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Television Media Science

TV Viewing Linked to Attention Problems 301

oDDmON oUT writes "While your mother may have told you that sitting too close to the TV was bad for your eyes, the folks over at New Scientist are reporting that too much television may be linked to a bad attention span 'The study is not proof that TV viewing causes attention problems, Landhuis notes, because it may be that children prone to attention problems may be drawn to watching television. "However, our results show that the net effect of television seems to be adverse."'"
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TV Viewing Linked to Attention Problems

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  • by CaptainPatent ( 1087643 ) on Wednesday September 05, 2007 @01:59PM (#20482497) Journal
    I am an avid TV watcher and have no problems pa...

    Oh look a bunny!
    • by skeeto ( 1138903 ) on Wednesday September 05, 2007 @02:12PM (#20482743)

      How many kids with ADD does it take to screw in a lightbulb?

      Hey! Wanna go ride bikes?

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Jorgandar ( 450573 )
      As an avid bunny watcher i'm offended by your..

      Oh look a TV!
      • I lol'ed. Thanks.

        I don't know why more people don't just get a PVR and skip over commercials. That way you can watch crap shows and not be subject to lame advertisements for

        Oh look a Bunny on top of the TV.
    • by Shivetya ( 243324 ) on Wednesday September 05, 2007 @02:57PM (#20483413) Homepage Journal

      Because parents who let their kids stay in front of a TV for hours on end are not teaching their kids responsibility. All they are teaching is selfishness and the like. I say this because I have seen ADD kids do just fine playing games for hours on, its because they want to do it. ADD is just an excuse for not teaching a child that there is a time and place for everything. Its because you don't take an active interest in what they are doing, as such they do not know what to place importance on. Don't claim they don't know how to focus , the do damn well when its what they want to do.

      Occupy their time. Involve them. You would be amazed at the difference between children of parents who actively engage them throughout the day and those that don't. I bet you can tell which children are which. ADD should renamed ARD - Adult Responsibility Disorder.
      • by Vancorps ( 746090 ) on Wednesday September 05, 2007 @03:50PM (#20484443)

        It's a shame you got modded as flamebait there but it is worth mentioning that those with actual ADD cannot play games for hours. The kids you are describing do not have it. A lot of parents pressure doctors for that diagnosis which has led to a disproportionate amount of people in this country taking medication for an illness they do not have because parents didn't teach them how to behave.

        Of course a lot of parents just want to be friends with their kids these days too, that's part of the problem. There is a fine line between having your kid like you and being a friend that will do anything to make them happy.

        Of course occupying their time would mean that you have to occupy more of your time to teach them which is also part of the issue. So many people working a lot of hours, that doesn't leave a lot of room to properly raise your kid. It's a hard line to draw between being poor raising kids responsibly or having some extra to be able to take everyone on a vacation every now and again. I see it with my sister who's taken the being poor approach. She's stressed out and often unhappy. Versus some other friends I have who have taken the other approach who are living stress free lifestyles taking their kids to Disneyland.

        Parenting, it ain't easy, I'm glad I'm not a parent at this point but I have a lot of respect for people that are. Assuming they haven't abandoned their responsibility that is.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Per Wigren ( 5315 )

          It's a shame you got modded as flamebait there but it is worth mentioning that those with actual ADD cannot play games for hours.

          If it wasn't for the fact that I have to occasionally go to the toilet I'd be able to play a game for a week straight, or until I passed out because of hunger or sleep deprivation.

          People with ADD/ADHD can't control their (our) focus. It's called hyperfocusing and it's very common for ADDers to hyperfocus on things that they are interested in while being completly unable to focus on uninteresting things, except for short periods of will-power bursts when it's something very important, resulting in

      • Mod Parent Up (Score:4, Insightful)

        by mpapet ( 761907 ) on Wednesday September 05, 2007 @03:53PM (#20484511) Homepage
        Whoever modded this comment flamebait either isn't being very honest or isn't a parent.

        While the comment drifts a bit, the basic idea is right on. The problem of short attention spans begins with parents letting the TV babysit their child.

