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Should I Live without television ???

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I don't have a television in the house.

My wife is worried that my 5 year will not keep up with her classmates who all have TV's in their homes.

Reasearch has shown that kids who don't watch TV are at a disadvantage in language development,for example .

Should I get a TV for my kid's sake?

Or should I keep that one-eyed monster guru from entering this household ?

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There's no TV here either, though we sometimes watch movies on the computer. When we visit my parents or in-laws (a few days each year), they've almost always got a TV on, and that's more than enough TV for us to handle. I feel like I lose an IQ point for every hour of watching TV. I wonder who funded that TV research; probably someone who makes money from commercials or something. The best language development is conversing with devotees about Krishna.


Hare Krishna

Pandu das

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Hare Krishna Pandu das

thank you for your reply



The best language development is conversing with devotees about Krishna.



I pray to take this advice to heart so that my child become a real preacher of Krishna Consciousness



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Odd research results. I agree. Probalby related to the TV industry, their advertisers, etc.


When I was raising my chlidren, I remember totally different research! It said that children who watched TV were LESS likely to develop language skills but instead become zombies due to sitting in front of a TV, which not only dulls the brain but a decrase in physical activity (by sitting) also keeps sufficient blood and oxygen from getting up to those brain cells. Additionally, they found that children who watchted TV were extremely effected when watching violence, etc., even small amounts, which in turn may cause them to act out, throw tantrums, & more inclined to become violent themselves.


But the TV issue is not clear, because there is the psychology that, should we deprive our kids of what the other kids are doing, they blame Krishna and in time, may leave. Just as I was typing this post, I heard Prabhupada say on MP3 that one should not become a parents if they cannot deliver their child. So maybe I am suppose to post that here. /images/graemlins/smile.gif Its best if you live in or close to a community and either pay a tutor or start a small interactiive home-school where all parents can teach at least one subject, or if there is a Gurukula nearby that is REPUTABLE and SAFE and you only send your child during the day, as well as keep an eye on it, these are all ideas that can give your child better friends who probably don't have or watch TV.


Some may argue, "If I have to do all this 'watching' with my kid, Gurukula isn't worth it!" Fact is, you have to do that much watching over with your child in the Public school system as well, and on the playground, if you take them to the park, anywhere. Its kali yuga and parents in this age have a lot of responsibility in such areas. The horrible things that happened in the past are not a result of Gurukula - a spiriutal school, but the result of a NONspiriutal school, regardless of what name they tried to hide behind. And a result of problems from the karmi past of the person in charge who committed such sins. We need to start saying these things were NOT Gurukula. Therefore when I speak of a Gurukula, I mean a REAL one.


With that said, the tv issue does not have any simple answers, especially when the friends or even neighbors of the child has a TV set. And once a TV set walks in the front door, don't fool yourself, in time even you will watch it. And in time your child will watch more than Sesame Street usually anyhow. The junk thats on television these days is disgusting! Unless you are extremly strict with it, but maya is strong and plays her tricks to give us a reason making it ok. Not to misunderstand, I dont criticize those who watch tv, but if you still have not made the choice, always aim for the sky cuz we usually end up with the top of the trees anyway. Whereas if we aim for the top of the trees, we may get the ground.


One last thought. You might want to find out if you wife wants a TV for the reasons she mentioned, or because she needs some help watching her child, or a break. Us woman are only human ya know. /images/graemlins/smile.gif

And these are all just my opinoins. Do whatever you wish with them, including throwing them away.

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I have a TV at home- have had one ever since I can remember- I had these same doubts when my daughter was born- My parents repeated Sai Baba's words to me "TV stands for tele vasham - vasham meaning poison. However, I decided to watch what would happen- My kid was generally glued to the TV for a few hours initially - but soon it began to wear off. Today the TV stands as an epitah to this decision of mine- we use the TV for some purposes - watch cricket, watch a bhajan session or a spiritual discourse etc

I'd say all depends on what values your kids perceive in you- but remember the TV may help them be a bit more comfortable with peer pressure

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How Television Images Affect Children


by Ron Kaufman

"[A nursery school teacher told me] her children were crudely bopping each other much more than previously, without provocation. When she remonstrated with them, they would protest, "But that's what the Three Stooges do." This attitude did not signify a serious undermining of character. But it certainly showed me that watching violence can lower a child's standards of behavior. Recent psychological experiments have shown that watching brutality stimulates at least slight cruelty in adults, too."

