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Watching Television is Harmful for Children

  • Television affects the child’s fragile psyche and its bright future
  • No positive effect of watching TV on children
  • Watching TV slows down the development of spoken language
  • When the TV is on, the children do not communicate.
  • 1. Parents need a break
  • A droplet of TV after two years
  • Communication skills
  • Readiness for school
  • Why is it harmful to watch TV more than two hours a day
  • Sitting at the TV leads to obesity
  • Children refuse to read
  • A constantly working TV distracts children from games
  • The stability of attention suffers
  • The sleep suffers
  • Other potential problems
  • Preschoolers are especially susceptible to scenes of cruelty
  • Children do not distinguish reality from fiction
  • Children do not always understand the message of the television program
  • How to watch TV: together, under your explanations
  • Does the television character ask the audience questions
  • Ask yourself questions.
  • Draw parallels between what is happening on the screen and the life of the child.
  • After the transfer is over, discuss it

Television, Harmful for Children

Modern children are almost born with remote controls of the TV in their hands, and from infancy, they have been accustomed to techno-nannies. To understand how television affects the child’s fragile psyche and its bright future. But what’s wrong with watching TV? The majority will say: “Nothing!” That’s probably why 40% of babies watch TV at three months old, and by the age of two, 90% of children spend one or two hours a day watching TV programs and video games. In 1996, the American Academy of Pediatrics published a program statement on the viewing of children’s television, calling the media “no TV until two years.” But does the television harm little children? Harmful, and yet how! Nothing is known about the positive effects of viewing television programs on children. This also applies to educational programs designed for preschool children. The human brain is “programmed” to learn from living people, at least at an early age (Zimmerman 334–40). The presence or absence of direct communication directly determines whether the child will learn certain skills or not.

Watching television slows down the development of spoken language. Babies who watched the developing video program Baby Einstein had a smaller vocabulary than their peers who did not watch these programs. The results of the study were so contrary to the promises of the manufacturer – the company Disney that she offered to return the parent’s money (Strasburger 509–12). Two studies have shown that viewing Sesame Street negatively affects the expressive speech of children under two years of age (at an older age, this program, on the contrary, contributes to the development of the child in certain respects, for example, in terms of readiness for school). When the TV is on, the children do not communicate. Children do not see anything around; they do not hear what you say to them. They do not explore the world, do not play, do not move – and these are the most important activities for the development of the child.

Children do not communicate when the TV is on, and that is just the point! After all, TV programs are not created for the child – they are for the parents so that they can rest from the child. They force a one-year-old or a two-year-old to sit for half an hour in silence and motionless instead of, say, emptying the chest drawers while you are trying to clean up the house. If the program is called “educational”, you are not so tormented by guilt, that’s the whole difference (Ni Mhurchu 413–17).

Children over the age of two years can already learn something from interactive TV programs. Choose children’s programs that have the following characters:

  • Apply directly to the child;
  • Give him the opportunity to respond;
  • They say how different things are called.

Teaching programs such as “Blue’s Clues” and “Dora the Explorer”, which meet these requirements, can really expand the child’s vocabulary, develop his communication skills and prepare for school. The Common Sense Media website (commonsensemedia.org) publishes ratings and reviews to help parents.

What is special about this age of two years? As scientists have found out, between 18 and 30 months, children begin to perceive information in a new way and acquire the ability to concentrate on the content of the telecast. Again and again, when facing the television screen, children learn to extract information from TV programs (Ni Mhurchu 413–17).

In one study, children who watched interactive programs showed more vocabulary than their peers from the control group (the result of viewing non-interactive programs was the knowledge of fewer words). Question on filling: what, in your opinion, is better to watch a three-year-old child – a frank “adult” cartoon series “King of the Mountain” or “Miracle Beast”, children’s stories about a team of beast-rescuers produced by Nickelodeon? A recent study has shown that parents can reduce the aggressiveness of a preschool child if, instead of adult broadcasts with a demonstration of aggression, they allow him to look at children that promote socialization (showing how to participate, help others, or resolve differences without resorting to force). According to the results of the study among low- and middle-income families, children who watched educational television series (for example, “Sesame Street,” “Mr. Rogers” and 3-2-1 Contact) in three years they passed tests for academic achievement better than children from of the control group (Liang, Tina et al. 2457–63).