        Limited and structured television is fine. We use it to watch movies, travel shows and other stuff as a family, for a finite amount of time not to exceed the length of a movie or the television show. Why? Because there should be something to talk/laugh about afterwards. If it can't pass that simple test, it's time wasted.

        Does my kid still ask to watch TV? Yes, she's a kid. But she's got other options including doing kid-parent stuff.

        Step 1 to eliminating tv is getting rid of the giant screen whatever and getting a 17" or less and putting it in a cabinet that closes so it's not around.
      • by virgil_disgr4ce ( 909068 ) on Wednesday September 05, 2007 @04:18PM (#20485069) Homepage
        I wholeheartedly agree with you. However, I must point out: All stimulus on developing brains has a hugely fundamental influence on the way the neural networks of the brain wire themselves up. Children unexposed to language before 10-12 can't (truly) learn it ever, and babies who are restricted from moving around and exploring shapes and colors will be severely limited in their abilities to understand, conceptualize, and utilize shapes and colors in general. Evidence of this, as well as extremely compelling neural net models that explain it, have been piling up since the 80s.

        It follows that a developing brain exposed to a significant amount of very rapidly changing images (and not even just images but dialog and things and entire scenes) will overdevelop the ability to deal with that speed, with the result that long, drawn out concentration could be almost impossible.

        In any case, it's the most cogent biological evidence for the idea of moderation I've ever heard! It's obvious, and it's common sense, but moderation and a large variety of experience for a developing brain is utterly crucial. Just saying this to add to your point regarding parental influence.

  • No, really? (Score:5, Funny)

    by SultanCemil ( 722533 ) on Wednesday September 05, 2007 @01:59PM (#20482501)
    Gosh, you mean watching Tv with 1/2 second shots changing quickly will shorten my attention span? What's next, water that gets you wet?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by cp.tar ( 871488 )

      You forgot commercial breaks, which make our attention stop and go and stop and go...

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by ackthpt ( 218170 )

      Gosh, you mean watching Tv with 1/2 second shots changing quickly will shorten my attention span? What's next, water that gets you wet?

      Ever notice how stuff on TV in most countries is peppered with advertising? Start a story, ad, ad, ad, some more of the story, ad, ad, ad, ad, a preposterous climax/cliff hanger, ad, ad, ad, ad, some sort of resolution which returns things back to the way they were at the beginning of the show.

      I don't watch TV anymore as I find it frustrates the heck out of me. I read

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Tau Neutrino ( 76206 )

        Ever notice how stuff on TV in most countries is peppered with advertising?
        Completely agree. Commercials drive me up the wall. And even the bad shows are lousy with them. Fortunately, most of the good stuff comes out a little while later on DVD, with no ads. And the kicker is, the local library has many of them. Gratis.

        If you don't mind not being current with the latest TV-induced craze, it's a reasonable solution.
        • Re:No, really? (Score:4, Interesting)

          by anagama ( 611277 ) <> on Wednesday September 05, 2007 @02:39PM (#20483155) Homepage
          I'm with you, though I go for the convenience of netflix. I quite watching broadcast/cable TV in 1993. On the once every other year chance I watch a show at a friend's place, I'm constantly annoyed at the breaks in the story. Aside from years of training, I don't see how people can tolerate it.

          What I prefer is to have a whole season on DVD -- the story becomes a video-novel that way. Even feature films start to feel like short stories when compared to the pleasure of a commercial free movie about 20+ hours long per season.
  • In related news... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by notthe9 ( 800486 ) on Wednesday September 05, 2007 @02:00PM (#20482509)
    And in related news, scientists are reporting the polar ice caps are cold.
  • This correlation was discovered at _LEAST_ 30 years ago... I remember hearing about it when I was a child.
  • You know... (Score:2, Funny)