-- Dr. Benjamin Spock, from the book Baby and Child Care, 1968






Fifty-seven percent of television programs contain "psychologically harmful" violence, according to a study funded by the cable television industry. The study, released February 7, 1996, tracked 2,500 hours of television programming. This was the largest sample ever analyzed by researchers.


Oh, that's ridiculous! Television is not harmful, it's just entertainment.


But can the steady flow of images watched nightly from television screens across the country be so easily dismissed as simply entertainment? If the sheer volume of absorbed images is considered, how can what is shown on television have no effect on one's own mental images? And if new mental images are created, shouldn't it be logical to say that they can have an effect on behavior?


But the argument that television has a significant effect on children should not rely on studies alone, but on common sense. When a child is placed in front of the television his focus cannot be diverted and his gaze cannot be broken. That child only has eyes for the video screen. The bright colors, quick movements and sudden flashes capture the child's attention. Only the rare child finds the television completely uninteresting. Even if only cartoons are watched, most children find the images presented on the television set mesmerizing.


Television programs have the power to influence a child's entire daily schedule. "They say they that they go to school "after Huckleberry Hound," eat a TV dinner "during Gilligan's Island," and go to bed "after Charlie's Angels," writes Kate Moody in the book, Growing Up On Television. Unsupervised, a child could watch TV constantly -- endlessly.


A widely quoted figure is that, on average, a child watches between four and five hours of television each weekday, and ten hours on Saturday and Sunday. In a July, 1996 speech, President Bill Clinton noted that, "a typical child watches 25,000 hours of television before his or her 18th birthday. Preschoolers watch 28 hours of television a week." In the life of children, watching television is a significant sensory experience. Many children easily spend more time with the box than they do with any other form of entertainment.


"Each year children read less and less and watch television more and more. In fact, Americans of all ages watch more television each year," writes Moody. "The typical child sits in front of the television about four hours a day -- and for children in lower socioeconomic families the amount of time thus spent is even greater. In either case, the child spends more time with TV than he or she spends talking to parents, playing with peers, attending school, or reading books. TV time usurps family time, play time, and the reading time that could promote language development."


Watching TV is a passive event. Children -- and adults -- remain completely immobile while viewing the box. Most viewing experiences, at least among Americans, are both quiet and non-interactive. All attention is given to the images.


"Just like the operating room light, television creates an environment that assaults and overwhelms the child; he can respond to it only by bringing into play his shutdown mechanism, and thus become more passive," states a pediatrician quoted in the Moody book. "I have observed this in my own children, and I have seen it in other people's children. As they sat in front of a television that was blasting away, watching a film of horrors of varying kinds, the children were completely quiet. . . . They were hooked."


Looking at a television screen does not magically remove a child's energy from within him. A highly active child will remain inactive while watching TV because that is what the medium requires. In order to receive stimulation from the television, the child must be passive, and accept the predetermined flow rate of the images. Both mind and body are passive (called an alpha state) allowing the child to concentrate on the vast, and often fast, array of bright pictures.


"The picture on the TV changes every five or six seconds, either by changing the camera angle or cutting to an entirely new scene," writes Moody. "One researcher refers to these events as jolts per minute, noting that as time is cut up, the brain is conditioned to change at the expense of continuity of thought.


"Adults and children are conditioned to instant gratification and crisis at many levels."


Children absorb millions of images from the TV in just one afternoon's viewing session. And what are they watching? If the child's TV set has cable, his choices can range from between 50 and 70 different channels; all of them showing different programs.


