Television Effect on Autism Development


While autism has received a lot of attention from scholars, its cure and causes are yet to be cleared diagnosed. This is due to many factors that contribute to the development of the condition. This paper looks at the arguments from scholars on whether or not autism is triggered by television. The researcher has found out that lot has been written about the autism condition, but the research has focused more into the symptoms. This provides other researchers with little on how to link the condition to other factors causing. The definition is also not clear as is it linked with other conditions. In order to make to progress in into the factors that cause and trigger autism. Researchers will have to separate the condition form other conditions in their definition. In doing so, we will find that the condition attracts more researchers, who are stuck in one way or the other due to its definition.


The paper will look at whether or not television has a negative effect on the development of autism on children. This will be achieved through providing a clear definition of what the condition is, supporting the argument through credited sources as well as highlighting weakness in the argument. The argument will help the researcher come up with a concrete conclusion about the study guided by the research questions of the study. This will be followed by making recommendations of further research that may guide other researchers in future.


Television watching before the age of three triggers the development of autism.

Controlled television watching can help reduce the development of autism among the children before the age of three.

Research Questions

The main research question is: Does television have a negative effect on the development of Autism?

The secondary questions will be:

  1. Does television watching before the age of three trigger the development of Autism in human beings?
  2. Can preventing television watching of children before the age three years decrease their chances of developing autism?
  3. Is television watching a contributing factor in the development of autism?

Literature Review

Television like any other media has become a significant environmental factor affecting our day to day lives. This has generated interest from scholars in the communication as well as in the medical field. With the effects of the media content under scrutiny from many scholars, we would expect to see the contribution aid in producing solutions to help reduce the many conditions brought about by its effects on children. Health concerns related to the effects of the television on its viewers has not been exploited hence the need to look at whether it affects children with autism. The study will look at whether exposing children to television triggers autism. The aim of this study is to look into whether television triggers the development of autism. The researcher will look into various arguments by different scholars on whether or not television triggers autism (Charman & Baird, 2002).

A study done by Ruangdaraganon, Chuthapisith, Mo-suwan, Kriweradechachai, Udomsubpayakul & Choprapawon (2009), indicates that there is no relationship between television viewing and the development of autism. The researchers found out that the factors responsible for the abnormal communication and social development were complicated and have so far not been identified. They argue that child co-viewing an educative program with the parent may experience improve in terms of growth and development. In their study, they indicated that children above the age of three should be taken and researched as a follow up to help shade some light into the field. This study delinks television viewing to the trigger and development of the autism condition.

According to Christakis, Zimmerman, DiGiuseppe & McCarty (2004), genetics of the child as well as the environment that it grows and develops in may be important factors to review as the may be responsible for the worsening and progression of conditions affecting them. They argue that the brains of the newborn mature very fast during its first year of its life and that during this time it’s vulnerable to adapt and be affected to environmental factors. Television content at this period may be stimulating due to the fast flashing images; this may be of interest to the child. This according to their researchers should not lead us to conclude that television is the main trigger. Such an assumption is derived from studies for children during the school –age years and not the ages below three years where the condition affect children. In their study they did not find a relationship between television viewing and clinically diagnosed autism.

According to Bryson, Zwaigenbaum, Brian, Roberts, Szatmari and Rombough (2007), there is limited knowledge about the very first signs and symptoms autism and when it actually starts to affect the child with the condition. Despite the development of screening instruments that would be used for detecting earlier autism in children. It has not been possible to detect the condition at the right time, this is due to the fact that they really on parents to detect the condition at a very late stage. They acknowledge that a clear understanding of the early signs of the condition would aid in developing more accurate detecting systems.

Television plays no role in the development of autism condition among the young children below the age of three years. Ferster & Demyer (1962), argue that the autism condition has no biological marker that allows practitioners to diagnose the condition in young children. The diagnosis of the autism condition is done on the basis of the general behavior of the child. The dependence on behavioral profile has become somewhat problematic because less is known about the symptoms of the young children with the condition in the first years of their life. They point out that medical practitioners should be careful when making a diagnosis in very young children. They should also carry out vigorous tests to as well as take into account the other disorders of early childhood.

According to Ferster & Demyer (1962), children are socially oriented by the time they are born. Their social understanding of the world is enriched within a very short time. They note that it may be useful to take a closer look at the difference in terms of development between the very young children. There will be a difference of growth and development between two young children. This is attributed by the fact that some children acquire social and communication skills faster than the others. This is due to the level of interaction with the people around them. They attributed the variability in early social to the child’s temperament.