    by jmcwork ( 564008 )
    The phrase 'Boob tube' was coined long before late night Cinemax was available.
    • I always used IGDBB instead of TV. IGDBB is a abreviation of a quote from Jubal Hershaw in Hienlein's Stranger in a Strange Land: "Infernal God Damn Babble Box!"
  • by eviloverlordx ( 99809 ) on Wednesday September 05, 2007 @02:03PM (#20482561)
    Everybody and their dog has been talking about this for the last few years, so I'm not sure that this is really 'news'. My wife and I try to keep our daughter from watching too much TV, and limiting what she does watch to Sprout. Sometimes, though, you just need the services of the electronic babysitter to keep your sanity.
  • Why is it (Score:4, Insightful)

    by BlowHole666 ( 1152399 ) on Wednesday September 05, 2007 @02:05PM (#20482605)
    I was wondering why it is that back in the 1950's you never heard about people having attention problems. I know doctors have learned a lot about attention problems since the 1950's but you can still tell based on grades, interest in social activities etc. We may have not had a name for it in the 50's but if it was around it would have been documented. But now it just seams that cases of ADD and ADHD are just popping up all over the place. Could it be that parents are no longer at home? The dad does not get the joys of working 9-5 and coming home to his wife and dinner like in leave it to beaver? So the kid spends a lot of time away from their parents because the parents are at work. So the child must think up new ways to entertain them self and it just spirals out of control and the brain tricks the child into always wanting to daydream? So naturally the child sits in front of the TV and that just spurs the imagination, but maybe the imagination should only be used so much before it is always on. So if you think of the your imagination as downloading an mp3, and getting caught as ADHD. If you download one song you will probably be ok. If you download songs 24/7 you will probably get caught.
    • Because back then any kids who DID have attention problems were considered to be WITCHES and they were summarily killed. It's true, I saw something on TV about that.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      In the 50s if you had a problem you were just "funny", if it was too much for the family to handle they'd drop you off at the funny farm and pump you full of drugs.

      I wonder sometimes about exactly how "good" attention span is defined. I mean back in the 50s they used to have intermission for motion pictures. Maybe inattentive behaviour went unnoticed? (It would explain the Edsel).
      • Mod Parent Up. Much as modern entertainment is unlikely to be a cause behind modern violence but more likely a channel used by those who already have those tendencies. In other words, it's not that T.V. causes ADD, it's that ADD goes (semi-)well with T.V.

        One interesting note is that I know that I, and my friend who was actually diagnosed with ADD, both don't watch T.V. because it's way too boring. Honestly I don't have the attention span for T.V., and I'm not ADD.

        I wonder what percentage of ADD diagnosed ch
        • by Xtravar ( 725372 )
          I was thinking the same thing - "if a child doesn't pay attention to what *I* want him/her to pay attention to, the child has an attention problem." Sorry, it doesn't work that way.

          Perhaps the best way to get kids to pay attention is to raise them to appreciate things for which you want them to be interested in... and then not kill the opportunity with boring school teachers.

          I've got the same problem with TV, too. I have always needed to do something /while/ watching TV... whether that's play with Legos a
        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by zifferent ( 656342 )
          In addition, with the modern extremely broad definition of ADD I wonder how we can make any generalizations about ADD diagnosed people. Remember that officially diagnosed friend of mine? We regurally play multi-hour sessions of Age of Empires, and he stays focused the entire time no problem. He also gets great grades, and doesn't take any medications at all. When someone who doesn't need any meds to do well in school and pay attention for hours can be diagnosed with ADD then I personally believe the diagnos
          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by jedidiah ( 1196 )
            > That's right. You, in you're near infinite wisdom know more
            > than all the psychologists and psychiatrists combined.

            That's probably not saying much. The problem with people that claim to actually
            understand the human mind is this: the human mind is probably the single most
            complicated thing we could possibly study. It's probably worse than economics
            and sociology (which we are also pretty bad at).

            Now add on to this inherent complexity the fact that we can't apply many of
            the same research techniques that
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by Per Wigren ( 5315 )
              The problems people with ADD/ADHD experience are very real. What's next? Will you claim that depressions don't exist?
              Let me tell you, as a 30 year old with ADD I'm VERY good at hiding the symptoms to others.

