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Does Watching Tv Cause Autism

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Research Shows That Autistic Children Learn From Videos

Can TV cause autism?

Researchers have looked into the power of video modeling for children with autism. They’ve discovered that videos, which can be viewed over and over again, are actually powerful tools for teaching skills, concepts, and even emotional responses. Some video modeling has been shown to effectively teach life skills like tooth brushing, shoe tying and more. Choose shows or videos that teach these skills, and allow your child to watch as often as possible. Reference the videos when working on the skills, and you’ll be amazed at your child’s positive response.

Use These Strategies To Help Your Child Cut Back On Screen Time You May See Better Social Skills And More Interaction With Other Kids

Children with autism spectrum disorder ;have social skill deficits that can affect their ability to play with others. Because of this, they often pursue more solitary and sedentary activities. Kids with autism may also have narrow interests, so they may spend much of their time doing a single activity that they like, such as watching TV or playing computer games.

Unfortunately, a lot of screen time interferes with a childs ability to learn new skills and acquire the social skills necessary to play with others. Screen time close to bedtime can also make it difficult for a child to fall asleep.

Although screen time can hinder development, removing screen time altogether or decreasing it drastically may lead to problem behavior for children with autism. If you feel you need to reduce your childs screen time, use the following steps to help make the transition more successful.

Goal: Limit screen time throughout the day and remove screen time prior to bedtime

Step 1: Create a daily schedule and routine. A consistent schedule provides predictability by letting your child know what to expect throughout the day.

Step 2: Include a variety of activities for your child in the schedule.;Your childs schedule should include interactive activities that she enjoys and is able to complete.

Step 4: Place preferred activities after less preferred activities. Screen time can become more of a reward for completion of less preferred activities, such as cleaning up toys or finishing dinner.

Screen Time Before Bed Hurts Sleep

Does your child use screens before bed, or have access to screens in their own bedroom? If so, you may want to eliminate those.

One study found that if children watch television within a couple of hours of going to bed, their sleep will suffer. If what they watch is violent, then its even worse.

Another study, which looked at if children had access to media in their bedrooms found that children with ASD, ADHD, and neurotypical children all suffered from worse sleep. However, the study pointed out that children with autism had a worse effect from having access to media in their bedrooms.

So not only does problematic screen time worsen autistic symptoms and affect the nervous system, it can hurt your childs sleep as well. And we dont really need any science to tell us that poor sleep can lead to problems, health-wise and behavior-wise.

Don’t Miss: What Was Your Autistic Child Like As A Baby

Does Screen Time Cause Autism

This is a tough question to answer. To start out the conversion, Id like to say that there is most likely not one sole cause of autism. We do know that autism is part genetic and part environmental. One study in 2014 in Sweden estimated it to be split 50/50 between environmental and genetic causes.

Not only is it split between environmental and genetic, but there are multiple environmental factors and multiple genes that can cause it. Its a very complex disorder.

So how much of a factor is screen time for causing autism? There is differing research on this, but it does seem to be piling up towards the side that yes, screen time can have an effect on autism.

Another study, which looked at screen time and autism correlation found that in places in the U.S. where people watch more television and the rise of cable television in the 1980s found that the rise of autism correlated with the rise of television and places where television is watched more often.

Another study, that looked back on children with ASD and children without ASD found that children with ASD had started watching television six months earlier than those that didnt develop ASD. The average age for those who developed ASD was 6 months old when they started watching television.

These are very interesting studies. However, I would like to point out that correlation does not equal causation. Just because they look related when looking;at;the data, doesnt mean that one caused the other.

Incorrect Theories About The Causes Of Autism

Study cited for blaming autism on TV cartoon does not exist

While we don’t know exactly why most autistic people are autistic, we do know that at least some of the theories are flat out wrong. Here is the truth about some of the theories that we know to be incorrect.

  • You can’t catch autism: Some people are nervous about allowing their children to come into contact with autistic peers out of anxiety over contagion. But autism is not an infectious disease; it can’t be passed from person to person through a virus, a bacteria, or any other means . Even if your child is constantly in contact with a child on the autism spectrum, he or she cannot “catch” autism. You may notice a typically developing child copying the mannerisms of an autistic peer, but no one can become autistic as a result of physical proximity.
  • Poor nutrition doesn’t cause autism: Many parents have put their children with autism on gluten and casein-free diets . That does not mean that they “caused” their children’s autism by feeding them wheat or dairy . Research suggests that some children with autism have gastrointestinal issues that can cause discomfort, and removing the cause of that discomfort is very likely to improve behavior, attentiveness, and mood. Thus, while a change in diet may improve autistic symptoms, poor nutrition doesn’t cause autism.
  • Read Also: How To Give Autistic Child Medicine

    Can Watching Tv Make A Child Autistic

    Children are seen glued to screens more and more. Especially with the past year being so tough and online learning being extremely stressful for both mothers and children, screen time became a way out and one of the few luxuries a child can get. The question is: can TV cause autism?