But if the most recent survey is accurate, the odds are that what children are watching is probably violent. With funding from the National Cable Television Association, a group of researchers at the University of California at Santa Barbara reported in February, 1996 that 57 percent of TV programs contained violence.


The researchers warned that "the risks of viewing the most common depiction of televised violence include learning to behave violently, becoming more desensitized to the harmful consequences of violence and becoming more fearful of being attacked."


This is an important point. Viewing large amounts of TV violence does not necessary cause a child to act more violently, but it can contribute to promoting a view that violence is commonplace in everyday life as well as creating a heightened fear of being assaulted on the street.


The UCLA report also concluded that television shows:



Perpetrators of violent acts go unpunished 73 percent of the time.


About 25 percent of violent acts involve handguns.


Forty-seven percent of violent situations present no harm to the victims and 58 percent depict no pain.


Only 4 percent of violent programs show nonviolent alternatives to solve programs.


Premium movie channels such as Time Warner's HBO and Viacom's Showtime had the highest proportion (85 percent) of violent programming. The broadcast networks had a much lower percentage of violence (44 percent).


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How Television Affects The Mind:

A Review Of The Tube

by Ron Kaufman

Television is not solely an American phenomenon. In the movie, The Tube, journalist Peter Entell and actor Luc Mariot travel to three continents to uncover the history of television and its effects on the human brain. Entell and Mariot's search is to find out the effect of television regardless of its content. Overall, this is an outstanding investigative movie that begins to present interesting questions about the true nature of television.


The movie starts off in Geneva, Switzerland with Mariot's young daughter, Zoe, crying because he had turned off the Pokemon cartoon. Mariot notices Zoe's fixation on the TV while she watches. He is disturbed by her unblinking gaze. He then begins to investigate on the Internet a little about the Pokemon cartoon and comes across articles describing an incident in December, 1997 when between 600 and 700 children and teenagers were hospitalized with convulsions and eye problems because of a Pokemon episode.


Mariot then travels to Tokyo, Japan to visit the hospital where many of the children were treated and the television station that broadcast the episode. At the hospital, the doctor explains that 1 in 4,000 people posses a hypersensitivity to light and therefore is "at risk" when watching TV. It makes sense that an unusually high rate of television "flicker" would effect people's minds and induce epileptic-type reactions. At TV Tokyo, the home of the Pokemon cartoon, Mariot discovers that because of outrage after this incident, the station now employs an Animation Flicker Machine which monitors each episode.


The film then travels to Schenectady, NY and visits the television research and development section of General Electric. There, the Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) and electron gun which make television work is explained. Television screens are made up of Red, Green and Blue pixels which flicker at a high rate when bombarded with fast moving electrons. This method allows the TV screen to give off colors of nearly infinite shades. Mariot asks the men working at GE why this machine seems so hypnotic and addictive? They don't have an answer.


Lunenburg, Massachusetts is the next stop for the film crew. There they visit with Dr. Thomas Mulholland whose experiments with electroencephalograms and alpha waves with children was some of the first indications of an actual physical reaction to watching TV. Alpha waves are brain activity which increases as brain work decreases: closing your eyes and relaxing produce more alpha -- looking around the room decreases alpha. Mulholland discovered that children watching TV had more alpha -- which means less brain activity.


The Tube crew then visits with Eric McLuhan at the University of Toronto who demonstrates in an experiment, that because of the nature of television (beams of light being fired at the viewer at a high rate), it gives off transmitted light. This is unlike reflected light, where light is reflected on the viewer, like in a movie theater. McLuhan says that with transmitted light, "you are the screen." The brain responds to the medium, not the content.


Finally, Mariot tracks down former researcher Herbert Krugman of the Advertising Research Foundation. Krugman's experiments on the effects of television led him to conclude that TV induces some type of "sleeping awake" activity. Why are people so mesmerized or hypnotized by the TV. Krugman used this power of TV to help the advertising community. Krugman says that with TV, "when you lose touch with the body and the brain will play." You're not asleep and not awake. It's midnight and you are staring at the TV and can't turn it off. You sit watching commercials blankly and unthinking. You don't turn it off.


