An analysis of 35 different scientific studies has identified no fewer than 15 negative health effects associated with watching long hours of television.
Among these effects are cancer, autism and Alzheimer's disease.
For most people, watching television now takes up more time than any other single activity except work and sleep. By the age of six, the average child has already spent a full year in front of a television screen.
If time in front of a computer is added, watching a screen is now the dominant activity for older children; those aged 11 to 15 now spend 55 per cent of their waking lives, or seven and a half hours a day, watching television and computers. This is a 40 per cent rise over the course of a decade.
The study also drew a link between watching television and reduced levels of the hormone melatonin, which regulates the body's internal clock and governs development during puberty. This could explain both fatigue among adolescents and a disturbing tendency towards early puberty which has been on the rise since the 1950's.
Other negative effects of watching television include:
- Heart Trouble
- Eyesight Damage
- Sleep Difficulties