    Tv And Videos Can Create A Link Between The Internal And External Worlds

    Many children with autism live inside their own heads. One of the greatest challenges parents face is finding ways to engage their child in the real world. Many TV “worlds” have corresponding real-world venues that you and your child can explore together. Depending on where you live, you might choose to visit Sesame Place , take a trip on a “Thomas the Tank Engine” train, attend a “Wiggles” concert, or visit a PBS-themed exhibit in a children’s museum. If your child is a Harry Potter or Disney fan, of course, you’re in luck: the number of wonderful options to share is huge; you may even discover that you and your child have more in common than you thought.

    Recommended Reading: How To Make A Visual Schedule For Autism

    Early Infant Exposure To Tv Raises Autism Risks

    ·Alexandra Lupu··

    A recent study conducted by a team of researchers at the Cornell University in New York state shows that infants should not be allowed to watch TV for a long time, because too much time spent in front of the TV may trigger autism in children. Moreover, medical experts warn that parents should take care of offsprings under 2 years of age and not to let them watch TV at all. Taking into account the fact that more than 1 in 100 British children suffer from autism, scientists strongly urge parents to keep undertwos away from TV. Even when offsprings get older, they are not supposed to spend too much time watching TV because risks of autism are still high.

    Cornell University researchers did not have data on infants’ watching TV habits. But their findings were rather surprising as they proved that children who live in the wettest regions were the most likely to develop autism symptoms, taking into account the fact that they spend many hours watching TV, as the weather outside does not allow them to play most of the times.

    Writing in their report entitled ‘Does Television Cause Autism’, researchers pointed out the fact that the results of their study: “indicate that just under 40% of autism diagnoses in the three states studied is the result of television watching due to precipitation”.

    Does Watching Tv Cause Autism

    what is virtual autism? Does watching screen for long time causes Autism spectrum disorder?


    The alarming rise in autism rates in the U.S. and some other developed nations is one of the most anguishing mysteries of modern medicine and the source of much desperate speculation by parents. In 1970, its incidence was thought to be just 1 in 2,500; today about 1 in 170 kids born in the U.S. fall somewhere on the autism spectrum , according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Some of the spike can be reasonably attributed to a new, broader definition of the disorder, better detection, mandatory reporting by schools and greater awareness of autism among doctors, parents and educators. Still, there’s a nagging sense among many experts that some mysterious X-factor or factors in the environment tip genetically susceptible kids into autism, though efforts to pin it on childhood vaccines, mercury or other toxins haven’t panned out. Genes alone can’t explain it; the identical twin of a child with autism has only a 70% to 90% chance of being similarly afflicted.

    Result of? Due to? How can these researchers suggest causality when no actual TV watching was ever measured? “The standard interpretation of this type of analysis is that this is cause and effect,” Waldman insists, adding that the 67-page study has been read by “half a dozen topnotch health economists.”

    With reporting by Alice Park/New York

    Also Check: Why Vaccines Dont Cause Autism

    Early Childhood Is A Once In A Lifetime Opportunity

    When you look through Todays lens, early childhood has become a rarified, once-in-a-lifetime pre-digital opportunity. As I write in The Durable Human Manifesto: Practical Wisdom for Living and Parenting in the Digital Age, each child begins life as a wild humanas free and unplugged as any other animal.

    When toddlers range around, freely using all of their senses to examine, taste and play with whatever they choose, they are making rich and lifelong neural connections.

    So kids can stay on a healthy developmental track, experts including Dr. Ducanda and Lori Frome recommend that you:

    • Talk and read with your child every day as much as possible
    • Provide materials, toys, and games that require manipulation, such as a play dough, finger paints, and a play kitchen
    • Go outside at least once a day and make sure the child has time to play alone and with other children
    • Not use screens when you are with children
    • Not hand a phone to your baby or young child
    • Keep the TV off around kids under age four, even if the child doesnt seem to be paying attention to whats on the screen
    • Explain to family members and caregivers why these measures are essential to a childs healthy development, durability, and well-being

    Conversely, if a child has a full, well-balanced life with minimal time on screens, the symptoms may never emerge.

    There Is Nothing More Harmful Than Poor Science

    The research has largely been met with criticism.

    Dr James Cusack from the charity Autistica argued the apparent 4.2% increase in symptoms is small.

    Assessing a two-year-old also carries little weight considering children develop at different rates and it is hard to accurately diagnose autism at such a young age, he added.

    It is absurd to claim, based on these results, that screen time has any association with autism or how autistic someone is, said Dr Cusask.

    Families deserve better science than this.

    In the very unlikely event this study was accurately detecting autism or the presence of traits, this study would still be fatally flawed.

    This is because a result like this could be simply down to an increased preference for screen time in children who show increased traits associated with autism.