"The television is the easiest, quickest and cheapest way to distract yourself from how you already feel that's ever been invented," says one psychologist in the film.


A worker at a TV station says, she thinks "TV is like a drug. . . Sure, just try taking it away from them."


The Tube is a well done film. It presents many compelling facts and questions about an activity that most people take for granted. Unfortunately, many questions still remain unanswered as some continue to question the benefit of staring at red, green and blue flickering light


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  • 1 month later...

Hare Krishna


Depends what you watch.


If somebody is inclined to watch TV, then watch KC programmes of Krishna, then your propensity for watching TV becomes purifyed, i have no idea whether this is bona-fide, but if you are talking about watching lectures (Srila Prabhupada etc) then it is cool. Haribol!!



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The best hynotists are employed by advertising agencies. Hynovision is their most prominient contact point with our minds. Very dangerous as that very mind determines our next body.


Hard to break loose once captured. I know I just dropped showtime and HBO. I only had them for top raked boxing and am feeling now the pain of withdrawl.


Attachment breads such pain. Better to deal with it before death.

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All very erudite stuff - but nevertheless opinions of others. I stand by my own experience and I dont find any damage in my kids I must say. I would have been interested in the expereince of other people not just cut and paste jobs- no offence meant to anyone .




I have to agree. We decided consciousely to not have cable so that we wouldn't have to be confronted with society's s*%# but we do have a vcr and I have to say that my son learned a whole lot by watching movies. ofcourse, I'm quite aware that Disney is a very corrupt company and you will find the occasional brainwashing attempts in their movies but all in all I really think that they have been educational for my son...and besides, I don't want to shelter him from the world...i want to guide him but I don't feel like I have the right to shelter him or to make decisions in his place. Anyways, this is about TV. Personaly I think that cable tv sucks, but I really enjoy the occasional blockbuster.

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There have been studies that show a link between television and agressive behavior. I remember George Will (from This Week) mentioning a study of two towns, neither of which had television, and then monitoring the increase in violence as tv was introduced in one but not the other. The thing is, it happens so subtly that you don't notice and can't directly tie it to the television. I think even with good programming there is an overstimulation effect. Your senses are bombarded with edits and shifts in light and sound every few seconds, for hours on end. Even with a good program, there is a sort of constant sensory interaction, that I must believe doesn't help with a peaceful mind. So while the content might be good, it might be inherently bad, but on such a level that we don't even notice the changes it has on us, and assume we are naturally the way we are. Its too late for me /images/graemlins/smile.gif but ever so often its good to have a television detox session /images/graemlins/smile.gif

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In relation to television news, how much do we really need to know. I expect that at most we need maybe 5% of the news coverage. The rest is just "entertainment" of wallowing through other people's miseries. Someone's house burns down, another person is on murder charges, some CEO defrauds his shareholders... none of which directly affects me. But I invite the world's troubles into my living room, and rather than feeling happy about my life, because nothing bad is going on, I see 24 hours of bad news, and every so often a happy story. The news is naturally skewed to bad news, because it is event driven.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Personally I sometimes watch at 11.30pm Leno & Letterman monologues switching back & forth till midnight, then commercial-free news from Berlin 21-12:30am on UHF channel 25 in NYC. Also Saturday Night Live 11:30-1am. That's all that attracts me. Bill Moyers is pious. Politically Incorrect was too good so they banned it.

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  • 2 months later...

Early TV Exposure Affects Attentiveness

by Terry Phillips, correspondent



Research study makes recommendation that parents of preschoolers should consider.


A study by the American Academy of Pediatrics links the trouble some children have in paying attention to watching television too early in life.


The study, in the April issue of the journal Pediatrics, reinforces earlier recommendations that children under 2 should not watch television at all. Dr. Dimitri Christakis of Children's' Hospital in Seattle, co-authored the report.


"A child that watched two hours of television a day, before the age of 3, would be 20 percent more likely to have attentional problems at age 7, compared to a child who didn't watch any television during that period," Christakis said.


