Educators hoped that TV would serve as a window of knowledge for children. They hoped that it would broaden their knowledge by exposing them to various learning experiences, and help them learn about different cultures. Educators’ thought that TV would play a vital role in preparing preschoolers physically and psychologically for school. In contrast, today the effect of television on children has become a growing concern to many educators’ due to its effect on children’s behavior, health, and cognitive development and learning.
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We do not deny the TV holds many benefits to children if used properly and under adequate supervision of adults. Yet, we cannot deny its negative effects of TV. In this article we will talk about the negative effect of TV, and how it affects children, while on the same time mentioning its positive effects. We will first discusses the amount of time children spend in front of their TV sets, We will then move talk about how TV affects children’s behavior, health, cognitive development, and learning. We will also try to highlight the reasons behind children spending extended hours in front of their TV sets. Finally, we will try to suggest some solutions to this issue and how can we mitigate the negative effect of TV on children.
The Amount Of Time Children Spend In Front Of Their TV Sets
Children in their early developmental stages are very fragile and vulnerable physically and emotionally .they fail to distinguish between what is right and what is wrong and could blindly accept what they see on TV as facts upon which they base their future judgments. Children often like to imitate other and of
Ten do so with what they view on TV without being able to identify the consequences of their actions. We need to realize the harm this device could do to children in order to be able to modify the way we view the role TV plays in children’s lives .we need to acknowledge the fact that children view TV more than any other media. We also need to realize that children use TV for fantasy, diversion and instruction. Children who are spending extensive hours in front of their TV sets are shield from the outside world. They fail to interact emotionally with other. A parent may walk in the door after being all day away at work and their daughter or son will not even left their eye to see them or run to them because they are so consumed by watching TV. The younger the children are the more effected they are because they fail to distinguish between fantasy and reality, and learn by observing and imitating.
Television has become a major part of our children’s lives .From the time they wake up until the time they fall asleep their tiny little eyes are glued to the television screen. In most of the households TV has taken up the role of a nanny in the house, not mentioning that it has also become a major source of knowledge for children. How many times have we asked kids where did you learn that from? And the answer was from the TV.Zimmerman and Christakis in their research Children’s Television Viewing and Cognitive Outcomes they mention that toddlers at the age of 3 watched TV at an average of 2.2 hours daily. While from ages 3 to 5 years the average increases to 3.3 hours daily. (Zimmerman & Christakis, 2005)
A shocking article titled TV Hurts Kids Of All Ages, Studies Say on CBS news revealed how early children begin watching TV on regular basses “The first study finds that 40 percent of infants are regular TV watchers by the time they are 3 months old. By the time they are 2 years old, 90 percent of children regularly watch TV. In most cases, it doesn’t seem to be a matter of parents using the TV as a surrogate babysitter, but rather parents truly believe that shows aimed at tots will somehow expand their minds, language skills and cognitive abilities, the study found.” (Johnson, 2007)
Children are often left in front of the TV for extended hours in front of the TV without supervision to view all types of programs regardless of the fact that those programmes do not suit their age groups. Many of these programs are full of violent and aggressive scenes that affect children negatively. It either reinforces aggressive and violent behavior in them, or plants fear into those little hearts. Children who are often subjected to violent behavior tend to form violent behavior .they tend to be hostile and aggressive towards their peers and fail to relate in a social mannar. “In Norway, a 5 – year – old girl was severely harassed by her friends following the viewing of a particular television series.” (Lemish, 2007)
TV violence could also aggravate fretfulness and dreadfulness in children who are exposed to it. “A survey of more than the n 2,000 elementary and middle school children revealed that heavy television viewing was associated with self-reported symptoms of anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress.” (Wilson, 2008)
First before further talking about how TV violence affects children’s behavior lets first define what violent behavior refers to. Violent behavior could be defined as any type of intentional behavior to harm others physically or emotionally which means it could be verbal or physical. (Lemish, 2007)
So, where does violent behavior come from? The ground approach in sociology quarrels that children acquire various behaviors by copying authority figures in their lives, through positive reinforcement. Children repeat behaviors that are positively reinforced, and refrain from behaviors that are negatively reinforced. Children may imitate violent behavior they witnessed ages ago, which means they carry in their long term memory.TV in turn, is a rich source of violent behavior. Violent behavior may be found in not only action movies, but also in children’s movies and cartoons.