    Dr Cusack referenced an editorial accompanying the research where a doctor from the Seattle Childrens Research Institute suggested medics restrict screen time in order to fulfil the Hippocratic oath to do no harm.

    I would argue, on the contrary, there is nothing more harmful than poor science, he said.

    Families should not be concerned that allowing their young children to watch screens will cause autism, it would be absurd to reach this conclusion based on this evidence.

    Another expert wondered whether increased TV time may be a consequence, rather than a cause, of autism.

    I worry the paper will do harm if it feeds the blame the parents meme.

    Read Also: Can Autistic Child Study In Normal School

    Signs Of Autism In Children

    Problems with social interactions such as the following:

    • Difficulty keeping eye contact
    • Doesnt respond to name by the age of 9 months
    • Doesnt show different facial expressions such as happy, sad, shocked, or surprised by the age of 9 months
    • Doesnt wave or use simple hand gestures by the age of 12 months
    • Has difficulty following hand and eye contact such as look at what youre pointing at by the age of 18 months
    • Doesnt show empathy towards others being hurt or sad by the age of 24 months
    • Does not use pretend-play such as feeding a doll by the age of 30 months
    • Has difficulty making friends and shows little interest in other kids

    Performs repetitive behaviors or actions such as the following:

    • Lines up toys or objects in a specific order and does not like it when the order is changed
    • Repeats certain words or phrases continuously
    • Plays with toys the same way every single time
    • Opens and closes doors repetitively
    • Obsessed with certain parts of objects such as wheels
    • Throws a tantrum when the routine changes
    • Needs to follow instructions and a specific routine
    • Rocks body or spins in circles to calm down
    • Does not like to be touched or hugged
    • Can get easily aggravated by sounds or smells.

    Shows developmental delays and behavioral problems such as the following:

    Study Proves Observable Brain Changes

    Is It Safe For Babies To Watch TV? Effects And Alternatives

    A study of toddlers brains bears out these behavioral indicators.

    Publishing their work in JAMA Pediatrics, researchers at Cincinnati Childrens Hospital have shown that the amount of white matter appears to be reduced in the brains of young children who spend more than two hours a day on screens. The brains white matter aids in thought processing and organization, as well as performing other vital functions.

    Think of white matter as cables, sort of like telephone lines that are connecting the various parts of the brain so they can talk to each other, Dr. John Hutton told CNN.

    These are tracks that we know are involved with language and literacy, he continued. And these were the ones relatively underdeveloped in these kids with more screen time.

    47 healthy toddlers were studied. Screen exposure among them ranged from zero to about five hours a day.

    In their report, the study authors did not make a connection to virtual autism nor did they specifically mention autistic-like symptoms.

    Recommended Reading: What’s The Difference Between Autistic And Autism

    What Does The Research Say

    Autistic people may be drawn to screens because they provide a repetitive and predictable interface that is easily customised to the specific interests of an individual. Digital media provides the user with visual and auditory engagement that stimulates neural pathways. For many autistic children and adolescents these neural pathways are not always stimulated during face to face interactions. Face to face interactions can elicit anxiety for many autistic children and young people so it becomes understandable why digital media devices may be preferred .

    Most research suggests that children and adolescents on the autism spectrum spend more time on video games and computers than their neurotypical peers .

    In contrast, autistic children spend less time using social media or socially interactive electronically based games . While there are identified benefits of using digital and social media there are a number of risks as well.

    The benefits in summary are:

    • creating learning opportunities
    • increasing opportunities for social contact and support.

    The risks include:

    • problems with attention and learning
    • higher incidence of obesity and depression
    • exposure to inaccurate, inappropriate and/or unsafe content and people
    • compromised privacy and confidentiality .

    McLeod et al suggest that the rapid adoption and use of technology makes it difficult for evidence-based research to keep pace and identify what is most helpful for the cognitive and physical domains of wellbeing.

    Watching Too Much Tv Can Cause Depression But Exercise Makes Us Happy

    • Inactivity can cause emotional and physical symptoms associated with condition
    • Findings consistent with previous research

    A study has revealed that too much time spent watching TV could be linked to depression

    Watching TV can increase the risk of depression warn scientists.

    A study by Harvard University found inactivity can cause a range of emotional and physical symptoms associated with the condition.

    Whereas exercise has a positive impact boosting self-esteem, sense of control and endorphin levels.

    According to the study, published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, women who regularly exercised were around 20 per cent less likely to get depression compared to those who rarely exercised.;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;

    Close to 50,000 women were surveyed every couple of years from 1992 to 2006 as part of the U.S. Nurses’ Health Study.

    Lead authorMichel Lucas said: ‘Higher levels of physical activity were associated with lower depression risk.’;;

    Participants recorded the amount of time they spent watching TV each week in 1992, and answered questions about how often they walked, biked, ran and swam between 1992 and 2000.;;;;

    At the same time, women were asked; to report any new cases of clinical depression or medication taken to treat depression.;;;

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