of the disabilities, allowing people with the genes associated with them to reproduce as commonly as people with typical human gene structures. The result is that the gene pool contains an increasing amount of "flawed" genetic material, increasing the likelihood that a child would be born with some disorder or another.

Re:Why is it (1)

tsstahl (812393) | more than 6 years ago | (#20483243)

...or the incidence of occurrence for these traits has stayed the same in proportion to the entire population. And as population has exploded, the percentage of "flawed" people is the same, but are physically more numerous because the human census is greater.

Re:Why is it (1)

blindd0t (855876) | more than 6 years ago | (#20482989)

I don't know if the parent should be mod'd off-topic or funny. This person went from talking about people in the 1950's to justifying why it should be OK to download music illegally on occasion (with several other topics in-between). :-)

Re:Why is it (1)

BlowHole666 (1152399) | more than 6 years ago | (#20483081)

Sorry I was using downloading music to express the point I was trying to make. It just happened to be off topic and funny :)

Re:Why is it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20483055)

consider this, in the 1950's sexual transmitted diseases that caused mental disorders, like syphilis, where not classified like they are now. back then they would call it dementia or something like it, people in the medical profession know what it was, but it was a different society. having to even tell someone that you had a problem was bad enough, let alone telling them you have a mental disorder, let alone telling them you had a sexual transmitted disease! but this kind of act wasnt left to just stds but also for alot of medical disorders, it was simply thought of as shameful.

to be honest, i blame the 60s generation. stupid hippies made it so physical punishment, which is one of the most effective forms of conditioning, became taboo. other taboos, like mental illness, became more socially accepted. etc...
to make matters worse, things like add and adhd have become social scapegoats for any deviant or bored child. situations where teachers incest that a child be prescribed medication or a neglectful parent that just wants a cowed child and the like, as opposed to a doctor being allowed to do his or her job.

when you think about it, children are also not allowed to get away with nearly half the things older generations where able to. what ever happened to boys will be boys? why are children required to be anything but children? to assume that a child is able to sit and do one thing for longer then say 20 mins, with perhaps the exception of videogames and tv, is just silly. heck, if a child is that focused i would wager that there is something wrong with that one child and not the rest of the children that are bouncing off the walls, because thats what children do.

the thing about adhd and add kids is that they have problems controlling their impulses for as long as normal children. to may kids are though to have some disorder when in reality they are just kids! we should focus on helping the ones who need help, not pandering to our social munchausens and collective hypochondria.

wait, what was i talking about?

They think TV is causes problems... (1)

Subm (79417) | more than 6 years ago | (#20482621)

... reporting that too much television may be linked to a bad attention span ...

Wait until they study the effects of too much internet!

Tor like oatmeals! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20482631)

Tor like oatmeals!

I prefer hot grits, myself. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20482811)

Thank you.

Don't blame Baywatch :) (1)

jayemcee (605967) | more than 6 years ago | (#20482679)

The spike (+1 hour) occurred between 1986-1988, and the first episode wasn't until 1989. I'm guessing Miami Vice :)

People are not wearing enough hats. (5, Funny)

Mr. Flibble (12943) | more than 6 years ago | (#20482687)

CHAIRMAN: ...Which brings us once again to the urgent realization of just how much there is still left to own. Item six on the agenda: the meaning of life. Now, uh, Harry, you've had some thoughts on this.
HARRY:
        That's right. Yeah, I've had a team working on this over the past few weeks, and, uh, what we've come up with can be reduced to two fundamental concepts. One: people are not wearing enough hats. Two: matter is energy. In the universe, there are many energy fields which we cannot normally perceive. Some energies have a spiritual source which act upon a person's soul. However, this soul does not exist ab initio, as orthodox Christianity teaches. It has to be brought into existence by a process of guided self-observation. However, this is rarely achieved, owing to man's unique ability to be distracted from spiritual matters by everyday trivia.
        [pause]
BERT:
        What was that about hats, again?
HARRY:
        Oh, uh, people aren't wearing enough.
CHAIRMAN:
        Is this true?

EDMUND:
        Certainly. Hat sales have increased, but not pari passu, as our research initially--
BERT:
        But when you say 'enough', enough for what purpose?
GUNTHER:
        Can I just ask, with reference to your second point, when you say souls don't develop because people become distracted,...
        [rumble] ...has anyone noticed that building there before?

