Psychologist Aric Sigman has published a study in the science journal Biologist that warns that children who watch television too much can suffer more harm than previously thought. It found that the popular activity inhibits production of the hormone melatonin, which affects the immune system, sleep cycle and commencement of puberty.
Sigman suggests it is this lower levels of melatonin that cause girls to reach puberty much earlier and increase in average weight than in the past.
Other effects of watching television that Sigman found include possible cause of autism, possible cause of permanent eyesight damage, possible factor in obesity, and risk of developing Alzheimer's disease. Infants and toddlers suffer from irregular sleep patterns and therefore higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Sigman is urging the British government to make this issue a top health priority and banning young children from watching television but introducing it progressively and under control. He blamed the current trends - average 6-year-old British child has watched 1 year of television and more than half of 3-year-old children have a television set in their bedrooms - on the lack of parental responsibility.
Sigman is the author of the book "Remotely Controlled: How Television Is Damaging Our Lives".
PhysOrg.com - Television poses risk to childrens' health: study
Wikipedia - Melatonin
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