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The Pain-Killing Power TV Has on Your Children

The word addiction is a strong adjective to describe most any activity that can harm your child's health, but it certainly fits whenever you talk about the seemingly hypnotic allure of the television. Nothing could underscore that addiction more than this pain-killing study comparing TV to a mother's attention.

In studying how kids handle pain, researchers compared the responses of 69 children (ages 7-12) receiving a blood test either while being actively distracted by their mothers, watching a cartoon on TV or not being distracted at all.

Based on comparisons of pain scores collected from moms and their children, TV was the most effective painkiller of them all. In comparison to the TV viewers, the kids in the control (non-distracted) group recorded pain levels about three times higher while those in the company of their mothers reported levels twice as high.

It's no surprise the plague of obesity affecting our children comes at a time when the typical American home has more TVs than people. And no one has more influence on a child's health -- both good and bad -- than his or her parents.

Archives of Disease in Childhood, Vol. 91, No. 12, December 2006: 1015-1017

Medscape December 4, 2006 Registration Required