Television | Kay Trotter

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All Posts Tagged: Television


By Daniel Folmer – LPC-Intern and Tracie Posehn LPC-Intern, Counselors at and Supervised by Dr. Kay Sudekum Trotter – Counseling Services PLLC

“Being part of the Nintendo generation taught me that turning on a game was an easy escape from reality. Whatever academic, social, or occupational problems haunted me during the day, there was always a place I could succeed: video games. For people who struggle in reality, gaming and technology can easily takeover as the watermark for success. How can we recognize problematic usage of technology and gaming? How can we help those who seem to be stuck in a pattern of abuse?” – Daniel Folmer, LPC-Intern

Can Gaming be Beneficial to the Brain?


  • Video gamers show improved skills in vision, attention and certain aspects of cognition.
  • Gamers perform better than non-gamers on certain tests of attention, speed, accuracy, vision and multitasking – (Daphne Beveller, University of Rochester)


  • Facebook – Bullying, Gossiping, Predators
  • Video Games – Violence, Drugs, Alcohol
  • Pornography
  • Twitter – Uncontrolled Communication
  • Chat Roulette
  • Tumbler
  • Text Messaging

Screen Time – How Much is too Much?

A University of Bristol study surveyed 1,000 kids ages 10 and 11. Over a period of seven days, the children filled out a questionnaire reporting how much time they spent either watching TV or at a computer – something doctors call “screen time” – and answered questions describing their mental state. An accelerometer measured physical activity levels.

Kids who spend more than two hours of screen time a day were 60% more likely to have psychological difficulties such as depression or ADHD. Those who got more physical activity fared better than their sedentary peers, those with more screen time still scored worse in behavioral areas such as hyperactivity.

According to a report in the March issue of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals, teens who spend more time watching television or using computers seem to have poorer relationships with their parents and peers.


61% spend around 20 hours of screen time per week, on average

32% spend around 40 hours of screen time per week

7% are exposed to more than 50 hours of screen time per week

Source: American Heart Association’s 48th Annual Conference on Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiology and Prevention.

Prolonged exposure to rapid image changes during critical periods of brain development (like on a TV show designed for an infant) may precondition the mind to expect high levels of stimulation.  This may then make the pace of real life less able to sustain our children’s attention. The more hours a child views rapid-fire television, the more likely they will have attention challenges later in life.


  1. Kids under 2-years-old should not watch any TV
  2. Kids older than 2 should watch no more than 1 to 2 hours a day of quality programming. Source: The American Academy of Pediatrics


 Internet Addiction Disorder

Salience: Using the Internet dominates the person’s life, feelings and behavior.

Mood modification: The person experiences changes in mood (e.g., a “buzz”) when using the Internet.

Tolerance: Increasing amounts of Internet use are needed to achieve the same effects on mood.

Withdrawal symptoms: If the person stops using the Internet, they experience unpleasant feelings or physical effects.

Relapse: The addict tends to relapse into earlier patterns of behavior, even after years of abstinence or control. (Griffiths, 2003)

Iowa State University Professor Douglas Gentile found that 8.5% of 1,178 youths studied are addicted to video games, using the same standards for addiction used for pathological gamblers.

Youth included in the study played video games 24 hours per week. They were more likely to have video games in the bedroom. Youth addicted to video games were also twice as likely to have been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

Youth studied were found to have attention deficits in school, lower grades, were inclined to steal, and had more health problems.

Teens, who play violent video games, may exhibit lingering effects on brain function, including increased activity in the region of the brain that governs emotional arousal and decreased activity in the brain’s executive function, which is associated with control, focus and concentration. The findings were presented at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).

Compared with the group that played the nonviolent game, the group that played the violent video game demonstrated less activation in the prefrontal portions of the brain, which are involved in inhibition, concentration and self-control, and more activation in the amygdala, which is involved in emotional arousal.

A study in China has shown that teens spending at least five- to 10-hours a day on the web are one-and-a-half times more likely to develop depression than moderate users

A loss of interest in social interaction and other symptoms of addictive behavior is present among teens who spend an excessive amount of time browsing or playing games online.

Some teens show signs of anxiety while away from the computer.

Why do Kids Play Internet Games?

  • Achievement
  • Exploration
  • Socialization
  • Killing

What Can Parents Do

Few children are excited to have the activities they love taken away or limited.  When making a change to the habits in your home, provide logical reasoning for placing a limit.  Your child does not have to agree with you, but, by providing fact-based reasoning, you demonstrate working in the best interest of the child rather than a sudden burst of authority.

