The Effects of Watching Television in Young Children
The current technological era has ensnared the young generation into a web of virtual reliance, making them dependent on various types of media outlets. The user – friendly components of media outlets have equipped the youngsters with the ability to customize any content into their own individual preferences. Young people are not limited to feeding but also they are able to design media materials which suit them. This situation is a far cry from what the older generation was inclined to while growing up, hence in most cases, this creates a generational conflict (Radesky, 2015).
The prevalence of technological and digital devices has created exposure among youngsters, with some being as young as 4 months. This is in comparison to children in the 1970s who became exposed to media such as the television from the age of 4 years. Research has shown that in 2015, the majority of babies from 1 – 2 years had already been exposed to and used mobile devices. Preschoolers were adept at using 2 or more digital media concurrently. Young adults do not shy away from being exposed to too many devices at once for a long period of time, an average of 8 – 10 hours. Research also indicates that 24% of teenagers confess to having an attachment to the Internet, 50% express feelings of addiction, which contributes to a high rate of mental disorders among teenagers (Radesky, 2015).
The intrusion of television in households has made it more of a necessity as opposed to a mere luxury tool. Babies have been exposed to the television in their early developmental stages, with the average four – month old baby spending 44 minutes watching television each day in Australia. Toddlers under two years spend an average of 1.2 hours on the television in the United States of America. Pre- teens in Britain have also been caught up in the web of watching TV and playing online games at an average of 5 hours daily (Barkham, 2009).
According to Chonchaiya and Pruksananonda (2008), watching television has its pros and cons but that the cons seem to outweigh the pros. In as much as watching television can inform and entertain the young ones, their social development suffers immensely as they lack time for outdoor play and social interaction with family and friends.
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In addition to that, there are no mechanisms to prevent the information obtained from watching TV from entering into the young minds. Thus they end up being easily influenced by advertisements which promote all sorts of products like alcohol, junk food which appeal to the youngsters.
Moreover, the characters portrayed in the television elude reality by far. Since the young ones are unable to distinguish what is acted on TV from the reality, their young minds develop a distorted perception about life and the society at large. They end up being exposed to negative social behaviors such as immorality and drug abuse from an early age (Mishra, 2015).
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…is because the caregiver wants to concentrate on whatever they are watching. This passive response in turn diminishes the quality interactions. Frequent reductions in quality interactions can impede the language development in toddlers (Schmidt et al, 2008).
Another downside of the television is that even kid friendly programs and videos can disrupt the play process in children. Children learn by playing, thus play is a very vital part of childhood. Play enables children to develop cognitive, social, behavioral and motor skills. It cannot be substituted with any play related programs on TV, no matter how child friendly the programs are designed to be. There is no comparison between a child playing physically and one viewing playful programs on TV. Denying children the gift of play is second to being inhumane. It will simply disable their cognitive abilities (Schmidt et al, 2008).
Studies which support the above go further to describe how background television actually interferes with the mental flow of a child during play. It has been observed in experiments done on 2.5 to 6.5-years-old children’s reactions to three experimenter-initiated interruptions to an ongoing fantasy play sequence. These children are unable, however, to fully return to the play episode state of mind which they had before being interrupted. Furthermore, the intensity of the play episode reduced immensely even if they were able to return to that state. This goes to show that play time is sacred. Television viewing in infants and toddlers should therefore be limited or completely done away with to allow nature….....
Barkham, P. (2009, October 13). Television – not in front of the children? Retrieved January 10, 2019, from https://www.theguardian.com/society/2009/oct/14/tv-children-harmful-effects
Chonchaiya, W., & Pruksananonda, C. (2008). Television viewing associates with delayed language development. Acta
Paediatrica, 97(7), 977-982.
Mishra, M. (2015). Ethical, Legal and Social aspects of Information and Communication Technology. arXiv preprint arXiv:1507.08447.
Radesky, J. S., MD. (2017). Kids and Digital Media. Retrieved January 10, 2019, from https://www.mottchildren.org/posts/your-child/kids-and-digital-media
Schmidt, M. E., Pempek, T. A., Kirkorian, H. L., Lund, A. F., & Anderson, D. R. (2008). The effects of background television on the toy play behavior of very young children. Child development, 79(4), 1137-1151.