3 articles Tag brain

How Television Influences Your Brain

In many households of today television is a welcome family member, even a dominant once. We build our evenings around our favourite television shows and all sit together and watch it. Some people even have it running on in the background in the living room for the entire day. We eat in front of it, we nap in front of it and we let our kids play in front of it. But who are we actually letting into our house each day?

It should be a known fact that the majority of television advertising time is held by a small number of the wealthiest corporations. Many billions per year are spent to ensure that certain business products and advertising messages get included into the broadcast. Producers and creatives of the entertainment industry always have to compromise and include some product into their content. Television has become a private medium designed to promote certain products and behavioural models and it does so successfully in the majority of our homes.https://images.pexels.com/photos/8158/night-television-tv-theme-machines.jpg?h=350&dpr=2&auto=compress&cs=tinysrgb

Beware of the Viewer Passivity

Television is extremely influential especially because it relaxes the consumer first. You are put into a repetitive and unfocused state where you are susceptible to different stimuli. Those messages are usually incorporated into just a fraction of second. They are just below the threshold your conscious mind can detect. They can be visual or auditive patterns designed to affect your subconscious mind. You are supposed to sit patiently in front of your TV and be exposed to hours of such broadcasting. It’s meant to accomplish a subtle change in your behaviour, likings and inclinations.

The especially worrying aspect which is often neglected is that of television on young developing minds. Children are a huge percentage of television consumers. It has shown visible effects on their behaviour in schools, interactions with parents and siblings. It had caused an increase in delinquent behaviour and violence. Young children need to be protected from accepting a directed and scripted product as reality. It is a role of a parent to talk to their kid and teach them to think for themselves. It’s not that simple to find more info about this complex topic, but it’s your duty as a parent. You can’t forbid your kid to watch television but you can educate it not to believe in it blindly.

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Television makes you experience numerous stimuli and you’ve presented with so many ideas and concepts, it becomes hard to discern what’s right. You always have to wonder who’s selling you what in that situation. Television is a medium designed to help build and maintain a consumeristic society and it’s hard not to be affected by it. Try to counter that by building genuine connections with real people around you. Try to talk to your spouse, to your children, cousins, neighbours. It will be much more fulfilling than just passively absorbing content. You have so many useful knowledge to gain and a great way to improve your connection.

The Pitfalls of Having an Intelligent Child

Sausage is a very intelligent kid. She’s one of, if not the, youngest in her class and she reads at the top level with kids who are a full year older. Her teacher is constantly regaling us with stories of “amazing” things she’s come out with in class, like the time they were discussing The North Pole and the things you’d find there. The other kids were saying things like snow, ice etc. Sausage sat thinking for a while then shoved her hand confidently up before offering “Arctic Orcas!”. As most of my readers probably know, we’re big on Natural History lessons in this house, so that was a fairly normal thing for her to come out with by our standards, but apparently she’s not an average 4-year-old!

Now, for the most part, having a bright kid is fantastic. She has a thirst for knowledge that Husband and I love to quench and we spend a lot of family time learning together. However, at times, it can be a challenge. Here are just a few of the ways in which she keeps me on my toes.

Smart-Assery

With Sausage’s level of intelligence comes a concurrent level of confidence that, at times, can be a little maddening. Often, she’ll ask me a question only to reply to my answer with “I KNOW!” and I’ve lost count of the amount of times in her life that I’ve said the phrase “Well if you already know, why did you ask me?!”

She’s also been known to reply to my accusations of smart-assery with “Er, no Mummy, I think you’re a smarty-pants!”, the response to which is usually my head spontaneously exploding. Don’t get me wrong, she’s never naughty or obnoxious, she’s just genuinely that confident of her own brain, which is good…I guess!

She’s also started questioning my reasoning on things. She’ll often counter my answers to requests with “Why?” and on more than one occasion I’ve done that thing that I said I’d never do…”BECAUSE I SAID SO!”. Sometimes, there just is no other answer.

Spelling Test

In the past, Husband and I could do that thing where if we didn’t want Sausage to know what we’re talking about, we could spell things out. We knew it wouldn’t last forever as she’d learn to spell eventually, but we didn’t expect her to become so exceptionally good at it at such a young age. As a result, we now speak Pig-Latin when we’re being deceptive, but I’ve seen her looking at us and working out what we’re saying when we do that too, so I guarantee it won’t be long before she’s EAKING-SPAY right back at us…

Stimulation

Most kids, aged four, are probably happy to do one thing at a time. Sausage, however, needs a certain level of mental stimulation to stop her from being bored, which means that, and I’m not exaggerating here, she’s often doing three things at once. At this very moment, she’s watching TV, writing in her pad and playing a game on her Nexus 7. All of that is fine, I’m happy for her to entertain herself in whatever way she wants, but sometimes it can be exhausting trying to keep up with her!

Play Time

She’s very much into that girly thing at the moment of role-playing. She’ll say “Mummy, do you want to play with me?” and then bestow me with an elaborate script of things I have to say in response to what she’s going to say. And if I don’t do it right the first time, often she’ll stop and we’ll have to start all over again, complete with grand entrances on Micro Scooters and all sorts. I love that she has such a vivid imagination but it’s not always that easy to stay on top of the web of character and plot development that she weaves and I fear I’m a massive disappointment to her.

Emotions and Comprehension

Sausage is a sensitive soul and up to a point, we were able to shield her from some of the harsher realities of life. The thing is, as she gets older, it’s harder to keep things from her. We don’t always know right away when something has seeped into her big brain but sometimes, she’ll seem overly sad or emotional and it will turn out that something has upset her like a news report or something she’s heard a snippet of and she’ll have spent however long trying to process it. Emotional development isn’t always in-line with intellectual development and it can be heartbreaking to see her brain grasping a concept which she’s too young to know how to react to.

So, do you have a intelligent kid who runs rings around you too? Or am I the only one who’s being totally bested by a four-year old?!

Space in My Brain

During a conversation the other day (though I can’t remember who with, which will seem more poignant as this post mithers on), I started to think about all of the superfluous information that’s stored in my brain. I remember facts and figures, phone numbers, post codes, dates, even the registration numbers of cars that myself and my family have owned. The majority of this data is totally surplus to requirement, so wouldn’t it be great if we could do what we do with our hard drives, have a spring clean, delete the data we no longer need and free up some space for other stuff.

In 2009, I started a Psychology degree and one thing that struck me was that I struggled to retain information a lot more than when I was at school. I know that this is the curse of the Adult Learner, in fact, according to John Massari from Duke University “… concepts of synaptic plasticity can be applied to improving the way we learn early in life. If certain kinds of activities are not learned during critical periods, it may difficult or even impossible to learn them later.”. In fact, he postulates that our brains change at around the age of 13. But it did all make me wonder if deleting my Nan’s postcode and the name of every teacher I’ve ever had would make space for data that’s more relevant to me now.

I’d love to be able to hook my brain up to a PC, trawl through my memory banks and delete all of the crap that I no longer need. A bit ‘Inception’-inspired, I suppose.

But then, this got me thinking too. What if I deleted the wrong data? I don’t mean like clicking format on the section that contains my name and address, I mean deleting the data that we, in our current lives, deem to be unnecessary, only to discover that a minute event or occurrence is an intrinsic part of what makes us who we are. I could get rid of the name of my pen pal who I met in Hastings in 1992, only to realise that meeting her set me on a particular path.

So, I guess my question is this; what would you do? If you had the option to look at every individual file in your brain and delete the ones you no longer want or think you need, would you do it?

Just a bit of food for your already over-stuffed brain on this rainy Saturday morning!