According to an article posted on Kids Health from Nemours, How TV Affects Your Child, The first 2 years of life are considered to be a critical time for brain development. ” The article goes on to say, TV and other electronic media can get in the way of exploring, playing, and interacting with parents and others, which encourages learning and healthy physical and social development. ” (Kids Health-For Parents, 2011) These learning programs, as well as certain cartoons, have been produced to maintain some form of balance between the advantages and disadvantages of watching television.
These examples are learning new languages, listening skills, arithmetic reasoning, safety precautions, and sharing. Watching cultural programs, such as the History and Discovery channels, are also great resources to help instill better life qualities in children. These channels allow children to explore new worlds and cultures that they may have limited access to in their everyday lives. In addition, these educational programs also allow children to stay current with events that are taking place locally, as well as around the world.
Television also provides children, as well as adults, with real-time and up-to-date information on situations that may be about to occur or take place in the near future. Cartoons, along with animated programs have also proven to play a valuable role in a child’s progression. Most children look at cartoons as a form of entertainment without realizing that they are actually receiving educational benefits as well. For instance, my 6-year-old son loves to watch Diego; this particular show educates children about animals and their habitat.
Animated programs such as Diego, Dora, and a variety of others have been designed to teach children techniques that involve foreign languages (Spanish), safety tips and procedures, and the importance of sharing. Due to the valuable techniques that my son has been introduced to, he now attempts to apply these methods to his daily life activities. For example, when it comes time for him to secure himself in his car seat, he repeats the phrase he learned from watching Diego, Seat-belts on so we can be safe.
In situations where grade school children are privileged enough to receive foreign language lessons in the classroom, their previous exposure to these types of programs gives them a great insight. The exposure to these programs not only serves as a learning tool, but also allows for a slight advantage over their peers who have not seen these programs. Televisions used properly can be an exceptional form of education and entertainment. In addition to serving as a learning tool, certain television programs are seen as inspirational.
For some children, watching TV in moderation can help develop interest and even inspire further research on a topic. These interest can also allow the child to get a better understanding as to what it takes to obtain a specific career. For example, the television show ‘Animal Planet’ allows children to get a firsthand look at the job responsibilities of Veterinarians. This particular program highlights the importance of animal care and well-being, volunteering at animal shelters, and demonstrating animal first aid. Another benefit of television is the quality time it allows for families to spend together.
Setting aside specific hours for family viewing promotes interaction, conversation and togetherness between parents and children. Whether it becomes a bonding moment with young kids watching Sesame Street” or endless discussions about the plot intricacies of Lost” with your teens, television can be a catalyst for family interaction. In contrast, some of the disadvantages that watching television can bring is the exposure of violence, inappropriate sexuality and offensive language, which all have the ability to promote negative or aggressive behavior. In an article written by Dr.
Harold Gladwell in Healthy Living, it states that what mostly affects the child when viewing violent material is the context and messages of violent material, the system of punishment seen on television, the reinforcement of the filmed aggressor, the presence of an adult in the viewing context, and real life situations. (Healthy Living, 2007) Because children are imitators of others as they grow and learn, viewing violent shows while their brain is still developing tend to help towards aggressive behavior, and maybe even poor school performance, and bad grades.
For example, there was a shooting incident in Aurora, Colorado that left 12 people dead and 58 others wounded after a gunman opened fire in a movie theater. The gunman’s actions were attributed to the portrayal of the famous character, The Joker,” referring to the villain from the Academy Award winning movie The Dark Knight. ” Health care providers and teachers across the country have also reported that long period of television viewing has been associated with Faltering academic abilities, attention problems, and language difficulties with both reading comprehension and oral expression,” according to Dr.
Ellen Abell, a family and child development specialist with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System. Studies show that long periods of television may hamper development of the pre-frontal cortex – the area of the brain responsible for planning, organizing and sequencing behavior for self-control, moral judgment and attention,” says Abell. (Alabama Cooperative Extension System Newsline) In addition to these studies, children who spend an extended amount of time engaged with the television tend to damage social skills and physical appearance.
While being seated in front of a television for multiple hours, it eliminates physical activities (walking, running, and/or jumping), which in turn results in fewer calories being burned. This action has the potential to lead to overweight or obese children. In a parenting article on Prokerala Kids, it states that children who walk and engage in some form of physical exercises gain healthier bodies and children who sit in front of the television for long periods without activity may run the risk of becoming less immune and prone to diseases.
Just like all other body organs, the brain develops only when proper exercise is given to it; which allows for a mental disadvantage as well. An article posted by University of Michigan Health System, Television, and Children states, Children have a tendency to interpret what’s seen on television as the right way of doing things or an accurate portrayal of real life. ” Television characters often depict risky behaviors, such as smoking and drinking, discrimination, and sexual activities.
These behaviors are then absorbed in a child’s brain and later imitated; doing exactly what they have witnessed these characters performing. In some case, the actions that are being demonstrated could lead children to fighting, bullying, etc. ; which could possibly endanger others as well as themselves. While the fact remains that television has become a major part of children’s everyday lives, the positive and negative effects that stem from children watching television should be placed in the hands of the parents.
Parents have the ultimate responsibility to minimize the chances of their kids being subjected to the negative effect that comes along with television viewing. Some of these responsibilities should include supervising and selecting suitable television programs for their children to watch. Doing this would help limit some of the negative effects that haunt children on a daily basis (i. e. aggressive behavior, attention problems and obesity).
In conclusion, television is continuing to become a necessity in many homes around the country. The impact it has on children has its advantages and disadvantages. Too much television may or may not have a negative impact on children. It is up to the parents to ensure what is best for their child. Parents should remember that television could be helpful as well as harmful depending on what is viewed, and how the child interprets what is being displayed. References 1. Kids Health by Nemours (For Parents).