The first three years for the human brain, he added, is a period of fast development.


"It really is the wiring of the mind being laid out during this three year period," he said.


During the comparable period, the brains of overly stimulated lab animals can be seen to have been altered. An unknown in the study, however, is the kind and quality of the programming viewed by the children, according to Dr. Andrews Adesman, a behavioral pediatrician in New York.


"Unfortunately one can't determine whether or not programs such as 'Sesame Street' are appropriate or not as opposed to . . . cartoon watching," Adesman said.


Christakis said the key production element to avoid is rapid image change — and that is something found in a lot of children's' programming.


"In fact, very often they exploit rapid image change as a way of keeping children engaged in the screen," Christakis said.


The study doesn't specifically tie early TV viewing to the diagnosed condition known as Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) -- just to a general difficulty in paying attention.


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Especially with the advent of mega serials in Indian TV, the entire life style is tailored to suit the schedule of the mega serials.


My friend once commented how his parents have changed their life style after starting watching the mega serials. Now his parents have two TVs, and father watches one channel and mother watches her channel.


And my father changed his meditation timings when there was a new serial introduced.


But personally, I get bored with these serials.


But Discovery and National Geographic channels are a welcome deviation from these rotten lot.

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i couldn't login cause i lost my password /images/graemlins/tongue.gif....


I think owning a televisyen set is not a bad thing...it just depends on how we make use of it....same like keeping a knife in the house....it can be used to cut vegetables or kill people...depends on wat purpose we use it for...there are many good things and a lot of informations one can gain via televisyen....i think one should be balanced with spiritual knowledge and material knowledge(as long as not too attached to it)...well u can always guide your children on which programs to watch....it's an information world you see...and you surely don't want them to be left behind, do you?...it just depends on how they are being brought up /images/graemlins/wink.gif


i'm not a vaishnava....hope one day I can follow their path....


-Enlighten Me-

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  • 2 weeks later...

i'm watching tv almost never... but i think it's great to watch it only a little, when it's not an impediment.


Personnaly i prefer the cinema, as at the time i have a student job in one of them, me and my wife are going often, for free !

Also i spend a lot of time on the Web, but i try to make it Krsna Conscious as much as possible !


Don't worry, keep up your sadhana, and sometimes if you have desire to watch tv, do it ! that's what i do: meditating a lot, but when i need it, TV, DVD or loud hardcore music... someday i'll be perfect !! but not now !!



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Can be enhanced by TALKING to your kids, rather than letting the TV converse with them all day. /images/graemlins/smile.gif


The funniest thing to me is those talking story books which allows parents to have as little contact with their children as possible.


Ah, modernity!

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  • 2 months later...
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NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - The amount of television watched as a child is directly related to the risk of health problems as an adult, new research shows.

Although previous reports have linked childhood television viewing with adverse health, no long-term studies have looked at the effects on adult health, lead author Dr. Robert J. Hancox and colleagues, from the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand, note in The Lancet medical journal.


The team studied 1000 subjects who were born in Dunedin in the early 1970s and followed at regular intervals until 26 years of age. Television viewing was assessed with interviews conducted at 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, 15, and 21 years of age.


Television viewing between the ages of 5 and 15 years increased the risk of high cholesterol levels, smoking, poor fitness, and being overweight in adulthood. In contrast, such viewing had no effect on the risk of high blood pressure.


On a population level, the authors estimate that 17 percent of overweight, 15 percent of poor fitness, 15 percent of elevated cholesterol, and 17 percent of current smoking in 26-year-olds could be attributed to watching more than 2 hours per day of television during childhood and adolescence.


"Our results suggest that excessive television viewing in young people is likely to have far-reaching consequences for adult health," the authors conclude. "We concur with the American Academy of Pediatrics that parents should limit children's viewing to 1 to 2 hours per day; in fact, data suggest that less than 1 hour a day would be even better."


