TV cont’d

Television has done much for psychiatry by spreading information about it, as well as contributing to the need for it. 

                                                                                           Alfred Hitchcock

Have you ever heard of “second-hand TV viewing”? You probably haven’t because I made it up.

We have all heard about the “second hand smoking”. We all know its harmful applications: it affects the lungs, causes asthma, etc. Now I will tell you about ”second hand TV watching”.

I’ve been in pediatrics for a lo-o-ong time. I’ve seen lots of kids (including my own) biting their nails. We all know that this is a sign of nervousness and anxiety. There is little we can do with it as parent. All we can do is to reduce stress for our kids or change their attitude to the stressful situations. One thing that I have never seen before is 1.5 year old child biting his nails.  A couple of weeks ago I saw 2 of these toddlers in my office. These were children from very loving and caring families. Tell me, what kind of stress do they face? I started digging. I thoroughly examined them. I figured that out!

For both families, the parents were at work while the toddlers were watched by the family members who had TV on all the time. Furthermore, they were watching horror movies! “No!” the parents exclaimed,” He doesn’t watch, he plays nearby!” I know. He doesn’t watch it directly. Rather, he does it indirectly. Some scary visual and auditory stimuli come to his brain causing anxiety, bad dreams, and waking up at night. Have you heard about night terrors?

 In our society we have become very concerned about what cigarette smoke can do to our kids or other non-smokers’ lungs. But what about the health of our kids’ minds, souls, and brains?

Our bodies, our kids’ bodies- tell us what is going on within us. We just need to learn to see, hear, and decode the signs. If you have a hard time with it, I will try to help.


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