Negative effects of television viewing on children
It is becoming very clear from research, that television provides a powerful example of how to behave. It is a role model for children, that has a very strong negative influence, if parents and carers allow indiscriminate use.
Television programs and advertisements are full of characters behaving in socially unacceptable ways.
The main aim of producers of television programs and advertisements, is to entertain and make money.
Television exposes children to violence in ways, that positively reinforce violent, aggressive behaviours. “Television can promote certain behaviours such as: aggression, stereotyping, racism and many more factors” Violence has mostly no consequences, and suggests that some of life’s more complex problems can be solved in thirty to sixty minutes, often using violent acts.
Stereotyping in television programs is still present, particularly to do with gender, race, culture and religion.
Programs glorify power and affluence, greed, selfishness and vanity.
Many children copy what they see on television, without fully understanding the consequences of their actions. Children are quite easily led to believe that if they are able to jump buildings, they too are “super heroes”.
By following some simple recommendations in a consistent manner, the community can effectively counteract much of the damaging effects. The two most important for parents, teachers and carers, are to follow the classifications provided, and to limit T.V. to 2 hours a day with progressively less for very young children. T.V. needs to be kept out of bedrooms, to allow for effective regulation, and to promote family togetherness. We need to watch with children a lot of the time, so we can point out what is real, and what is fantasy.
Children gradually learn to differentiate, by experiencing the real world away from the “box”, but it takes about nine years. Similarly young children can’t understand joking, satire and sarcasm for many years, and therefore can be confused and frightened by what they see.
It is vital that we impart values to our children, and that we point out violence and lack of morality, evident on the screen. We need to explain that dramatic and traumatic incidents rarely occur, in real life, to give our children some perspective. We need to point out that, in real life, people are hurt and killed by weapons.We need to seek out programs that are non-violent, promote positive development of language and social skills and learning. We need to consider the child’s developmental level, and be aware of the risks on children, of viewing violence.
Finally we must ensure that our children are getting plenty of exercise, play, exploration, creating, reading, problem solving, socializing, fresh air, sunshine, outings, hobbies, sport, music, sleep and rest as an alternative to the “box”.