Television has a lot of influence on viewers’ lives. It influences the decisions people make, as well as how they relate with one another (Lears, 1992). It affects both adults and children. Adults have a higher ability to separate facts from fiction hence are not influenced by television in the same degree as children. With changes in content as well as those brought about by technological advancements, the influence of television on viewers has been changing.which is not suitable for kids. Analysts say that 61% of all programs on television contain violence (Sigman, 2010). Parents have complained that their kids are getting too exposed to sex and violence from watching television. Most of the time, children watch television without television. Analysts have noted that children spend more time watching television than any other social activity. Studies have found out that on average kids spend about six hours watching television. This is longer than most parents spend with their kids.
Exposure to television has a lot of influence in children. Several studies have shown a connection between violence in television and violence in children (Lears, 1992). Studies show that television violence has a negative impact on children. TV violence leads to the development of aggressive in society (Kirkorian, Wartella & Anderson, 2008).
Such kids accept violence as an acceptable way of solving disputes. In several cases, kids were found to imitate the violence and sexual acts they see on television.
How television affects children depends on several factors. These are factors like how long they watch, their age, the personality of each child and whom they watch with. Whether parents talk to children about what they see on TV also determines to what extent the children will be affected by the programs they watch (Twig, 2012).
Kids who are constantly exposed to television violence are likely to treat their fellow kids with aggression and rudeness than their peers who do not watch such programs (Sigman, 2010). Studies have also found that teenagers who watch violent television programs are more likely to become aggressive towards their late teenage. In children aged below two years, TV is of no benefit and only serves to take up time that could have been used to learn other more important skills like learning how to talk, and creativity.
Television presents the world to be more violent than it really is. Kids who watch too many violent TV programs grow up thinking that the world is a very violent place, hence fear venturing out (Schmidt et al., 2008). The fear is more entrenched if the programs mimic real life events that the child can identify with, say involving police. Some critics argue that children who are drawn to violent media do so because they are already violent. However chances that a child who lives in a normal family and has never watched violent programs can be already violent is very low.
Studies have found that among children aged 4-5 years, those that spend much time watching television, on the other hand, spend lesser time playing outside or reading (Lears, 1992)Hence, it is advisable that children should not have television in their bedroom.
Most of the programs kids watch are not well designed to take into consideration the stage of li (Gupta et al., 1994). Television offers a chance for the caregiver to react appropriately to television content as a way of teaching the child. Unfortunately, most children do not watch television with their caregivers hence have to decide on their own what to make of TV content.
(Sigman, 2010). The issue of sex and the dangers involved is seldom addressed in a meaningful manner, in television programs that contain sexual content. This way children end up getting inaccurate information about sex. Kids who watch programs that contain sexual language and references if not well guided may end up using similar language
Watching television has a negative effect on how one feels.. One feels relaxed immediately they begin watching TV but feel completely drained of energy by the time they stop watching. This is as opposed to playing a game where one feels energized by the time they game is over. Most children end up watching TV for longer periods than they planned even though it is not beneficial to their bodies.
Advertising, which is part of television programs, also affects children. Studies have found that children have preferred brands courtesy of television advertising. Most of the advertising in television undermines healthy food choices (Schmidt et al., 2008). Unfortunately, most children do not understand this and end up demanding foods promoted on television as opposed to healthy ones. Children who watch television regularly develop an appetite for Junk they see promoted on TV.
It has been noted that although several factors contribute to a child’s dietary habits, television marketing messages contribute significantly (Gupta et al., 1994). Some of the marketing messages aired on television place the long term health of children at risk. For instance, high calorie fast foods promoted on television contribute to early onset of diet related diseases in children. To reduce the probability of developing diet related complications, children need to reduce their intake of high calorie foods and sweetened drinks. Unfortunately these are the same foods that advertisements and marketing messages encourage the children to consume (Kirkorian, Wartella & Anderson, 2008). Researchers poare more likely to develop obesity compared to those that spend most of their time outdoors.
In households where televisions are left on for long periods of time, children find it hard to concentrate on reading. Hence, they watch more TV than read. This leads to poor performance in school (Anderson, 2008). Children find it hard to concentrate on reading while television is on in the background. Worse still, is that the quality of interaction between parents and children reduces when the television is turned on. This lowers the bond between parents and children, which affects the child’s growth and development.
Children who spend long periods of time watching TV, are more likely to develop sleeping problems compared to those that donot.. Most of them have been found to have irregular sleeping schedules; thanks to spending too much time on television (Twig, 2012). Loss of sleep translates to fatigue in the children. Fatigue causes the children and increased demand for snacking among kids. Spending too much time on television has been linked to emotional problems in kids. Such kids have lower attention spans compared to kids who spend less time on television. These emotional problems make children turn into bullies when they get older.
Children have the urge to imitate their favorite television characters. This places them at the risk of learning bad habits especially in cases where their favorite character, smokes, uses violent solutions, gets involved in risky sexual relations, or is mean (Anderson, 2008). Very few programs teach children the kind of things that children would wish be taught to their children. Most television programs propagate stereotypes and mean behavior. Children may not be able to realize that what they see on TV are stereotypes and not reality hence grow up believing what they see to be true.
(Gupta et al., 1994). By setting rules on programs that children can watch and those that they cannot, parents can help reduce the negative effects of television on kids. Being present when kids are watching television and answering questions that they might have also helps in reducing the negative effect of TV on children.
Aric Sigman (2010).The Impact of Screen Media on Children: A Eurovision For
Parliament. Retrieved from http://www.ecswe.org/downloads/publications/QOC-V3/Chapter-4.pdf
Daniel R. Anderson (2008). The Effects of Background Television on the Toy Play Behavior of
Very Young Children. Retrieved from https://mywebspace.wisc.edu/kirkorian/web/Files/Schmidt%20et%20al%202008%20ChildDev.pdf
Elaine Twig (2012). The Effect of Television Viewing on Aggression in Children.
Gupta, R.K., Saini D.P., Acharya U., & Miglani N. (1994). Impact of television on children. Retrieved
Heather L. Kirkorian, Ellen A. Wartella, and Daniel R. Anderson (2008). Media and Young
Children’s Learning. Retrieved from http://www.princeton.edu/futureofchildren/publications/docs/18_01_03.pdf
Margaret OIConnor Lears (1992). The effect of television viewing on children’s conceptions
about nutrition and health. Retrieved from http://www.udel.edu/communication/web/thesisfiles/learsthesis.pdf
Marie Evans Schmidt, Tiffany A. Pempek, Heather L. Kirkorian, Anne Frankenfield Lund, &
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