Article Overview:   A Beast of Terror lurks in the bedroom of a third of all children who are age two or under.  It's called a television.  And parents use it to keep their baby informed of special programs that they hope will accelerate the child's learning.  But a new study by the American Association of Pediatrics (AAP) says television viewing for children creates ADD, especially the youngest.  Find out how to fight the Beast of Television Terror.


Saturday, April 10, 2004—Ground Zero Plus 941
Beast Of T.V. Terror Eats Little Children Daily

Cliff McKenzie

 GROUND ZER0, New York, N.Y.--April 10, 2004 --  While everyone is focusing on Terrorism in Iraq, the Beast of Terror is eating our children in the living rooms of America's more than 100 million households.

The AAP warns parents too much t.v. increases chances of ADD in their children

      In a study published this week in Pediatrics, the Voice of the American Academy of Pediatrics, parents are warned that every hour of t.v. watched by children 2 and under increases their chances of getting attention deficit disorder by 10 percentage points.    Three hours a day of TV makes a kid's chance of getting ADD 30 percent.
      The problem is that about one-third of all children two or under have televisions in their bedrooms--a kind of babysitter that parents think will help the child learn more quickly.  Educational programs like Sesame Street and other learning-based TV shows are just as dangerous as others, the report says.    It is the constant flicking of subjects, the viewing nature of television, the molds the child's early learning.   
      In a nutshell, the report calls t.v. an "in-home Terrorist" warping the minds of the young.
      The report strikes a blow to t.v. Terrorism.   The AAP recommends that parents ban all television  by a child under two years, and limit viewing to  only one to two hours a day by older children.

The AAP report calls t.v. an "in-home Terrorist"

     Content doesn't seem to be the issue.  It's the quick action, rapid scene changes and high noise levels that tend to over-stimulate and permanently "rewire" the developing brain that researchers are most concerned about.
       This is heresy to some.   Especially children's program producers.   For years the idea of the television as being an adjunct teacher, a form of ancillary parental support that provided a safe haven through Big Bird or Barney, and guided a child to spell and learn numbers was almost a household necessity.
        Busy mothers used the tube to feel more secure the children were getting attention that she might not be able to give because of her priorities, and, by guarding what the children viewed she was fulfilling her role as a Sentinel of Vigilance.
        That ideal is dead--at least for the moment.
        According the AAP, a mother or father or guardian who lets a child watch more than one or two hours a day of television is twisting the child's mind, perhaps short-circuiting its capacity to think clearly, driving it into a state of confusion and sparks that may result in an unhappy, dissatisfied life.
        In other words, leaving the t.v. on too long for older children may be an act of Terrorism.    Letting children under the age of two watch it
is, according to the study, a gross act of Terrorism.   
        Remember the definition of Terrorism--it is the use of Fear, Intimidation and Complacency to render others powerless over their choices to resist the will of others.

A Complacent parent flips on the t.v but a Vigilant parent interacts

        A parent who flips on the television to feed the mind of a child is acting in the highest degree of Complacency.   Expecting a television screen to emit the love, affection, caring, knowledge and wisdom of a parent or loved one is an act of selfishness, totally disregarding the thirst of the child to feed off human relations rather than electronic ones.
        Handing a child over to the arms of Big Bird, according to the AAP, is not unlike handing over the child to a child molester or predator who, appearing kind and generous on the outside, is full of latent evil within.
         Not everyone, of course, is going to buy into the AAP study.   To accept the fact that millions of parents have been negligent, in fact, have been outright cruel to their children by allowing them to watch television, requires a giant leap of faith in the AAP's study and a radical change in the structure of the home.
          Television is often the family center, the well from which families drink.   Huddling around the television and watching programs together appears to many to be like sitting around a campfire listening to the local village storyteller spin yarns, only with a television you have a clicker to change the storytellers and the stories, as well as quick-framed, fast-moving commercials begging you to buy whatever is being hawked by brilliant merchandisers.    

Will the "family circle"  reject or accept their t.v. as a Tool of Terror?

        To give up the "family circle" is a huge challenge and threatens to demean the study as families refuse to accept the rejection of their television as a Tool of Terror.
         But, the reality is, television is by its very nature an "intrusive" medium.   It's single purpose is to intervene between human interaction in a home, and create interaction to be viewed rather than experienced.
         The dramas portrayed on television screens are the same ones that happen inside all people, in varying degrees.    Yet, rather than talk about those feelings or invoke one's imagination to amplify upon them, people sit glued to a flat screen watching the plays of others unfold while their own dramas of life go unresolved, remain secrets, sometimes "dirty little secrets," buried deep within the self.
          Ultimately, the child watching television becomes a shell of emotions rather than a living being with emotions, because all the emotional therapy of uncovering, discovering and discarding feelings has been rendered by watching others go through what they must to get to where they are going.
          A child doesn't have to seek the road or path of life and endure the challenges he or she faces if he or she flips on the television and sits agog watching Lord of the Rings where others make that journey for them.
          In my opinion, the AAP study is a strong case for the Pledge of Vigilance, and another stout reminder of the dangers of neglecting a child's need to be communicated with on adult levels.

Children's minds are sponges

        Children's minds are sponges.   Only during the formative years does a parent have the chance to mold that mind, to inculcate it with certain beliefs and values.   Television viewing tends to undo all parental work when children see the t.v. more as a parent than the parent.
          Who does a child count on to be there for him or her?  The parent or television?    Who will listen to the cries of the child's inner self better, the television that doesn't criticize or say "don't bother me now," or the harried parent who seems so busy and wrapped up in himself or herself that telling the parent that one thinks he or she is ugly, or not smart, or doesn't fit in with other kids is something wrong rather than right.
          Parents who follow the Principles of Vigilance know they must build bridges of trust with their children by sitting quietly with them and sharing their own Fears, Intimidations and Complacencies.    If they haven't shared, or are unwilling to share their "dirty little secrets" with their children, why would the children want to share theirs with them?
         But the t.v. is different.  In the story or fantasy being shown, the child can project himself or herself as the superhero transformed from the "nobody."    Suddenly, the superhero can be what the child isn't, until the switch is turned off.   And then, the sinking emptiness of the child reappears.

...but filling that time with Vigilant activities

Parents need to not think of just cutting down t.v. time....

       Parents need to not think of just cutting down television time, but more importantly, of filling that time with Vigilance.    By teaching a child Courage, Conviction and Right Actions for future generations, the parent is guiding a child toward a life of self-sufficiency.
         It is known that you cannot take something away without replacing it with something else otherwise the balance of the universe is turned upside down.
         If the AAP is correct and television is a Terrorist, then it cannot just be removed without leaving a giant scar and a possible entrance for another boil, another scab of Terror to form where the old was extracted.    
        But, if by removing the television (Terror) you replace that time with parental interaction, parental efforts to practice the Principles of Vigilance, you plug the Hole of Terrorism.    You quash the Beast of Terror.
         Don't just flick off the television switch.
         Turn on your Vigilance switch.
         Your child will be the winner because you will become the star of the show.


April 9--Death & Destruction:  The Wine Of Terrorism

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