If you feel your child is engaged in TV or Video Games extensively and want them to do something else, help to give alternative activities to meet similar needs. Here is a list of more positive, real-world based activities to supplement your child’s technology usage:

SPORTS                           YOUTH GROUP                           SCOUTS

NATURE                          SCHOOL CLUBS                          FINE ARTS

Remember, you are the parent and the role model for healthy living.  Help your child make healthy choices by setting an example and making a change for the family and not only the child.

Begin the conversation by identifying family and personal values, and then move towards negative behaviors you have seen increase/exist.

Meeting Your Child’s Emotional Needs

  • Expect to meet with resistance initially and allow for your child to voice opinion and show emotion
  • When setting a limit, provide a replacement activity for your child while making a transition to a new habit/behavior
  • Be clear that you are setting a boundary rather than entering negotiations
  • Acknowledge your child’s feelings and argument against making a change. Remember acknowledging is not agreeing, it just shows “you heard” your child
  • Listen and show empathy without changing your position
  • Be consistent in your expectations and have clear consistent consequences that are enforceable
  • Provide verbal and non-verbal encouragement when your child is making appropriate choices
  • Note positive changes you observe: better sleeping habits, increased productivity, greater patience and tolerance, respectful communication . . .

Concrete Limits and Boundaries That Can and Need to Be Set



You can contact Daniel Folmer to schedule an appointment or arrange for Daniel to come speak to your group about Internet Gaming at:

  • 214-499-0396
  • or visit the web site

Additional recourses:

How TV affects your child:

Internet Addiction increases depression in teens:

Even TV in the background Impacts Brain Development:

Positive Technological Avenues:

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Does your child watch DVDs in the Car? It could be hurting their vocabulary?

No DVD Please

By Laura Hickman

Guest Author – Laura Hickman lives in Linden, VA and is a homeschool mom of 4 children, aged 6-12.  She graduated from The George Washington University in 1992 with a degree in Business Administration and a minor in Psychology.  She is an aspiring Equine Specialist and hopes to have her own farm in the near future.

Four years ago, we decided it was time to purchase a new vehicle for our family of six.  After weeks of researching the type of vehicle, it was time to negotiate price and options!  There were only two things I knew I had to have, and one of them, to the astonishment of our dealer, was NOT a DVD player!

With four active kids “test driving” each car in the showroom, our salesman must have thought we’d lost our minds!  After all, weren’t TV the greatest babysitter and bearer of peace known to parent-kind?  Conceptually, I’d have to agree.  Television IS a convenient device for the tired and mentally weary parent.  And maybe, even more so for the tired, weary, home school parent of multiple children!

Obviously, there are good, wholesome educational programs available.  But if we are constantly plugging our children into a TV, or any electronic device for that matter, what are we teaching them?  What are they missing?

I contend that we are teaching them at least two things.  First, we are teaching them to just do the easy thing.  Reading, thinking and communicating are work!  A child has to not only learn to decode 26 symbols in a dizzying number of combinations, but he or she has to put those seemingly random combinations into context, and finally, they have to take the context of the material and apply it to themselves.  “What does this mean to me?”  With TV, all the work is done for them.  They are told what the pictures are and what the information should mean to them.  The TV becomes their source of truth, rather than mom and dad.

Secondly, I believe we are teaching them that they are not worthy of our investment.  As parents we are all tired at the end of the day.  Whether we spent the day in the workforce, or whether we spent the day educating our own children at home.  We are not as young as we used to be and constantly answering questions and repeatedly disciplining for the same behavior is mentally exhausting.  We want ‘mommy time’!

There is a time and a place for ‘mommy time’, (or ‘daddy time’ as the case may be) but as with all things, it must be in balance with our responsibilities as parents

As we are driving along, I grab the disk case, slide the disk into the player and breathe a deep sigh of relief as peace settles over the van.  Another audio-book begins to work its magic.

‘An audio-book?’ you question.  You’d be surprised how well they will capture the attention of your children.  Not only will you experience peace and quiet as they are drawn into the story, but your kids will benefit as well.  There have been many a time when my youngest boy garnered praises from complete strangers.  The first time was just before he turned 4.  The Staples employee, with whom he had struck up a conversation, could not believe he was able to have such a coherent conversation at age 3!!  I think he must have been explaining centrifugal force (his favorite conversation starter at the time).

Does this mean we never watch movies in the van?  Of course not!  But we do limit it to long trips (more than 2 hours), and we limit the number of movies allowed.  But by not having a permanent DVD player in the van it is much less tempting for me to give into their desire to watch TV wherever we go!!

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