I was recently approached by a long-time family friend, and former nurse, who mentioned a recent conversation with a friend of hers who teaches at a preschool. It seems that her observation of the children today is they are not only in a constant state of hyperactivity, but their attention spans are anemic at best.
One hypothesis which was posited was that of the cartoons and games that children play, and the fast-paced story line, jumping from scene to scene, and multi-level challenges, there to stimulate the child every 2-3 seconds or so. She surmised that this bombardment of scene changes and shifting foci might be teaching children to maintain a short attention span. I think she has a valid point.
On the other hand, perhaps it is only the tip of the iceberg. My observation has been that children learn what they live, and jumpy action-filled plots and challenges may contribute, but have you ever noticed the enormous amount of time a child will spend playing such games or watching TV? In fact, children these days have awesome attention spans. But they are developed at a great price, and I think they are of questionable benefit.
The same parents who are frustrated because their children are unresponsive to them may be the same ones who sat baby in front of a TV from early infancy. Sadly, many parents have relied heavily upon this cost-effective nanny. She produces an endless stream of stimulating images and entertaining sounds. She can be found in nearly every room, in the doctor’s office, and in the mini-van. She costs little, is fed only an occasional DVD, never complains, and is tireless in her comedic role.
Better yet, not only does she stimulate the child in that oddly successful way, so much so that the child stays out of mama’s hair for hours, she is also a hypnotist, and does so effortlessly all day long. There are four electro-magnetic wave sets common to the human brain, relating to various states. They are the alpha, beta, theta, and delta spectrums.
When a child is in a Beta brainwave state, he is logical, lucid, and rational. Such a state is induced, for instance, when a child is reading a book. In such a state, he is responsive, and involved.
But set a child in from of a TV for just a few minutes, and you will find his brainwave state switches quickly to Alpha. In this state, there tends to be a mental dullness, there is little-to-no active, rational thought, the child approximates a meditative state, and he is likely to become highly suggestible. What might appear to be a responsive, engaged child with a good attention span may be instead a child under hypnosis, greatly receptive to suggestion, and programmable in the extreme.
Let the child live this way for years, let him become addicted to INDUCED HYPNOSIS, and LO, we have an ALPHA junkie, desperate for a fix and absolutely detached from irritating parental intrusions into his alternate reality.
Enough of the TV, dads and moms, enough of the endless gaming, and enough of the excuses the children learn so much when they watch Animal Planet. Enough of shifting responsibility to the TV Nanny, and enough of getting the children out of your hair.