Three Patients Say …
“I get to have a secret relationship with myself when everyone goes to bed around midnight. I get to think and write and get to know my own mind in a very honest environment.”
“I have two friends who I’m never able to see during the day [at college]. So we meet quietly at night in one of our dark dorm rooms when our roommates are asleep. We whisper and talk for hours.”
“My house is especially crazy and hectic. Nighttime is relaxing. It’s just you and your thoughts.”
OK, I have to warn you here—I’m about to rant and rave. Television is malignant—there’s no other way to say it. The shows that adolescents watch are filled with violence, inappropriate sex, and truly horrific stuff, and it’s not only warping their psyches during the day but keeping them up at night.
While some kids try to relax by watching soap operas in the afternoon—bad enough in itself—many are watching shows with disturbing content at night, right before they try to fall asleep. From 10:00 to 11:00 p.m., most networks provide programming in which characters get blown up or tied up or have life-threatening illnesses or creepy people stalking them. At a time when kids should be trying to wind down and empty their minds of problems to make the transition to sleep, they’re bombarded by frightening images.
NEGATIVE EFFECTS OF TELEVISION WATCHING
The results of a research study entitled “The Children in the Community” reported in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine showed that adolescents who watched more than three hours of TV a day were at a significantly higher risk for sleep problems by early adulthood. Adolescents who lowered their TV watching to less than an hour a day experienced a significant reduction in that risk.