              When it's really really important I can collect enough mental energy to be able to deal with boring and/or bureaucratic things (like paying my bills or doing stuff at work) for a short while, but then I can get exhausted to the point that I can barely remember my name until I get some mental rest. That's
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by zifferent ( 656342 )
              Negative karma be damned: You are a completely ignorant and a vain bigoted asshole to boot!

              Go out. Get some books. Learn about a subject before spewing out your mouth about that which you don't know.

              Since you obviously don't have a clue, it is very easy for me to say that you have no idea what goes on in other people's heads.

              And you don't seem to grasp some of the basic concepts of science, observation and experimentation to say that psychologists just pull these pathologies out of thin air.

              Most bra
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by Qrlx ( 258924 )
              Healthy skepticism is great, but to dismiss the entire field of mental health as the work of QUACKS is ridiculous. You sound like Tom Cruise.

              Do not dismiss the role of Big Pharma in codifying new conditions that can now be treated, in pill form. "Ask your doctor if {INSERT EXPENSIVELY CRAFTED NOUN HERE} is right for you."

              We are an Instant Gratification culture, we'll always choose the diet pill over exercise.

              In essence, you're blaming the market for providing products people (think they) want.

          • I have ADD and have similar experiences, and I know many others who do also. All these "ADD is fake and they are just lazy bastards" posts are making me sad.
      • by mcmonkey ( 96054 )

        In the 50s if you had a problem you were just "funny", if it was too much for the family to handle they'd drop you off at the funny farm and pump you full of drugs.

        Tell me more about these funny farms. Do the have conjugal visits?

    • by hatchet ( 528688 )
      It's because in the 1950's people with attention problems were just stupid.
      Similarly, retards became mentally challenged and cripples became paraplegic or physically challenged
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Ubergrendle ( 531719 )
      Its more complicated than that, but you're on the right track. Can't remember the exact details of the show, but a CBC Radio program called Ideas had a sociologist on one episode talking about the separation of humanity from nature and doing things 'real'. Nature in all its aspects is beaten back, controlled, dominated, destroyed. We are having generations of children grow up with absent parents, 24/7 electronic media, and a complete segregation from spontaneous childhood play. -- the last one being the MOS
      • by Knuckles ( 8964 )
        Recently a TV program on the Food Network, Jamie Oliver's School Dinners, really hit this mark home for me. The majority of kids in a classroom couldn't identify an unprocessed carrot from a potato. (!!!)

        I recently read about a study being done in German schools that allegedly found that 30% of kids aged 6 to 11 could not walk backwards.
        • My 15 month old can do that. I find it very disturbing that a 6 year old could not do that, let alone an 11 year old.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by bwindle2 ( 519558 )
      Maybe it didn't happen (as much) in the '50s because TV was less entertaining back then. Then: 3 channels of fuzzy, black&white content without so much as a knee exposed, and certainly no sex and hardly any violence. Now: You get 500 channels of crystal-clear content, oft sprinkled with half-naked women, violence, and sex.
      • You gotta admit though, June was hot!
      • I think that the style of TV cinematography contributes to that. Modern TV changes the scene every few seconds.

        You get used to that when you watch a lot of TV, but I stopped watching TV regularly a few years back, and every time I see it now it's highly annoying how each scene is yanked from under my eyes as soon as I get comfortable with it.
      • by fonetik ( 181656 )
        And they didn't have the drug to sell, so they hadn't invented the disease yet.
    • Re:Why is it (Score:5, Interesting)

