Television and Children – How TV Affects Your Child

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There is an ongoing debate about the effects of television on children. Some believe that TV has a lot to offer. It can educate, stimulate and entertain. If parents are discerning about what their child watches and how much they watch, there is nothing too harmful about TV. On the other hand, some experts say that any children under two should not watch any television. They feel that it hinders a child’s growth and development in many ways.

So before you sit your kids down in front of your huge plasma TV, have a think about what they are watching and how long they are watching.To get a look at both sides of the debate, lets break this discussion down in to the positive and negative effects of television on young viewers.

Positive:

  • Children can learn about numbers, letters, colours and shapes by watching quality educational programmes.
  • Children can learn about social interaction and manners on good quality dramatic and educational programmes.
  • For many parents of young children, a day at home is many hours to fill. Sometimes a familiar or appropriate movie or programme can provide a relaxing moment both child and parent.
  • Children enjoy the familiarity of a movie or show they have watched many times as much as they love to read the same book again and again.
  • Many movies and shows have a moral tale, and this can sometimes provide a helpful way for parents to introduce moral themes and ideas into their children’s lives.
  • Quite often a movie or show can provide the inspiration for games and creative play away from the TV. A child might enjoy re-enacting a favourite scene or character from a movie and carry on with this scene in their playtime.
  • TV and media is a way of life in this day and age. Children can benefit from being conditioned and familiarised with media concepts. It will help them participate in social and cultural events and discussions in their developing social and educational lives.

Negative:

  • Children under two can be negatively affected by television. It can stunt their social and mental development.
  • Too many hours in front of a TV can prevent children from interacting with their family and siblings.
  • Too much TV can become a problem for some children who engage in less physical activity because they prefer to watch TV.
  • Too much exposure to TV and screen media can make a child’s mind lazy in terms of using their imagination and brainpower in other areas of their lives.
  • When children watch TV they are being exposed to advertising. A lot of advertising is aimed specifically at young children. Ads target young ones and condition them to become loyal brand consumers as adults. Exposure to some ads could encourage poor eating habits and food choices.
  • Injudicious TV watching can expose children to bad habits such as smoking and drinking. It can expose them to violence and create a mindset of fear and aggression.
  • Watching TV can also instil in your children social stereotypes of race, gender and class.

With so many reasons for and against TV watching, it seems that the decision is best left up to the parent. A parent knows their own child and how best to manage their TV watching habits. Undoubtedly a discerning and vigilant attitude is essential when exposing young children to TV, so think twice before you sit you child in front of your beloved flat screen, HD TV.

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