In a related editorial, Drs. David S. Ludwig and Steven L. Gortmaker, from Harvard Medical School in Boston, note that "a likely explanation for these findings is that dietary and other lifestyle habits learned in childhood and influenced by television continue into adulthood. Ultimately, parents must reclaim from television the responsibility for educating and entertaining their young children."


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  • 2 weeks later...
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The children I have known whose parents did not allow television except for a few selected family shared movies, graduated with honors, have super-excellent educations & are more interesting people than any coach potato kids I ever met. They also are people who have learned skills & sports that keep them out of trouble & they don't seem to be controlled by fads & mundane nonsense. They are well-centered & not interested in peer pressure.

For devotee adults, how can anything on the idiotic t.v be more fascinating than the Srimad Bhagavatam, Gita or any other numerous spiritual books? I pray I have enough time to read them all in this life time. I could never waste time on pompous idiot talk of David Lettermen when I have Krishna's words in front of me to read. What is wrong with people?

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  • 8 months later...

Researchers find link between 4-year-olds' TV time, bullying





The more television children watch when they're 4 years old, the more likely they are to become bullies in elementary school, according to a new study from University of Washington researchers.


Every hour parked in front of the television each day increases the odds of bullying by 9 percent.


That result was true regardless of how much time parents spent nurturing their child's cognitive and emotional development, including reading, museum visits and asking them to help decide what's for dinner.


The study, published in this month's issue of the Archives of Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine, did not examine the content of the television shows and videos watched.


But exposure to violence -- even in movies and cartoons intended for children -- is most likely to blame for the connection between television and bullying, the authors suggest.


About 60 percent of television shows contain violence -- a statistic cited by the study's authors from the Center for Communication and Social Policy at the University of California-Santa Barbara.


"A 4-year-old is going to take this stuff seriously," said Frederick Zimmerman, lead author and an economist at the UW's Department of Health Services and Child Health Institute. "They know television is not reality, but they don't understand that TV doesn't faithfully represent reality."


Last year, Zimmerman and Dr. Dimitri Christakis, a pediatrician at the UW, published a study that found a link between television and attention problems in young children.


Zimmerman and Christakis are working on a book about television and child development.



According to their latest study, reading and going to museums has the opposite effect of television, actually decreasing the risk of bullying.


Does that mean parents can offset television's negative effect with quality time?


"They could balance out," said Zimmerman. "I wouldn't recommend that as a strategy. It's better to try to do both things right. That's really when the kids benefit."


Although the impact of television on aggressive behavior has long been established, this is one of the first studies to examine bullying, said Karin Frey, a developmental psychologist at Communities for Children, a non-profit organization based in Seattle that develops and researches anti-bullying programs for schools.


Researchers looked at data collected by the U.S. Department of Labor between 1986 and 2000. In that survey, mothers of 6- to 11-year-olds were asked whether their child, "bullies or is cruel or mean to others."


Without a definition of bullying, some mothers might have lumped fighting and other anti-social behavior into the bullying category, the researchers acknowledged.


Still others might not want to admit their child is a bully.


"We know that some parents bully," Frey said. "They're going to have a different definition than others."


Adults have only recently taken a serious look at this kind of intimidation and harassment among children, Frey said.


Bullies are more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol and to behave violently as they grow up, according to Frey. The targets of their intimidation often suffer from anxiety and depression.


"The majority of kids who become (school) shooters have been bullied at some point," Frey said. Most recently, reports suggest the teenager who killed 10 people, including himself, in Minnesota last month was bullied by classmates.






No television for children under 2.



Don't assume shows and animated movies intended for children are free of violence: think Road Runner.



Don't just turn on cartoons. Select educational shows.



Limit television to one to two hours a day for young children.



Watching television has been linked to attention deficit disorder, obesity, aggressive behavior and bullying.



Children should not have a television in their rooms.


Source: American Academy of Pediatrics; Fred Zimmerman, University of Washington, Child Health Institute


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  • 7 months later...


The worst thing about these things, is that you have to buy a t.v. license, abot £120 pounds a year in u.k., dont know about anywhere else.

Oh, if your blind, its half price! really.


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