      by mark-t ( 151149 ) <markt@nerdfl[ ]com ['at.' in gap]> on Wednesday September 05, 2007 @02:26PM (#20482967) Journal
      The reason it is more common now than it used to be is two fold: one, our society has improved mechanisms for detecting neurologically atypical activity due to improved social programs and medical technologies; and two, there actually _are_ more people in the world with these disorders than before. The reason for the latter is connected with how medical technology has advanced over the past century or so. Before, people with either mental or physical disabilities would not usually be able to be successful, and thus would not typically survive in a competitive world. These people would have relatively few offspring, and the genes associated with those disabilities would not be very common. Enter ever-more improved medicines, the ability to control or limit the effects of the disabilities, allowing people with the genes associated with them to reproduce as commonly as people with typical human gene structures. The result is that the gene pool contains an increasing amount of "flawed" genetic material, increasing the likelihood that a child would be born with some disorder or another.
      • Sure, that must be it. More flawed genetic material. Couldn't possibly be that drug corporations are allowed to advertise individual products directly the consumers of the drugs, and have figured out that they get a much better revenue stream if, instead of curing diseases, they develop drugs that are a) "prescribed" by grade school counselors, b) taken daily, and c) have to be taken continuously for the life of the customer.

        There are certainly some people who suffer from an inability to maintain concen

        • by mark-t ( 151149 )
          Even if what you were saying were true, the effect I described above would still be equally present. Besides being unnecessary to explain the situation, it introduces all the complexities that any conspiracy theory has. Occam's razor suggests your proposal to be superfluous at best, incorrect at worse.
          • Ok, take away the conspiracy theory. Perhaps the problem isn't that there are more people with concentration problems than before but that our current environment makes such problems more noticeable. Perhaps there is the same ratio of "normal" to "atypical", it is just that with population increasing over the past 50 years ago, the absolute numbers have increased to noticeable levels. Perhaps there isn't an increase, either in ratio or in absolute value, but the for-profit press is making us more aware o

          • by jedidiah ( 1196 )
            It is in the interests of big-pharma for you to take drugs you don't need. This is trivial. It is the same force that drives all companies that want to sell you something. It's like a force of nature. Actually, it's a force of human nature.

            Deny it is much like trying to deny gravity.

            What would Occam think of that?

            Big-pharma courts the doctors. They also advertise to the customers to push the doctors from both directions. Many find themselves in a "prescribe or die" situation.

            The "consipiracy" is in your fac
    • I don't know if the parent should be mod'd off-topic or funny. This person went from talking about people in the 1950's to justifying why it should be OK to download music illegally on occasion (with several other topics in-between). :-)

  • by Mr. Flibble ( 12943 ) on Wednesday September 05, 2007 @02:10PM (#20482687) Homepage
    CHAIRMAN: ...Which brings us once again to the urgent realization of just how much there is still left to own. Item six on the agenda: the meaning of life. Now, uh, Harry, you've had some thoughts on this.
            That's right. Yeah, I've had a team working on this over the past few weeks, and, uh, what we've come up with can be reduced to two fundamental concepts. One: people are not wearing enough hats. Two: matter is energy. In the universe, there are many energy fields which we cannot normally perceive. Some energies have a spiritual source which act upon a person's soul. However, this soul does not exist ab initio, as orthodox Christianity teaches. It has to be brought into existence by a process of guided self-observation. However, this is rarely achieved, owing to man's unique ability to be distracted from spiritual matters by everyday trivia.
            What was that about hats, again?
            Oh, uh, people aren't wearing enough.
            Is this true?

            Certainly. Hat sales have increased, but not pari passu, as our research initially--
            But when you say 'enough', enough for what purpose?
            Can I just ask, with reference to your second point, when you say souls don't develop because people become distracted,...
            [rumble] ...has anyone noticed that building there before?
  • From TFA:

    "Those who watched more than two hours, and particularly those who watched more than three hours, of television per day during childhood had above-average symptoms of attention problems in adolescence,"

    Any parent who lets their kid watch 3 hours a day every day of TV is insane. I get mad at myself because I let my kids watch 2 hours on a weekend and 1/2 an hour most weekdays.
  • Watching TV leads to parents yelling at kids to stop wasting all the time doing nothing. So kids learn to get their viewing in quickly. There's also the issue with advertisements and multiple channels. People learn to not focus too much on one show because their ad will be over in the important channel in 2 minutes, but dvr's are fixing that. I still like blaming parents, well them and society, since they made things so bad in the world that the den is the last semi-safe place for kids to play. Whateve
  • Videogames (Score:4, Insightful)

    by king-manic ( 409855 ) on Wednesday September 05, 2007 @02:23PM (#20482919)
    Wouldn't video games be the obvious cure to TV induced ADD? Most video games require hours of dedication and concentration to finish. I suppose those with ADD will be more attracted to ADD games (almost anything on the wii right now). So in the interest of public health we should promote the playing videos games that aren't shitty mini game collections.

