Wednesday, October 11, 2006

What Makes TV Stressful?

Just read about a low-budget Disney TV show for kids. “Quelli dell’ Intervallo” is so popular in Italy it’s being picked up in other European countries.  A bunch of kids, standing in a group, look straight at the camera and talk. No animation. No special effects.

Has a fun plot line and actually sounds kind of interesting to me. And keep in mind that there’s not nearly as much TV for kids in Europe as in the US.

Now there’s talk about bringing the show to the U.S. But I’ll bet it will never fly over here even though the segments are short and can be watched on tiny cell phone screens.

Our kids are used to extreme special effects and equally extreme rapid movement—even on Sesame Street.  In fact they’re mesmerized by TV in ways that were unheard of when my son was a kid and watching Saturday morning cartoons.

Unfortunately these rapid visual effects and movement aren’t great for the brain. A few years ago the rapid movement and laser effects in a Japanese show sent kids to the hospital with epileptic seizures.  

Bottom line, TV can sometimes be pretty stressful even if the content of the show is benign.

So how much do you know about the connection between stress and learning?  Take the free “Stress Quiz” and find out.

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