Let’s take children’s movies like the HULK or cartoons like Ben Ten and even as basic cartoons like Tom and Jerry .just one look at the chineese animated cartoons like Conon will let you realize the amount of violence on TV.
Yet, we do not generalize this issue. There are many educational and other specialized programmes or cartoons for kids. For example: sesame street, teletubbies, or Dora. There is no doubt that educational TV programs have a positive effect .in a landitudal study by Wright et. al (2001) “educational viewing (particularly Sesame Street) was related to letter word and number skills, vocabulary, and school readiness for children.” (Muarry, 2007).
verbal violence is another form of violence in children is widely spreading and the main source for it is TV programs .in her book Children and Television (A Global Perspective) Lemish refers to studies on this issue “Studies that measured the frequency and types of various forms of violence on television in various countries have re- affirmed the international scope of this phenomenon” (Lemish, 2007)
TV violence could also aggravate fearfulness and dreadfulness in children who are exposed to it. Children my for various types of phobias and fears from things they view on TV especially at night this would be most evident in forms of nightmare or fear to sleep alone .This is mostly due to the wide imagination that children posses. “A survey of more than the n 2,000 elementary and middle school children revealed that heavy television viewing was associated with self-reported symptoms of anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress.” (Wilson, 2008)
Affects on Health
Another effect of television on children is health related. The fact that children sit idle in front of the TV for hour can lead to health issues like obesity. Some studies have pointed that watching TV by children may not cause obesity directly but it indirectly keep children from indulging in other outdoor activities that enhance their metabolism. (Dixon, 2007)
.the impact of advertisement on children and their diet is great. Food and beverages advertisements directed to children have constantly been criticized for influencing children’s nutritional choices. We will often find kids watching TV and gulping down packets of chips and popcorn that are full of saturated fats that contribute directly to obisety, malnutration, and mineral deficiency and sometimes anemia.
Grossbart eals onand Crosby (1984) found that children’s snack preferences were influenced by the types of food they saw advertised. Children who saw commercials for sugared snacks and cereals were significantly more likely to say they preferred highly sugared products than children who saw public service announcements for wholesome foods or children in a control group. Those who saw a pro-nutrition TV program chose sugared snacks than the control group.
Number of studies point out to the relation between obesity among children and extensive viewing of TV .studies referred to the impact of ads on children food preferences. It showed that 98% of the foods advertised are rich in sugar and salts and are viewed by children between ages 2 to 11. (González, 2010)
recently many studies link early TV viewing to development of ADD’ Attention Defect Disorder’ /ADHD ‘Attention Defect Hyperactive Disorder’ in children at later stages “The study revealed that each hour of television watched per day at ages 1-3 increases the risk of attention problems, such as ADHD, by almost 10 percent at age 7..” (Center, 2004).
The affect of advertisement also extends to children being exposed to Alcohol and smoking.They grow up viewing these practices as part of being social and often end up consuming alcohol or smoking by the time they reach adolescence. “, Mr. Balls said a study by Alcohol Concern revealed a spike in television drinks advertisements between 4pm and 6pm, when many children watch.” (Henry, 2007)
Learning and Cognitive Development
The most alarming effect amongst all is the effect of television on children’s learning and development. Unfortunately, the effect of TV does not stop at learning; it also effects children’s development making it a major concern for parents and educators.
There have been some indications that television further effects children’s language development preference .As children grow their TV habits Change. Children’s mental capabilities, life style, and individual impact TV use as well as the socio-cultural context. The amount of time spent on TV has always been a major concern. “Cross-sectional studies show that viewing generally increases during the preschool years and peaks in early adolescence” (Muarry, 2007)
How often do we find children preferring watching TV then reading? Reading to them is a strenuous monotonous task. TV is a two sided tool on one side it enhances creativity, and on the other it discourages it. There is relationship between performance in school and viewing TV. Research found that spending time watching TV affect the academic grades. Children who had television sets in their bedrooms scored significantly lower on school achievement tests than children without TVs in their bedrooms. Therefore, instead of doing homework or reading the child will replace by watching TV.