    Save a mind, ban wario ware.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by tsstahl ( 812393 )
      Wouldn't video games be the obvious cure to TV induced ADD?

      No. Absolutely not. Video games are a form of hyper stimulation. Basically, you get into a trance like state with an intense focus on the rules of the game universe. ADD/ADHD folks are already hyper-stimulated, hence their condition.

      There has been work done using game like simulations to treat ADD, but you could only compare them to a videogame in the most rudimentary sense.

      The 'cure' is simply large quantities of quality time with edu
      • Do you perchance work at the University of Alberta? I am aware they had a trial program similar to what you describe.
    • almost anything on the wii right now
      Except Zelda, Twilight Princess. I'm 40 hours into the game, and there's no end in sight. And you can't accomplish anything unless you plan on spending at least 1 hour, probably close to 2 hours.
  • I Call BS (Score:4, Interesting)

    by eno2001 ( 527078 ) on Wednesday September 05, 2007 @02:27PM (#20482991) Homepage Journal
    When I was a kid I watched a TON of television and I have an incredibly long attention span. I can sit and write code for hours. Or work on music for hours (piano, guitar, synths, audio workstation). I can have a long conversation on a particular subject (over dinner, in the car, etc...). My average viewing day at age three during the week was:

    7:00AM-11:00AM (Cartoons, Little Rascals, Brady Bunch)
    3:00-5:00PM (Rin-Tin-Tin, more Little Rascals, The Three Stooges, Laurel and Hardy, Looney Toons, etc...)
    7:00PM-9:00PM (Anything my folks watched which could have been Star Trek, Hogan's Heroes, any number of 70s cop shows and of course the news occasionally in the 6:00-7:00PM time slot.

    Weekends were usually:

    7:00AM- 12:00PM (Cartoons)
    1:00PM-5:00PM (Local hosted movies "Superhost" in Cleveland)
    6:00PM-7:00PM (Star Trek)
    8:00PM-11:00PM (Any number of "family shows" in the 70s, Love Boat and Fantasy Island on Saturday nights, and maybe a movie on Sunday nights)

    It had no impact on my attention span.
    • by mh1997 ( 1065630 ) on Wednesday September 05, 2007 @02:59PM (#20483465)

      I have an incredibly long attention span. I can sit and write code for hours.
      Based on the timestamp of your post (2:27PM on a Wednesday) I would suggest that your boss may not agree with your ability to code for hours. Of course, looking at my timestamp black pots and kettles come to mind.
    • I did this, too.
      I had good marks in school but that's it.

      My attention span is OK but I am told that people have to repeat stuff when they talk to me.
      It drives my wife nuts.
      The reason: I think about other things and tune out.

      Since I've been able to watch TV/movie on a PC and do other stuff on the PC at the same time, I think it's getting worse.

      Therefore I think it's just a bad habit, not a medical condition.
      • by eno2001 ( 527078 )
        That sounds more likely. Because these days I watch a fairly small amount of television and none of it is broadcast. I take DVDs out of the local library, and download programming that is not available in the U.S. with Bittorrent. (U.S. television is complete crap) As a result most of my TV viewing is done if I have free time. And typically not more than about 45 minutes a day thanks to the lack of television commercials that DVD and foreign television provide. I'd be interested to see a study regardi
    • I would assume they are talking about newer more invasive television. In the 1950s (i assume thats when you grew up with brady bunch and all that) marketing and PR were new concepts and barely just taking off. Nowadays babies are programmed to want things before they can even speak. Ive watched TV with my friends kids and the comercials are mindblowingly, dare I say criminally, coercive.