Their research divorces the relationship between television and the development of autism bringing out the parenting as the main source of the condition. The parents are said to play an important role in the growth of the child and less social exchange between them and the child resulting to poor adaptability. This shows that television plays a very little role, if any, in triggering the development of autism. The wide range of social skills that develops among young children poses a challenge to anyone trying to identify the symptoms of the condition.

Television may not be the source of factors that trigger autism in children. Researchers argue that children with access to health facilities and other social amenities are less likely to suffer from the condition than children with less access to the facilities. This shows that television is not the trigger to the condition that causes autism. To quickly conclude that television is the main factor that triggers autism will be wrong. The health of the parent may be a factor as the health history of the child plays a vital role in the genetics of the child.

Recommendations for Further Research

The guardians of the children with the autism condition have realized that the condition is mysterious and its symptoms and the behavior of the affected change spontaneously. This only points out to the fact that the condition is not triggered by television watching at a young age. Many other factors are culprit and the main trigger cannot be tied to television. Bryson, et al., (2007) brings out the fact that parents have had to expose their children suffering from the condition to various “cures” that were not successful. This is because researchers may have tied the cause of the autism condition to television and a few other factors leading to disappointing diagnosis. The “cures” that the children were subjected to result in disappointing results due to the generalization that television triggers autism in children.

Researchers advice that the invention of a cure for the condition will occur not by focusing on the symptoms, but by focusing on the outcomes of children with autism. This will aid in coming up with solutions to the many people who were affected by the condition at a young age and struggles with it during adult hood.

The researchers recommend that there be uniformity in diagnosing the disease. This fact that the condition is diagnosed differently also limits the effectiveness of the vigorous research carried out about the condition. The researchers also recommend the formulation of a simpler conceptual framework that will help in understanding the important aspects that lead to the condition. This is because the variables involved in the study of autism are complex thus hindering the study of the autism condition. This will help future researchers to come up with more concrete results on whether autism is triggered by television watching.

Further research could be conducted into the impact of television on children and what others variables negatively influence the health of a child with the condition. Television may or may not be the only factor that triggers the condition, other issues that can hinder the development of the child needs to be researched further. The researchers would also recommend that the definition of the condition be revised and that it be divorced from the group of conditions to enable other researchers to have a clear objective of what to look out for in their study.


Autism is a condition that affects children all over the world at a very young age. They condition in most cases is detected early as the behavior of the child will communicate its condition. A lot of research has been done, but the breakthrough will be achieved if the condition is clearly defined and detached from other diseases. Even though schools have been introduced to deal with children with that condition, more still needs to be done in terms of educating the parents on how to handle children with the condition. This is because a lot of factors have come out as contributors to the condition and needs to be considered when dealing with the children. The researcher hopes that this study has shed some light for other researchers interested in this topic.

In order to alleviate autism, we must be able to clearly indentify its symptoms in any person regardless of his/her race. But according to various studies done about the condition, autism as a condition affects people differently. This is one of the obstacles that should be cleared if the condition is to be arrested at an early age. The condition affects children below the age of three years, these shows that detecting the condition early and treating it sooner may be the best way to alleviate it. The condition has its root causes on the genetics of the parents, but can be treated if identified sooner rather than later.


Bryson, S. E., Zwaigenbaum, L., Brian, J., Roberts, W., Szatmari, P., Rombough, V., et al. (2007). A Prospective Case Series of High-risk Infants who Developed Autism. JOURNAL OF AUTISM AND DEVELOPMENTAL DISORDERS , 37(1), 12-24, Web.

Charman, T., & Baird, G. (2002). Practitioner Review: Diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder in 2- and 3-year-old children. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry , 43: 289–305. Web.

Christakis, D. A., Zimmerman, F. J., DiGiuseppe, D. L., & McCarty, C. A. (2004). Early television exposure and subsequent attentional problems in children. Pediatrics , 113, 708-713. Web.

Ferster, C. B., & Demyer, M. K. (1962). A METHOD FOR THE EXPERIMENTAL ANALYSIS OF THE BEHAVIOR OF AUTISTIC CHILDREN. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry , 32: 89–98. Web.

Ruangdaraganon, N., Chuthapisith, J., Mo-suwan, L., Kriweradechachai, S., Udomsubpayakul, U., & Choprapawon, C. (2009). Television viewing in Thai infants and toddlers: impacts to language development and parental perceptions. BMC Pediatrics , 9: 34. Web.