Friday, October 20, 2006

reason #45 why we don't have TV

"What have television, bad weather and autism got to do with one another? Quite a lot, according to new research led by Michael Waldman of the Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University. The incidence of autism has grown tenfold over the past 30 years, from one in 2500 children to one in 166 children in the United States -- with similar levels elsewhere. Apart from general agreement that both genetics and environment play a part in the condition, very little is known about what causes it.
One smoking gun is the growing amount of television and related media watched by very young children, due to the growth of cable TV, VCRs and DVDs in the last few decades. Waldman and colleagues figured the highest rates of TV watching would occur in places where there was more rain and/or snow, and these places would have higher rates of autism. Analysis of data for three states -- California, Oregon and Washington -- showed autism rates were positively linked to levels of precipitation. And data from California and Pennsylvania showed a link between autism and the percentage of households subscribed to cable to TV."
Tim (my wonderful dh) basically thew our TV away before we had children, 9 years ago. I did buy a small TV/VCR when he deployed 4 years ago (I had 2 young children and then a newborn by myself for 9 months) and when it died we replaced it with a slightly bigger one and a VCR/DVD player. But it is not hooked up to antennae, cable, or satellite so the children have never been exposed to commercial TV. In the summer we go up to Maine so they don't even have that, they read books and play outside.
They have never wanted colored sugar bombs for breakfast, the latest video game, fancy sneakers, or brand name clothes. Good thing- because we don't have any of those things. We shop at thrift stores, I cut their hair, they declare that "Mommy's biscuits are the best!", and I get their shoes at the exchange. I find classic movies at the same thrift store and we find educational videos at the library. I discovered The Famous Explorers series yesterday so we will follow up on our reading of Catholic explorers and patriots of America with a video of Marquette and Joliet this afternoon.

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