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How Television Affects Your Brain Chemistry -- And That's Not All!

October 20, 2007 | 251,895 views
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tv affects brainBy Dr. Mercola

Regular newsletter readers know that I am no fan of television, but I am obviously in the minority here in the United States. The average American watches nearly FIVE HOURS of TV a day. This is more than the amount of time I spend in front of a TV in a month, and more than 90 percent of my TV time is spent watching health videos I need to review.

Imagine what you could do if you cut out TV and suddenly had five extra hours in your day to do something productive, good for yourself (exercise!), creative... or maybe simply to relax!

Beyond the time it takes up, though, is the very real impact it has on your brain. As the video alludes, TV is one of the most powerful brainwashing devices there is.

Every year between the food industry and drug companies well over $50 billion is spent on marketing messages to U.S. consumers to influence their food and medication choices. The majority (75 percent) of commercial network television time is paid for by the 100 largest corporations in North America. Some of these companies even have budgets in the billions, and not surprisingly these budgets have the power to influence TV producers to create television that suits their agendas.

And, frequently, these agendas are not aligned with your best interests.

If you do choose to watch TV, even the network news, you must constantly ask yourself who is trying to “sell” you something. But be warned, these corporations are spending large amounts of money to seduce you, so even the most conscious person may not be immune to the messages.

TV itself is not intrinsically evil, and there clearly are many great shows out there, but the KEY is to NEVER watch the commercials. So if you have a TiVO or only watch DVDs you will radically reduce the media’s influence over you. I have been doing this for the last 15 years, and it is one of the reasons why I have been able to get so much done.

I simply do not waste time in front of the TV. As I said earlier, I probably watch less than five hours of non-commercial TV or DVDs per MONTH; typically an hour once a week provides enough passive entertainment for me.

If Not for Yourself, Turn Off Your TV for Your Kids

As an adult, it’s up to you to decide how much time you want to spend in front of your TV (if any), but if you have kids I suggest you set a good example and dramatically limit it.

A growing number of experts agree that allowing children under the age of three to watch television can impair their linguistic and social development, and also put them at risk of health problems including attention-deficit disorder, autism, and obesity.

Older kids are also at risk from watching TV. Too much time in front of the tube may:
The good news is that one study found a great majority of parents -- 72 percent -- are worried about their kids' exposure to the media.

However, only 23 percent actually took the step of restricting their kids’ TV and video game time.

Although giving up or limiting TV may seem like a drastic step, I suspect that once you do it you will be thrilled by the new activities you and your family will begin to take part in… and I doubt you will ever look back!