Medium And Children

Overview: Television can be percieved in several ways. Some feel that t.v. is harmful while others feel that it has a positive impact through its educational programs. Program! The minds of children today seems to be effected through the programs that's being broadcast. The majority of telvised programs today are filled with extreme violence, sexual content, and drug use. Kids seem to imatate what they see most often. Viewing this over and over will begin to program this in the mind of kids and the effect of this will cause children to reinact what they see in real life. On the other hand, programs for kids that teaches academics has a positive effect on the mind of kids. But with one style of broadcasting overshadowing the other, the question is, which program has a more profound effect on the mind of kids today?

In today's society children and adolescents watch more television than ever before. Television impacts a childs health in many ways. It has a negative effect in the since that watching tv for several hours, like the average child does, causes for them to become at risk for being obese or overweight, because they are glued to the couch instead of being outside playing. Obesity is a rising problem among people in the US today and most people who watch tv tend to eat junk foods, and poor nutrient foods, which make them at risk for becoming overweight. More people eat while watching tv than during any other activity such as playing video games, doing homework, or using the computer. Television viewing also promotes a healthy lifestyle with sport shows, sports movies, and ESPN which promote an active lifestyle by giving children the motovation they need to get out and be fit.

Positive influences can come from television. Shows like "Ozzie and Harriet"(which debuted on October 10, 1952) paved the way for wholesome family shows of today. Sitcoms like "The Cosby Show" (first airing on September 20, 1984) and "Family Matters" (circa 1989) are more recent programs which instill important values and morals in children. These types of television programs were able to teach children that they can be someone important when they grow up. They showed children that good grades and a good attitude towards life will be rewarded if they follow the right paths. These "all American Family" representations also offered children a view of the consequences of misbehaving and negative influences. Although television is not the appropriate babysitter for children, supervised viewing of shows like "Good Times" (1974) taught kids that life's hardships can be difficult but a strong family unit can survive those hardships and overcome any adversity. These are the things that today's television broadcasts lack. In the last decade, their has been a complete change in what is displayed on the "boob tube". With shows on TV like "Skins" (MTV,2011) and "Jersey Shore" (MTV, 2009) children view these programs as the "IT" shows to watch and want to be just like these characters. "Skins" is a representation of what teenagers should NEVER do (under-age drinking, drugs, illegal activities, sexually charged content), yet it is aired on a network which is geared towards our youth. "Jersey Shore" follows 7 young adults as they party and drink and fight their way to top ratings. These shows promote everything that television should keep away from children's viewing. They are very influential and very harmful to a kid's mind.

In todays society there is more violence, vulger language, and subliminal messages that effect how a child goes on with their life. Tv in the olden days had less of an influence on children just because there wasn't any color, or sometimes even sound, that kept a child interested in watching a tv for hours. In the 1940's when the television was invented, they didn't have the graphics and technology that they have today, so tv viewing wasn't as popular. Television in the 40's didn't even show bedrooms or bathrooms. Now days they show sex in bedrooms and people taking showers in bathrooms. When the invention of the tv came out, many people didn't even have the money to buy a tv. In todays society majority of people have at least 3 tv's in their home. Tv in the 1950's and 60's was just a little bit more popular and revealing but, not to revealing, and most tv shows that were out, promoted family, they had shows that had family time, shows that had families sit and watch tv together or eat dinner together. In today's society when you see a family on tv they are all scattered around the house, mom is cooking dinner and watching tv in the kitchen while the children are viewing tv in their rooms and dad is watching sports in the living room. Familys today barley eat dinner at the dinner table, kids eat in their rooms while mom eats while she cooks and dad eats in his office. In the 1970's and 80's television had color, sound and the technology for movie making was alot better than in the 40's. Tv shows began to show more graphics, they showed more violence, more sex, and more vulger language that was available to many American's, children included. Now days we have way more technology to keep children glued to their tv sets, we have HD, 3D movies, DVR and TiVo, which keeps a child interested in watching tv. Children in todays era are exposed to more violence, and negative factors that cause a child to act out what they see or to be less active and just sit at home and eat and view tv all day, which are all negative factors that the tv set has. Tv shows back in the day were more western and didnt show many graphics that could alter the way a child thought. Many kids weren't even able to watch certain things back in the day and now days you can barly monitor what your child is watching because children are becoming smarter and more intune to what goes on in their society, that they have the resources to get to what they want when they want it.

Analysis: Televised violence promotes fear and aggression; two years after television was introduced to a remote city in Canada, reports of physical aggression increased 160%. Todays programs for kids doesnt teach them what parents would hope they would. With about 14% of programs devoted to kids, kids lose interest and become consumed by programs that's for adults, with topics such as violence, drugs, and sex. Even with cartoons, the most pervasive element is violence.

