European Journal of Pediatrics

, Volume 169, Issue 9, pp 1075–1078

Distracting effect of TV watching on children's reactivity

  • Carlo V. Bellieni
  • Giulio Fontani
  • Franco Corradeschi
  • Lorenzo Iantorno
  • Marianna Maffei
  • Silvia Migliorini
  • Serafina Perrone
  • Giuseppe Buonocore
Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s00431-010-1180-0

Cite this article as:
Bellieni, C.V., Fontani, G., Corradeschi, F. et al. Eur J Pediatr (2010) 169: 1075. doi:10.1007/s00431-010-1180-0

Abstract

The experiment, aimed to evaluate the distracting effect of television, was carried out on 122 children, divided into three groups. All groups performed the auditory vigilance test (AVT) to assess reaction time (RT) to an auditory stimulus and the number of errors in responding to the stimulus. Children in group 1 performed the AVT while in front of a blank TV set and listening to the soundtrack of a movie (SO test), then watching a black and white cartoon (BW test). Children in group 2 performed the AVT while in front of a blank TV set and listening to the soundtrack of a movie (SO test), then watching a color cartoon (CC test). Group 3 performed SO, BW, and CC tests consecutively. RT and the number and type of errors were measured. In each group, 30 days separated one session from the following. A significant increase of median RTs (more than 10%) and errors (twice and more) was observed both in the case of BW and CC tests with respect to SO test. RT increased throughout all tests. During SO test, errors are mainly “false reactions”, but in BW and CC tests, errors are more numerous, and they are mainly “omissions”. TV movies have a significant distracting and attention-capturing effect, which increases throughout the vision of the show. No advantage in decreasing this effect is offered by removing color from the movie.

Keywords

Attention Reaction time TV movie Soundtrack Black and white Color 

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carlo V. Bellieni
    • 2
    • 3
  • Giulio Fontani
    • 1
  • Franco Corradeschi
    • 1
  • Lorenzo Iantorno
    • 2
  • Marianna Maffei
    • 2
  • Silvia Migliorini
    • 1
  • Serafina Perrone
    • 2
  • Giuseppe Buonocore
    • 2
  1. 1.Dipartimento di FisiologiaUniversità di SienaSienaItaly
  2. 2.Dipartimento di Pediatria, Ostetricia e Medicina della RiproduzioneUniversità di SienaSienaItaly
  3. 3.Neonatal Intensive Care UnitUniversity Hospital of SienaSienaItaly