Effects of Television on Children

Television, the scientific invention that revolutionized the world of communication, has now become a debatable issue for its alleged role in influencing child behavior and psychology. Nowadays, children discover the world of television at a very tender age. According to some studies, children under the age of 6 years watch television, video or DVD, daily for 2 hours on an average. In many instances, television can be effective, especially the educational and wildlife programs to broaden your child's knowledge and understanding about the world around him/her. It can also introduce them to different cultures and communities of the world. However, presently its negative effects seem to outweigh the positive ones.

Can Television Negatively Influence Children?

✔ The early stage of life, especially the first 2 - 3 years, are crucial for the mental development of your child. This is the age in which children learn through playing, observing, interacting, and exploring new things.

✔ Therefore, these few years are very significant for the mental and physical development. So, a habit of excessive television watching can hamper their normal physical and social activities, like playing with friends, reading, and spending quality time with family.

✔ Many television programs depict excessive violence, which can induce a lot of behavioral changes in young children. As children can easily relate to what is shown on television, they are more likely to imitate such behavior. So, such programs may induce aggressive behavior and thoughts in children.

✔ It can also cause nightmares and sleep disorders in young children by stimulating a sense of fear and anxiety. Besides this, it may create a confusion in the young minds regarding what is good or bad. This is because parents may teach their children that violence and aggression is bad, while on the other hand, the television programs may show the 'good guys' or the heroes as the perpetrators of violence.

✔ In addition to these, violence, smoking, and drinking scenes are widely depicted on television programs and commercials, without explaining the adverse consequences. The continuous and repeated exposure to such programs makes them feel that these activities are normal and quite acceptable. Therefore, children who watch these scenes regularly are more likely to imitate and develop such unhealthy habits at an early age.

✔ Obesity is a common problem in the developed world, and television is one of the important factors responsible for the growing trend of obesity among children. Excessive television watching reduces physical activities of the children, and at the same time, increases the popularity of junk foods, like snacks, soft drinks, and potato chips among them through commercials. So, together they are the major contributory factors for obesity among children.

✔ The attractive advertisements or commercials also immensely influence children. Children do not understand that the main motive behind these commercials is to sell products, irrespective of their importance and necessity.

✔ The appealing advertisements lure them to a range of products, both necessary and unnecessary. Besides these, television can also lead to poor academic performances by discouraging the habit of reading. Many believe that television watching can be an important cause of attention deficit disorder among children.

Therefore, moderation is quite important to ensure that the television is used as a source of healthy entertainment and for enhancing knowledge. So, it is better to set a time limit for watching television. Children should be encouraged to participate in activities, like playing games and reading books. Before allowing them to watch television programs, the parents should take into account the program's reviews and television ratings. They should be encouraged to watch programs that reinforce family values. As parents are the role models for their children, it is equally important for them to limit their own television watching to set an example for them.