Case in point - Copycat violence: Kids will often imatate or copy what's viewed on television. Apr. 25. 2001, two teens imatate a drag race with a third friend standing at the finish line in one of the cars path. The third teen was to wait until the last moment and dart out of the path of one of the cars as the car closed in on him. The kid was not successful in moving fast enough and was hit by the car. Later they were quoted as saying they were imitating a MTV movie, Jackass.
Another case in point, a six- year-old boy wearing a turtle costume stabbed a friend in the arm for not returning a toy, imitating Michelangelo, one of the Teen-age Mutant Ninja Turtles. A sad case in point, but all too real in todays time and with most of the influence coming from television.

Obesity is another negative factor that plays into too much tv watching. Time spent watchng tv is a sign of an overall inactive lifestyle. Chlidren's diet quality and overall energy intake are affected by incresed television viewing. Most people who eat while watching tv consume junk foods and poor nutrient foods, which can ultimately lead to obesiety. Studies have been done to show the relationship between increased television viewig and poor diet quality. Decreasing television viewing is a simple and effective treatment that can decrease obesity amoung young children.

But can television also have a positive effect on kids? There are some programs that's family oriented that has a positive effect on children. Seventh Heaven, a show that's humorous and depicts the family as having intelgent parents that instills morals and values in their kids. Another show is Touched by an Angel. This show has spiritual/religous teachings that also promotes the importance of respect, morals, and decency. Then of course there are the educational programs such as Sesame Street, Dora Dora, Diego and such. These programs start kids off on good acadimic skills and social interacting. Shows like ESPN or even sports movies like, Remember the Titans or Radio, inspire kids to want to become a football player and become active in their lifestyle. So from a broad point of view, television does have an effect on kids profoundly, it just depends on which programs one allows their kids to view most.

With the proper knowledge of what is suitable for each age group, a child can actually benefit from watching certain programming as long as parental supervision is involved. If you sit your 10 year old son in front of the television for numerous hours and let him/her run wild in tv land, they are going to come across programming that is not suitable for them such as the so-called "modified for television" movies which still contain loads of violence and offensive and obsene language that can corrupt a growing boy/girl's mind and influence them negatively in how they think and speak. It is important to be aware of what a child is watching on television because a child's mind is like a sponge and it absorbs everything that it sees.

Resources: Positive Discipline A-Z: 1001 Solutions To Everyday Parenting Problems, by, Jane Nelsen.

This book will give ways that parents can interact with their kids in geting involved in what their kids are watching and how the programs effect them. Solutions will be given that involves hands on techniuqes where questions are asked about what was just viewed and what they think about it, how they percieved it and the effect it had on them. Other ways would be to discuss with them if they think what they veiwed was accepting and would it be something they'd imitate if they thought it to be accepted. Overall, this book will get patents involved in what's being viewed by their kids and how it effects them and their behavior.

B.E. Shea, J.R. Harvey-Berino and R.K. Johnson. "Watching television: how does itvinfluence the dietary quality of children?" Nutrient Bulletin. 35.2010:165-171. Journal Compilation. Web 4 Feb, 2011.

This site will show statistical informaton in reguards to the effects of television on children. It talks about the association between television watching and obesity due to poor diet quality in children and adolescents. They discuss intervention studies that imposed decreased televison watching and how lowering the amount of time spent watching tv may decrease one's energy intake and improve overall diet quality.

American Academy of Child Adolescent Psychiatry-Copyright ©2010

This website is all about adolescent psychiatry and studies that have been done on children about the effects of television and media in general.

Works Cited:
Gale-Thomas, Television: Opposing Viewpoints. Ziglar,Zig, Raising Positive Kids In A Negative World, 2002, p. 256.

B.E. Shea, J.R. Harvey-Berino and R.K. Johnson. "Watching television: how does itvinfluence the dietary quality of children?" Nutrient Bulletin. 35.2010:165-171. Journal Compilation. Web 4 Feb, 2011.

Tower, R. B., Singer, D. G., Singer, J. L. and Biggs, A. (1979), DIFFERENTIAL EFFECTS OF TELEVISION PROGRAMMING ON PRESCHOOLERS‘ COGNITION, IMAGINATION, AND SOCIAL PLAY. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 49: 265–281. doi: 10.1111/j.1939-0025.1979.tb02608.x

Bryant, Jennings and Dolf Zillman. 2002. Media Effects: Advances in Theory and Research. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

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