Television Effects Essay Examples
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Television is bad for children
Television is one of the greatest inventions of the 21st centuries. It has literally revolutionized the way people spend their leisure time and how information gets to the people. Watching television has therefore, become an experience that has been shared by adults as well as children. It is often cheap, appealing and within the reach of many people in the general public. In this way, the television has overtaken the radio as the most important mass media around the world. However, this resource has also come with disadvantages (Hefzallah 81). Children are often the most vulnerable and this paper will discuss why it is harmful for children to watch too much television.
There were days when the television sets were brimming with the images of ‘Father Knows Best’ and ‘Ozzie and Harriet’ (Hefzallah 64). During these times parents barely gave a second thought when they saw their youngsters spend a few hours on the television. However, television has changed and it is not what it used to be. Currently, there are over 150 channels that are available in most American households and when looked at keenly, the programming these days might send shock waves to the parents that were raised on Mr Rogers and Captain Kangaroo.
Violence and sexual images describe what today's television, in fact, a Surgeons General report stated that at least 61% of TV programming contains violence (Hefzallah 12). This notion is held by the American Academy of Pediatrics that states that a child that watches three to four hours a day of television that is non educational sees around 8,000 small screen murders by the time he or she is eight years old.
These news are unsettling for parents, and the fact that children spend an average of six hours on the television makes it worse. The violence, drugs and sex have established wrong concepts among the audience which influences them to have negative behavior. Further, the impact of this tendency of children is worse because children often grow up with the idea of a world where, for example, women have to be blonde and slender to stand out, where society's problems can only be solved using money and violence and lastly where wars are inevitable.
In fact, according to a recent study that was carried out by the New York University school of Medicine, the researchers concluded that Preschool children who often watched violent television programs were 11 times more likely to engage in aggressive as well as antisocial behavior as compared to children that were not frequently exposed (Hefzallah 12). This therefore, goes a long way to show that indeed what the children watch on television affects them and their development. Further, a study at the National Institute on Media and family, that was published in the year 2003 found out that children who watch media violence are often more likely to treat their peers and friends with mean behavior and rudeness.
The sexual content on the television has been ever increasing. It has increased in music videos, dramatic programs as well as commercials (Gentile 54). However, it is imperative to note and understand that the television does not often depict the negative outcomes that come with sexual behavior. Some of these negative outcomes include unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases. The children therefore, often imitate what they have seen in the television in a bid to feel older.
Further, according to Joanne Cantor, PhD, a professor of communication arts at the University of Wisconsin, children in many cases do not learn a lot about sex with their parents (Gunter 19). Further, there does not exist proper sex education in the schools. For this reason, what the children learn about sex from the television often enters in a vacuum. The children learn that sex is a very causal thing and it has no negative consequences. In fact, the television shows that it is indeed ‘cool’ to have sex.
Watching too much television has no educational benefits to children under the age of three years. This is because it steals time from them that can actually be used to develop their brain. At this age, activities such as playing and interacting with other people is extremely important. A child therefore, learns a lot more when they are in a real interaction with real people and real things as compared to seeing people and things on a screen.
Further, watching too much television also takes away the time that one needs to develop important skills such as motor, creativity, language and social skills (Gunter 17). These skills are often developed in childhood and therefore, it is important for the child to have enough time to develop them. For example, the child’s language skills according to Comstock do not improve passively when listening to the television. It is often developed by interacting with different people, listening and talking as used in the context of real life.
Further, another reason why children should not watch too much television is the fact that it actually affects their mental development. This is according to several scientific journals that argue that indeed watching television for prolonged periods of time has a negative effect on the intellectual development of the children (Gentile 54). This is because most of his or her mental development does not occur as planned but instead leads to the deterioration of the mental capacity.
For example, according to Dr. Sally Ward children that are bombarded with background television noise in their homesteads often have trouble when it comes to the paying attention of voices when there is the existence of background noise (Datta 12). This therefore, shows that there are indeed some parts of the intellectual development process that are affected by watching too much television when it comes to children.
Another big problem that is associated with too much television for children is obesity. Children who watch too much television are six more times likely to be obese as compared to those that do not. This is mainly because the children that sit and watch the television for long periods of time do not put time in their workouts and exercise. For this reason, children that sit on the couch and watch television for long hours are referred to as ‘fat potato couch’.
This is because they cannot be able to exercise because are preconceived and preoccupied with television (Gochman, 43). The American Medical Association also argues that children that watch too much television are often influenced by commercials to health unhealthy foods and they often snack on junk food while they are watching television. Further, it is imperative to note that Obese children are often more likely to get diseases as compared to fit children.
They also become obese adults if they do not change their habits. In fact, Researches from the university of Sydney show that there is indeed a link that exists between the total television screen time and the retinal artery. Children that often have a lot of screen time are found to have narrow arteries in their eyes which indicates the probability of a heart risk (Datta 18).
The television also reduces the time that a child spends on academic work. Research by the American children association has shown that children that watch too much television often lag behind when it comes to academics (Gentile 54). This is mostly because most of their time is centered on television as compared to reading or doing activities that might help them when it comes to their academics.
Further, they also tend to be very lazy in class as they are accustomed to staying at home lazily and watching the television for hours and hours. However, it is imperative to note that there are educational programs that actually do exist in the television, however, they are rare and children are often exposed to violence, drug abuse and sexual behavior.
In conclusion, it can be argued that indeed too much television is bad for children. This is because it increases their chances of being obese, it influences their decisions negatively especially concerning sex and drug abuse. Further, watching too much television according to experts decreases the intellectual development of a child below the age of three years because the child often substitutes developmental activities such as reading for television. For this reason, it is indeed clear that too much television is bad for children and it should be regulated to ensure that it does not damage them.
Gentile, Douglas A. Media Violence and Children: A Complete Guide for Parents and Professionals. Westport, CT: Praeger, 2003. Print.
Hefzallah, Ibrahim M. Critical Viewing of Television: A Book for Parents and Teachers. Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 1987. Print.
Datta, Amal. Effects of Television and the Viewers. new Delhi: Mittal Publivations, 2007. Print.
Gunter, Barrie, and Jill L. McAleer. Children and Television. London: Routledge, 1997. Internet resource.
Comstock, George, and Erica Scharrer. Media and the American Child. Burlington: Elsevier, 2007. Internet resource.
Gochman, David S. Handbook of Health Behavior Research. New York: Plenum Press, 1997. Print.