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Tv Is A Drug - Are Your Kids Addicted?
For most of us, hearing about different types of addiction is a common occurrence. Even more difficult to bear is that most of us are close to someone affected by an addiction. When addictions are related to the abuse of a substance such as alcohol, our understanding that there is a problem may be rooted in clear and serious signs of a life out of control. But what about an addiction related to something more subtle? Could a behavior as seemingly normal as watching television become an addiction? You bet it can!
I believe television can be a "drug" because it is literally a mind-altering experience. Like any drug, it has the potential to be used responsibly or abused. Did you know that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no television for children under two years of age, and no more than two hours of television per day for older children? Here's why. It is not only because of the potential for inappropriate content. In fact, for young children especially, it is the incredible stimulation that TV provides that makes it so potentially damaging. All of the flashing bright colors, loud sounds, and frequent fragmentation of reality that television encompasses is far too much stimulation for most young minds to manage. At the same time, children are like a magnet for this type of gratification, and as most parents know, can become addicted to the neurological stimulation of television very quickly. Although some people have tried to justify overexposure to electronic media by claiming it makes children smarter, those theories are little more than rationalizations for indulging in what science indicates is bad for us.
What's the effect of repeated exposure to television stimulation? Just like what happens when a person is exposed to any drug, repeated exposure to television has the effect of dulling a person's senses. This is precisely what we as parents experience when we ask our kids to tear themselves away from the television and in return get a blank stare or grunt and shrug! With younger children, requiring them to make a transition away from a stimulation source to which they are "hooked" often results in an instant melt-down. Noticing your child's ability to transition between watching television and attending to the environment around him or her is a good way to determine if she or he is over-stimulated, or even possibly addicted. Kids who are addicted to television care increasingly less about the content of what they are watching, and more about getting another "hit" of electronic stimulation. The brain is an organ that is unique in that it develops in response to its environment - and if you're continually "blasting" a young, developing mind with rapid-fire images, you may be creating a mind that craves high level stimulation but lacks the ability to focus its attention - sound familiar?
Here's What You Can Do:
1) Make television a family activity. Discuss what you and your child are watching together. Turn down or mute the volume during commercials to ensure you are sustaining social contact. And relate events on television shows to real events in the life of your family.
2) Limit television watching to a specific period of time and to specific times of the day. Kids do better when they are required to do things before they watch TV, such as getting dressed, teeth brushed, breakfast eaten, etc., before the television set goes on. Don't let television become the constant background to family life. Turn the TV on to watch specific shows, and then turn it off when the show is over.
Discuss alternatives to television with your children. Kids do much better accepting that they can only watch a limited amount of TV when they know you are prepared to spend time playing a game, going to the park, or helping with homework instead. When we use TV to occupy our kids so we can get other things done, we are inadvertently becoming enablers of their addiction.
3) Not all television is created equal. Look for shows that are paced appropriately for children. There are great programs for kids that don't rely on seizure-inducing graphics to keep their attention. Don't be afraid to censor shows; if you start when children are young by simply saying, "this show isn't good for your brain, and I'm proud of what a smart girl (or boy) you are," you'll get them on the right track.
BONUS : Types And Uses Of Baby Slings
Slings are becoming increasingly popular in all regions of the world. They are worn around the body and can be adjusted to be worn on the hip as well as in many other ways. The idea behind the baby modern baby sling dates back o before the middle ages. Many parents used and are still using slings to easily travel with their children. One more reason why slings are popular is that the parent can perform other tasks while carrying the infant. Baby slings allow parents to maintain the baby in a safe and secure way as well as keeping on eye on the child while moving and performing tasks freely. The increased usability and versatility of baby slings have made them a popular gift for new parents especially at baby showers. Baby slings have become popular because of convenience and ease of use. They are also great for parents who do not have enough free time to spend with their children. Infants need constant monitoring and keeping the baby in a sling allows the parent to do so. Also keep in mind that carrying a baby in a sling is similar to the state the infant was sitting in the womb.
Slings are perfect for around the house as well. Parents can monitor their babies and do chores at the same time. When going for a walk or commuting by foot the sling is great because it is less cumbersome than a stroller or car seat. Due to their flexibility, baby slings have become a favourite and essential item with parents around the world.
Baby slings and baby carriers come in multitude of styles, colours and types. There are the wrap around slings that allow the baby to face forward; tummy to tummy, hip, nursing and kangaroo carrying position. Certain slings allow the infant to stay in the cradling position which is very comfortable for infants. Specifically, wrap around slings are worn over the shoulder and can often be fastened with a buckle or a knot. These types of slings are the most common and most popular type due to their flexibility. Usually slings are made of soft, hypo allergic fabrics. When made from cloths, the manufacturers make sure it is sturdy enough to hold babies of different sizes and weights. Even distribution of the babys weight is another factor sling manufacturers take in consideration; it s important to prevent injuries on parents. As mentioned above, some slings are adjustable to accommodate for growth and height of the infant.
When parents are looking to buy a sling, one of the questions they are often faced with is selecting between a padded or unpadded sling. Most parents like the padded types of slings because they provide extra support for the baby and at the same time does not take a strain on the parents shoulders. The downside of the padded sling is that they could be considered as too bulky and thus are less manageable when walking. In general however, different types of slings exist to accommodate for different life styles and preferences of the parent.