      Its easy to see this result with the young pups on instant messengers. They'll send a bunch of one word messages as sort o
  • by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Wednesday September 05, 2007 @02:28PM (#20483009) Homepage a learned skill as well. Everyone that's worked in a cubicle or "open landscape", learn how to tune out most (if not all of it). Find a farmer or lumberjack and place him there and he'll go crazy with all the chattering until he learns. If you got zero attention span, the TV is also the easy way out, it's a constant series of impressions to keep you sitting there. You don't have to actually learn to sit down and get some attention span.

    Then again, I rarely get to do that at work either. If I had a single checklist of things to do, and could work my way down then all would be well. Instead it's definately got multitasking, I'd say at times multithreading, preemption and there's always someone trying to hog the scheduler. I make it sound all bad but I don't really feel it that way - but it's definately not for the really long attention spans.
  • The summary was too long to bother... what is this story about anyway?
  • I'm the Slime

    I am gross and perverted I'm obsessed 'n deranged
    I have existed for years
    But very little has changed
    I'm the tool of the Government
    And industry too
    For I am destined to rule
    And regulate you

    I may be vile and pernicious
    But you can't look away
    I make you think I'm delicious
    With the stuff that I say
    I'm the best you can get
    Have you guessed me yet?
    I'm the slime oozin' out
    From your TV set

    You will obey me while I lead you
    And eat the garbage that I feed you
    Until the day that we don't

  • by ayjay29 ( 144994 ) on Wednesday September 05, 2007 @02:36PM (#20483121)
    Coming up in this post...
    Views on TV and attention span

    Buy Some Stuff
    End of break

    You really need an attention deficiency problem to watch most TV these days.

    Coming up next...
    More views on TV and attention span

    Buy More Stuff
    End of break

    Previously in this post
    Views on TV and attention span

    I've tried watching stuff like Myth Busters that I downloaded, and it seems like it's not designed to be watched as a program, but rather byte sized pieces.

    Coming up next...
    Even more views on TV and attention span

    Buy Even More Stuff
    End of break

    Previously in this post
    Other views on TV and attention span

    Compare that presentation style with that of the BBC, where the documentary is actually intended to fill an hour time slot with no ad breaks. In some circumstanced this kind of TV will help kids to focus on one subject for a longer period of time.

    Coming up in the next post...
    Another view on TV and attention span
    • AMEN to that!

      Mythbusters drives me insane. Before every commercial break they tell you what they are going to do, then after the break they tell you what they just did, and what they are going to do... AGAIN!. Easily half of mythbusters, while a greatly entertaining show, is mythbusters talking in the third person about mythbusters. I got pretty good now at knowing exactly when new content will start so that I can fast forward properly, but hey are sneaky and always word the recap a bit differently with dif
  • I HATE how people call it attention deficit "disorder" and how they say the net effect is "averse".

    screw you, I am happy with my short attention span. It serves me financially and personally to have a "short attention span".

    Because I VALUE MY TIME(short attention span) more than other people, I am more efficient and I deal with less bullshit because I don't want to. Call it a disorder if you want, I call it an evolutionary advantage.
    • Doesn't work well when you get into a traffic accident because you're zooming from one lane to another to try and get 3 seconds ahead.

      Also doesn't work well on decisions that are of a longer standing impact. Oh gee, that 50-year mortgage looks great! just put it next to the $60K lease for my 8MPG land yacht.

      Being able to consume and deliberate over more things [over a longer period] isn't a bad thing.

      I'd say a mixture of both is probably better. Being able to skim over things of little importance to focu
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by metlin ( 258108 )

        I'd say a mixture of both is probably better. Being able to skim over things of little importance to focus on those things of higher importance...

        It's the little things that make up the big things.

