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Television found to be a painkiller for kids

Darren Murph
08.19.06
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If you've spent more than five minutes around a kid, you're probably well aware that ripping him / her from the couch while their favorite cartoon rolls in the background isn't much easier than trying to get any solid deets on Apple's probably (not) impending iPhone (or similarly named product). Researchers in Italy took this seemingly well-known fact and put it to the test by drawing blood via hypodermic needle (rough way to prove a hypothesis, eh?) from a random sample of 72 children, all between the ages of 7-12. Not-so-surprisingly, little ones who were watching television while being stuck reported 50 percent less pain than kids who were being coaxed by dear old mom; the TV-watching subjects also claimed just one third the pain of those poor folks who endured the process while left alone without loving nor entertainment. Carlo Bellieni -- the author of the study, father of three, and neonatologist / pediatrician at the University of Siena in Italy -- claimed that such a powerful distraction was indeed beneficial in keeping the agony level in these type scenarios at a minimum, but was rather alarmed that television was a more potent painkiller than "a mother's touch." While it may be surprising that television won over the distracted hearts of children more effectively than their own mums, Dr. Brenda McClain of Yale University asserts that any type of "passive distraction" (like video games?) is better suited at redirecting thoughts, especially when you consider the sympathy of a parent typically leads a child to believe something awful is about to happen. In all honestly, however, it seems that television has always been an escape route from reality -- and although we're far from being doctors (of medicine), we have reason to assume that if these kids were replaced by grownups, we'd see somewhat similar results. So, any volunteers?

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