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The Negative Effects of Television on Children

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In 21st century, mobile phones and televisions rank on the top most commonly owned product in almost all the countries. It is somehow the same case in Pakistan. All 90’s kids grew up to this magic box which showed us the entire outside world. Television have been a favorite activity for most of us. It has influenced us well before we entered schools. Parents let their children watch television so they can do other things. Children from age 4 to 6 mostly learn new words from watching television. We have been exposed to media since we opened our eyes and grew up to cartoons like Tom and Jerry, bob the builder, Dora the explorer etc. All TV programs, particularly the advertisements, news, documentaries and kid’s shows, influence individuals of any age in various ways. With age, children were exposed to Hollywood and Bollywood movies aired on the cable network.

Our children learn more from these tv shows and movies than at home or school. Technology can influence a healthy childhood as long as our children learn from this. Documentaries about animal planets can teach our children about the way animals live, and their extinction. It helps them develop their brain well before the age. Television has an impact on children’s behavior, their language development, attitudes and their knowledge. This research will demonstrate the association between television viewing and children’s aggressive behavior, decreased interest in reading and other activities and their language development. Parents usually complain that their children are glued to the television. They have skipped playground activities that were once a major part in children’s life. The fact that television is not going anywhere anytime soon, so not buying one is not a solution. Television is not always bad. Children exposed to the right shows give them knowledge about the world at the comfort of home. There are channels which are primarily dedicated for educational purposes. They air only informative content and cover subjects like history, geography, and science.

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For countries like Pakistan, children are exposed to English language where they learn new words. Allowing them to watch news channel will keep them updated about the world of politics and current affairs. Children are exposed to different entertainment channels as well as they learn about different cultures around the world. With the right programs on television, children experience way of life of different people, their attitudes and how they live. Most children like to watch television for more than 7 hours a day, whether they watch cartoons, animated movies, Hollywood or Bollywood movies. This has created a virtually closed circuit environment. Televisions influence does not end when a child’s favorite show is over, most likely the television is always on even when the child is busy doing other activities or spending time with siblings or parents. Watching cartoons or movies for instance, can have both positive and negative effects on the child’s development. Before we see how the television is affecting our children, we need to see what it is doing to our children.

  1. 1. Television is claiming much of the time which could be put in other activities. Children in the past used to read books, spend time with their cousins and siblings and play outside their homes.
  2. 2. Who needs to socialize when you have a television? TV eats away the time they get to interact with other children in their social circle, which may affect their knowledge and understanding of social interactions and behavior.
  3. 3. Excessive TV watching could affect the development of the child’s brain. The first three years are very important for children’s brain development. Researchers in japan found that watching TV too much can alter the brain structure.
  4. 4. Television is merely a medium for transmitting information. Surely it’s the information that counts, not the medium itself. Indeed, experiments have shown that kids who watch age-appropriate educational programs, like Blue’s Clues, show immediate improvements in their abilities to recall information and to solve the sorts of problems modeled in the shows (Crowley et al 1999; Geist et al 2000).
  5. 5. Watching violent programs can cause aggressiveness. Children who watch action scenes and violence usually imitate them in real life.
  6. 6. Regardless of the quality of the program presented, teachers and parents have much to do in helping individual children digest what they see and hear.

Neither the producer nor the parent can do the full job. Producers can do much to present better programs for children, but even with the best of programs, parents still need to help with program selection, balancing activities, and interpreting shows to individual children. The end purpose of television for children must be the development of the child, at his own rate of speed, into an adult. It should be the business of television for children to provide one of many bridges across which takes a child from his own fantasy world to the reality of adult life.

To do this, there should be a balance between watching television and spending time on other activities. A young child have a language of feelings but little language of words and of understandings. He slowly attains to learn language in school from his friends or teacher. TV, with its vivid, dramatic, emotion- producing techniques, can be an important influence in shaping the child’s attitudes and understandings of social ideas and concepts.

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