So, children can learn through television programs. Nevertheless, the American Academy of Pediatrics warns that a child of two years or older should not spend more than one, at most, two hours a day from a television or any other screen.

Sitting at the TV leads to obesity. Children who watch TV eat more and move less. This is such a passive pastime that the intensity of metabolism falls even more than when sitting or studying. More than two hours of TV programs or videos a day are dangerous to health. Children refuse to read. In families where the TV is almost always switched on (and this is 30% of families with young children), children spend three to four years reading 25%, and in five to six years – almost 40% less time than in homes where this is not accepted. A constantly working TV distracts children from games. When the TV works as a “background,” the children seem not to pay attention to it, only occasionally glancing at the screen. But at the age of one to three years, children growing up in such conditions spend less time playing games, concentrating less on the game, randomly grabbing for one toy, then for another, and even their game turns out to be primitive. The stability of attention suffers. As scientists have established, if children watch TV more than two hours a day, it is more difficult for them to concentrate (Liang, Tina et al. 2457–63). The sleep suffers. Children who spend more than two hours a day watching TV are more likely than their peers to have problems sleeping. Leaving a working television at night is a very bad habit. Almost 30% of toddlers of two or three years old have a TV in the nursery, and their parents say that TV helps children to sleep. However, research suggests the opposite: watching TV programs leads to the fact that the child later goes to bed, sleeps longer, and sleeps less. In the long term, a lack of sleep undermines the health of the child, not to mention the fact that the next day, the baby will be kooky and capricious.

Scientists claim that it is possible to mitigate the negative impact of television and make the most of its developing opportunities. Watch TV with children and discuss the program. Melissa Morgenlander, an educational consultant in the field of children’s media and information technology, gives appropriate recommendations on the site coviewingconnection.com. The first thing that needs to be done, she advises, is to choose a children’s program that you like and sit at the TV screen in an embrace with the baby. Then proceed as follows.

Does the television character ask the audience questions? Answer them! No matter how stupid you feel at the same time, it is very important that you “talk” with the beleaguer when they “turn to you”.”Support the game! Read aloud when you are offered to count, repeat after the character’s magic words, and sing along if you know the song. Ask yourself questions. This is perhaps the best way to involve the child in interactive interaction (Crespo, Carlos et al. 360). This is how it is preferred to fill the lull in the development of the action and sometimes even press the “pause” button. Ask the child questions that require a detailed answer, for example: “Why do you think he was happy?” Or “How did you guess what would happen next?” Draw parallels between what is happening on the screen and the life of the child. Remind the baby how you went to watch the fish. Surely, the child also had to be upset because of the ruined fortress. After the transfer is over, discuss it. After the final credits, remember together with the child what happened on the screen. Ask: “What was this series about?” Find out which characters and plot twists the kid liked best, and name your own favorites. Educational TV can really teach a lot if it is promoted by an adult from the real world!

Works Cited

Crespo, Carlos J., et al. “Television Watching, Energy Intake, and Obesity in US Children.” Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, vol. 155, no. 3, 2001, p. 360, doi:10.1001/archpedi.155.3.360.

Liang, Tina, et al. “Nutrition and Body Weights of Canadian Children Watching Television and Eating While Watching Television.” Public Health Nutrition, vol. 12, no. 12, 2009, pp. 2457–63, doi:10.1017/S1368980009005564.

Ni Mhurchu, Cliona, et al. “Effect of Electronic Time Monitors on Children’s Television Watching: Pilot Trial of a Home-Based Intervention.” Preventive Medicine, vol. 49, no. 5, 2009, pp. 413–17, doi:10.1016/j.ypmed.2009.09.003.

Strasburger, Victor C. “Children, Adolescents, and the Media.” Clinical Pediatrics, vol. 55, no. 6, 2015, pp. 509–12, doi:10.1177/0009922815616070.

Zimmerman, Frederick J., and Janice F. Bell. “Associations of Television Content Type and Obesity in Children.” American Journal of Public Health, vol. 100, no. 2, 2010, pp. 334–40, doi:10.2105/AJPH.2008.155119.

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