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Australians spend, on average, one month a year simply watching television. So, it’s safe to say we’re a pretty TV-obsessed nation. It brings us joy, laughter, tears, and endless hours of amusement, but have you ever stopped to think about what TV does to you? Let’s find out.

1. Your childhood development will be affected

A study monitoring the TV habits of 1,000 29-month-old children found that those who spent more time glued to the screen as toddlers were more likely to be overweight, the target of bullies, bad at mathematics, inactive and inclined to misbehave in class. Another study by New Zealand researchers backs this up, finding TV-obsessed toddlers were more likely to drop out of school when they were older.

2. Your attention span will be shorter

People who watch lots of TV, particularly children, are so bombarded with bright colours, quick cuts and loud noises that we begin to get used to it, and anything less simply won’t hold our attention – just ask any school teacher. Researchers from Iowa State University observed that students glued to a screen longer than two hours a day were two times more likely to develop attention deficit problems.

3. Your sleep will be affected

Even when you’re in the comfort and quietness of your bed, TV invades your thoughts. Scientists have found that watching lots of television can affect people’s dreams, particularly those over 60, who grew up watching black and white sets. A quarter of participants over the age of 55 claimed to dream in black and white, compared to just four per cent of younger people, who grew up watching colour TV.

4. You feel less lonely

Starved for social interaction? Pick up that remote. Studies show that television can create a sense of belonging in people lacking family and friends. This is referred to as the “social surrogacy hypothesis,” which postulates that TV characters have the ability to fill a gap in the audience’s need for socialisation.

5. You’ll become more violent

Today’s TV series are so violent, we barely bat an eyelash at murders, stabbings or anything that goes on in Game of Thrones. However, a study which explored the TV habits of 700 kids over 17 years found that those who spend more time watching television were much more likely to commit violent acts – 28.8 per cent of kids who watched more than four hours of TV a day compared to just 5.7 per cent of the children who watched less than an hour each day.

Have you noticed any of these effects of television on you? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

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