        I am in R&D and all the *good* people I know are those that are extremely focussed on what they do and can tackle a problem until they can find a solution. I would not trust an engineer who suffered from excessive ADD mostly because I would not be sure that all the components of his system received his full a

        • [i]I am yet to see a convincing argument on why ADD isn't a problem[/i]

          That is probably because you have no idea what ADD is. ADD includes a trait called "Hyperfocus"... Like the developer who finishes coding a system in 30 hours straight because he is "in the zone" this is hyperfocus. Many people with ADD pay much more attention to detail than those without because they are less likely to be blinded by the "forest" because they stop to look at the trees.
  • TV makes you dumb (Score:2, Informative)

    by DogDude ( 805747 )
    TV makes people dumb in lots of different ways. This really isn't surprising. What is really interesting how relatively recently TV used to be a ubiquitous thing that a large majority of people consumed, and today there are large percentages of intelligent people simply dumping TV altogether. In another 10 years, TV (broadcast, cable, etc.) viewers will probably be even more disproportionately uneducated compared to the rest of the population.
  • jump cuts (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jollyreaper ( 513215 ) on Wednesday September 05, 2007 @02:58PM (#20483435)
    I don't have scientific proof or anything but I'm convinced that editing styles are proof of shrinking attention spans. You watch older shows and movies, you get lingering scenes, sometimes sticking with a camera for a minute or three before going to the next one. Now you can't even watch a live performance of anything without the camera operators trying to give you motion sickness. Ok, camera tracking overhead, cut to floor camera zooming in, cut to camera far in back to show the audience but make sure it's panning like they're trying to track a blue angels fly-by, puke! Slow the hell down, let me take it in.

    Now some people might say that digital nonlinear editing makes it easier for people to go crazy with the cuts, the same way novice web designers go crazy with animated gifs and horrible fonts. (thank god blink is redacted.) But I'm thinking it's more about keeping short attention spans engaged.
  • Mmmmmmmmm.... TV (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Nonillion ( 266505 ) on Wednesday September 05, 2007 @03:14PM (#20483691)
    You know, they don't call it the lobotomy box for nothing.

  • If 30 minute episodes of TV are bad, just think what 30 second YouTube clips are doing to our attention spans.

    It's gonna get to the point that we won't be able to go more than ten seconds without being distracted by something shiny.

  • If they thought TV was bad. Wait until their studies get to a generation brought up on Wikipedia and the rest of the internet. I don't know how people with severe attention deficit disorder cope with an internet connection.
  • Oh look, a butterfly!
  • by Organic Brain Damage ( 863655 ) on Thursday September 06, 2007 @10:35AM (#20494297)
    From Neil Postman's Amusing Ourselves To Death:

    Television has become, so to speak, the background radiation of the social and intellectual universe, the all-but-imperceptible residue of the electronic big bang of a century past, so familiar and so thoroughly integrated with American culture that we no longer hear its faint hissing in the background or see the flickering grey light. This, in turn, means that its epistemology goes largely unnoticed. And the peek-a-boo world it has constructed around us no longer seems even strange.

    There is no more disturbing consequence of the electronic and graphic revolution than this: that the world as given to us through television seems natural, not bizarre. For the loss of the sense of the strange is a sign of adjustment, and the extent to which we have adjusted is a measure of the extent to which we have changed. Our culture's adjustment to the epistemology of television is by now almost complete; we have so thoroughly accepted its definitions of truth, knowledge and reality that irrelevance seems to us to be filled with import, and incoherence seems eminently sane.

    It is my object in the rest of this book to make the epistemology of television visible again. I will try to demonstrate by concrete example ... that television's conversations promote incoherence and triviality ... and that television speaks in only one persistent voice -- the voice of entertainment. Beyond that, I will try to demonstrate that to enter the great television conversation, one American cultural institution after another is learning to speak its terms. Television, in other words, is transforming our culture into one vast arena for show business. It is entirely possible, of course, that in the end we shall find that delightful, and decide we like it just fine. This is exactly what Aldous Huxley feared was coming, fifty years ago.

    Main points:

    1. Watching a lot of TV changes the way your brain works.
    2. Those changes leave TV watchers with significantly less ability to think through complex problems.
    3. As a direct result, we elect morons like George W. Bush who lead us into disasterously stupid wars.

"Call immediately. Time is running out. We both need to do something monstrous before we die." -- Message from Ralph Steadman to Hunter Thompson