Re:People are not wearing enough hats. (1)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 6 years ago | (#20483381)

My God, whoever modded that "troll" wasn't paying attention... errrr, never mind.

Three hours a day! (1)

japhmi (225606) | more than 6 years ago | (#20482709)

From TFA:

"Those who watched more than two hours, and particularly those who watched more than three hours, of television per day during childhood had above-average symptoms of attention problems in adolescence,"

Any parent who lets their kid watch 3 hours a day every day of TV is insane. I get mad at myself because I let my kids watch 2 hours on a weekend and 1/2 an hour most weekdays.

Blame parents (1)

bhmit1 (2270) | more than 6 years ago | (#20482725)

Watching TV leads to parents yelling at kids to stop wasting all the time doing nothing. So kids learn to get their viewing in quickly. There's also the issue with advertisements and multiple channels. People learn to not focus too much on one show because their ad will be over in the important channel in 2 minutes, but dvr's are fixing that. I still like blaming parents, well them and society, since they made things so bad in the world that the den is the last semi-safe place for kids to play. Whatever happened to the innocence of riding a bike down the middle of the street with a toy gun playing cops and robbers?

We now return to the regularly scheduled "what were you talking about" jokes.

Scope of Problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20482877)

Yes, I certainly agree that viewing TV impacts a persons attention span. I can't bear to watch TV for more than say 15 minutes, maybe a half hour a day at most. The quality of TV lately has sucked the fun of turning on the 'Idiot Box'.

Oh you mean attention AWAY from the TV.. I see, well, no wonder people have low attention spans, it goes with the programming the are accustomed to. TV continues to pander to the lowest common denominator, and it keeps getting lower and lower.

Videogames (3, Insightful)

king-manic (409855) | more than 6 years ago | (#20482919)

Wouldn't video games be the obvious cure to TV induced ADD? Most video games require hours of dedication and concentration to finish. I suppose those with ADD will be more attracted to ADD games (almost anything on the wii right now). So in the interest of public health we should promote the playing videos games that aren't shitty mini game collections.

Save a mind, ban wario ware.

In Addition (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20482959)


to election of war criminals [whitehouse.org] .

PatRIOTically as always,
K. Trout, C.F.O.

I Call BS (3, Interesting)

eno2001 (527078) | more than 6 years ago | (#20482991)

When I was a kid I watched a TON of television and I have an incredibly long attention span. I can sit and write code for hours. Or work on music for hours (piano, guitar, synths, audio workstation). I can have a long conversation on a particular subject (over dinner, in the car, etc...). My average viewing day at age three during the week was:

7:00AM-11:00AM (Cartoons, Little Rascals, Brady Bunch)
3:00-5:00PM (Rin-Tin-Tin, more Little Rascals, The Three Stooges, Laurel and Hardy, Looney Toons, etc...)
7:00PM-9:00PM (Anything my folks watched which could have been Star Trek, Hogan's Heroes, any number of 70s cop shows and of course the news occasionally in the 6:00-7:00PM time slot.

Weekends were usually:

7:00AM- 12:00PM (Cartoons)
1:00PM-5:00PM (Local hosted movies "Superhost" in Cleveland)
6:00PM-7:00PM (Star Trek)
8:00PM-11:00PM (Any number of "family shows" in the 70s, Love Boat and Fantasy Island on Saturday nights, and maybe a movie on Sunday nights)

It had no impact on my attention span.

Looking at that schedule... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20483219)

...your attention span might be ok, but it's quite obvious that you really need to get a life!

Re:I Call BS (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20483357)

Wow, one person watched tons of tv but doesn't have a short attention span. You're right; that must mean the study is completely bogus!

no way !! (1)

dinofile (535915) | more than 6 years ago | (#20482995)

Well I for one am glad these masterminds put that little theory to rest. Who would have thought all these ad bombardments and flickering scene changes would have caused attention problems or difficulty in relating to boring real life. I am shocked I tell you, shocked !
Next it will be jingles are catchy and ads are only there to sell us stuff. mmmmmmm

The ability to concentrate... (3, Interesting)

Kjella (173770) | more than 6 years ago | (#20483009)

...is a learned skill as well. Everyone that's worked in a cubicle or "open landscape", learn how to tune out most (if not all of it). Find a farmer or lumberjack and place him there and he'll go crazy with all the chattering until he learns. If you got zero attention span, the TV is also the easy way out, it's a constant series of impressions to keep you sitting there. You don't have to actually learn to sit down and get some attention span.