According to Dr. Senay a studies reveal that teenagers in the age of 14 who view TV for 3 hours a day form problems in their academic achievement ,and in turn are less likely to join collage later (Johnson, 2007)
Moreover, TV has an impact on children’s behavior and attitudes. It raises their awareness to the issue of stereotypes raised by the TV. It also directs them towards gender biases in the way women are portrayed. Also pushes them towards developing poor habits like smoking and alcohol .on TV smokers are often successful people, not mentioning that hoe alcohol is a major requirement for socialization and relaxation. (university of michigan health system, 2010)
Why Do Parents Allow Their Children To Use TV Abusively?
The question that may rise in the readers’ heads may be why do parents allow their children to do so? Besides what e the parents of infants thinking when they subject them to these entire negative affects!
The truth is that parents are not fully aware of the effect of television on their children. Some deliberately place their children in front of TV sets assuming they are stimulating their senses, or other parents who fall for the add gimmicks regarding the educational programs. Dr. Senay advises parents to discourage to exempt toddlers from viewing to. It is more benifitital for children to develop their sensory and motor skills through interaction with parents and their surrounding environments (Johnson, 2007)
.There are many measures that could be taken to reverse the affects of television on children however the most important and first step is spreading awareness. From all information we reviled we found that the main reason why parents allow their kids to view so much TV is due to lack of awareness. Awareness on this issue could be spread on the media itself like CBS did by interviewing Dr.Senay on TV. It could also done by children health care centers by spreading broachers on the topic or holding small workshops at the centers to inform parents on the effects of television on children.
There are much parents can do to mitigate the effect of TV on children. The first step parents can take is to control the amount of TV their children view. This could be done by replacing TV with other fun activities that allows kids to stimulate their senses and engage with the outdoor environment. Parents will find their kids growing attached to them and relating to them instead of sitting glued to the TV sets.
In Households where children’s rooms have TV set. A wise idea would be to get rid of them. These TV sets will only isolate the kids from the rest of the family .in other words they do more harm than good.
However the most important step parents can do is to monitor the children’s use of TV. There are many TV sets which allow parental control. They enable parents to restrict certain content and programmes while also restrict the time. Parents by no means should allow their children to view TV without supervision, or purchase movies or cartoons without them ensuring that it I fit for them to view.
There are many measures that could be taken b y governments such as controlling the advertisements that are aired during the time it is supposed that the most viewers are below 18.
They could also monitor the content of TV programs and movies for violet and inappropriate content. The governments need to at times take extreme measures with TV channels and broad casts companies that fail to keep their content free of violent unhealthy and harmful content.
In conclusion we have reviewed the many affects of TV on children. We talked about the long and extensive hours children spend in front of their TV sets. We then discussed how TV is responsible for violent and aggressive behavior in kids.whe also discussed how it also opens the door for verbal violence in children. It also is a reason for children forming fears and phobias. Furthermore, we moved to illustrate the effects of TV on children’s health. We revealed how many studied showed that TV was responsible for obesity in children because it keeps them from practicing and taking part in other activities, TV totally blocks those children from the outside world. Latter on we shed light on how TV effects children’s cognitive devlopment.TV affects children’s speech and discouraging them foe indulging in important activities like readin.TV simply makes reading look as a boring and monotones activity for children. We also mentioned how some studies link TV to ADD and ADHD. Furthermore we referred to studies that extensive viewing of TV lessens children’s eagerness to join collage as adults. Likewise we also showed how TV effected those children’s moral judgment they fail to distinguish right actions from wrong ones simply because media becomes the criteria by which they crate their moral compass. Then we move on the explaining the reasons behind parents allowing their children to use TV abusively. We showed how it all mostly is result of lack of awareness. Finally we suggested some solutions that will help do some damage control on the part of parents. We also mentioned how the government could play a vital role in controlling abusive content from appearing on TV sets. We truly help that we were able to shed light and divert attention to this issue. We’re talking about children here as adults we are obligated to make the right choices for them and keep them out of the way of harm.