Then again, I rarely get to do that at work either. If I had a single checklist of things to do, and could work my way down then all would be well. Instead it's definately got multitasking, I'd say at times multithreading, preemption and there's always someone trying to hog the scheduler. I make it sound all bad but I don't really feel it that way - but it's definately not for the really long attention spans.

Anyone? (1)

pragma_x (644215) | more than 6 years ago | (#20483017)

The summary was too long to bother... what is this story about anyway?

Oblig. Frank Zappa (1)

Critical Facilities (850111) | more than 6 years ago | (#20483053)

I'm the Slime

I am gross and perverted I'm obsessed 'n deranged
I have existed for years
But very little has changed
I'm the tool of the Government
And industry too
For I am destined to rule
And regulate you

I may be vile and pernicious
But you can't look away
I make you think I'm delicious
With the stuff that I say
I'm the best you can get
Have you guessed me yet?
I'm the slime oozin' out
From your TV set

You will obey me while I lead you
And eat the garbage that I feed you
Until the day that we don't need you
Don't go for help . . . no one will heed you
Your mind is totally controlled
It has been stuffed into my mold
And you will do as you are told
Until the rights to you are sold

That's right, folks . . .
Don't touch that dial

Well, I am the slime from your video
Oozin' along on your livin' room floor

I am the slime from your video
Can't stop the slime, people, lookit me go

I am the slime from your video
Oozin' along on your livin' room floor

I am the slime from your video
Can't stop the slime, people, lookit me go

Well, Duh (1)

curmudgeon99 (1040054) | more than 6 years ago | (#20483057)

I have some personal information to add to this one. In eighth grade--at the age of 14--I was addicted to watching television. So, I made a decision to go cold turkey. Sure, NOVA was hard to miss (pre-cable days). But after a few months, I no longer missed it. While I was a regular tv watcher, I could not stand to read a book because it put me to sleep. Well, six months away from the boob tube, I could read for a much longer period--hours, even--without losing focus or concentration. So, I must confess that I totally agree with this article and have found personally that it is true. TV is rotting your brain, guys.

Fortunes! (0)

Rod Beauvex (832040) | more than 6 years ago | (#20483109)

I just forgot my whole philosophy of life!!!

I just love it when the fortunes match the article.

Presentation style could be to blame. (4, Funny)

ayjay29 (144994) | more than 6 years ago | (#20483121)

Coming up in this post...
Views on TV and attention span

Break
Buy Some Stuff
End of break

You really need an attention deficiency problem to watch most TV these days.

Coming up next...
More views on TV and attention span

Break
Buy More Stuff
End of break

Previously in this post
Views on TV and attention span

I've tried watching stuff like Myth Busters that I downloaded, and it seems like it's not designed to be watched as a program, but rather byte sized pieces.

Coming up next...
Even more views on TV and attention span

Break
Buy Even More Stuff
End of break

Previously in this post
Other views on TV and attention span

Compare that presentation style with that of the BBC, where the documentary is actually intended to fill an hour time slot with no ad breaks. In some circumstanced this kind of TV will help kids to focus on one subject for a longer period of time.

Coming up in the next post...
Another view on TV and attention span

a short attention span is not necessarily bad (2, Interesting)

netsavior (627338) | more than 6 years ago | (#20483135)

I HATE how people call it attention deficit "disorder" and how they say the net effect is "averse".

screw you, I am happy with my short attention span. It serves me financially and personally to have a "short attention span".

Because I VALUE MY TIME(short attention span) more than other people, I am more efficient and I deal with less bullshit because I don't want to. Call it a disorder if you want, I call it an evolutionary advantage.

Re:a short attention span is not necessarily bad (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20483325)

Wow, nice application of christian logic. Now go drown yourself please.

TV makes you dumb (2, Informative)

DogDude (805747) | more than 6 years ago | (#20483277)

TV makes people dumb in lots of different ways. This really isn't surprising. What is really interesting how relatively recently TV used to be a ubiquitous thing that a large majority of people consumed, and today there are large percentages of intelligent people simply dumping TV altogether. In another 10 years, TV (broadcast, cable, etc.) viewers will probably be even more disproportionately uneducated compared to the rest of the population.
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