Is television bad for children?Is television bad for children?

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coachingcorner's profile pic

coachingcorner | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

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Just wanted to say I just watched an hour documentary on buried treasure in England with my young son. He was transfixed to see the Sutton Hoo mask, the Roman Silver hoard and the bronze head of Caesar that was found in the Thames. The effect of the television program? he has asked to visit the British Museum! So we will be off on a mini holiday to London. So. as a previous poster said, it depends!

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booksnmore | College Teacher | (Level 3) Adjunct Educator

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The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests no television for children under the age of two. Many professionals are now saying that television can have a detrimental neurological impact on children. The book Smart Moves: Why Learning is all in Your Head by Carla Hannaford gets into some discussion about the detrimental effects of tv on young viewers. Well worth reading.

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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In the final analysis, most of what is out there for children can be challenging if there is not parental guidance to assist.  Certainly, there are many positive elements to television viewing for children.  However, if taken to an unhealthy degree, there is a greater chance for bad elements to result.  Children need to gain from the guidance of an authority figure who can help gear what is there to enhance a child's state of being in the world.  If properly guided and with parental assistance, television is not bad, as it can serve as representing strong and vibrant talking points between both parent and child.

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mrs-campbell | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Television, like all things, is not the real problem, it is how much of it you consume, and whether it consists of your entire viewpoint and world.  Take french fries for example; they are delicious and yummy, but, if it's all you eat, then you aren't going to thrive very well.  The same with a healthy food, like broccoli.  If all you eat is broccoli, you are not going to get everything you need.  So, if you watch excessive amounts of television, and it is your main source of guidance for learning and morals, then you aren't going to come away with a healthy, vibrant moral or intellectual perspective.  You need to have a well-rounded "diet" of reading, learning, thinking, playing, exercise, socializing, AND television.  As in all things, moderation is the key, and avoidance of the "french fries" of television programming would be beneficial.

Keep a couple key things in mind when discussing the impact of television.  The first is that there are studies that have been conducted that show young children mimicing almost exactly the behaviors that they view on television screens.  Look up the "Bobo the doll" experiments that have been conducted (I provided a link below); young children are especially susceptible to the influence of visual stimuli.  Often, they will mimic, or model, what they see.  So, that should play a role in picking their programs.  Also, other studies have shown that you burn less energy while watching t.v. than when you are sleeping--that seems to be a pretty negative statistic.  Television can almost put people's brain waves in a comatose state.  One last thing is that if you watch excessive amounts of television, it has been shown that your brain functioning actually diminishes.  That can't be good.

I also like to think of the often unintentional consequences of a lot of television too.  Do all of life's problems resolve themselves into warm, fuzzy, tidy packages in 30 minutes to an hour?  That is what happens on t.v.  The bad guys are caught, the family fights are resolved, and the morals are taught and learned, all within a short time.  That might set some people up with unrealistic expectations about how life works, and the ease with which problems can be resolved.  Also, everyone on t.v. is beautiful and thin; studies have shown that women have lower self-image after viewing thin images like the ones we see on t.v. and in magazines.  And one last thing to mention is that t.v. does not teach children to think through problems very well.  The answers are given to them, the opinions they need to have are shown, and the morals that should be integrated are in full force.  There has to be some impact from that.  Analytical and critical thinking skills can be impacted.

All of that being said, I agree with the other editors who feel that television isn't necessarily bad.  I personally love television, and find it a wonderful escape from life for a bit each day.  What really matters is how much you watch, and if it is being balanced by other very important factors, like parental involvement and love, reading and developing of critical thinking skills.  I hope that those thoughts helped; good luck!

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brettd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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The television is just an inanimate object, and the programming on it is vast, with of course some of it being negative and harmful to young children, and some of it being nurturing and educational.  I realize it may seem at times as though violent or sexual or simply shallow or depressing programming seems to dominate, but that's not true if a parent is truly looking for good shows to have their kids watch.

The combination of a parent who perhaps uses the TV as a substitute babysitter without carefully screening what is watched, and, just as importantly, how much is watched, can indeed be harmful to a child's intellect, imagination, and degree of physical activity. It can also expose them to images and topics they are not yet mature enough to handle.

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I agree with the previous answer.  But I also want to say that I think that the age of the child and the child's developmental level makes a great deal of difference too.

I think that a young child -- one who does not know how to read yet, for example -- can be much more negatively impacted than one who is older and is a good reader.  The young child can be hurt more by TV if its parent is sitting it in front of the TV instead of paying attention to it and reading to it.  I think that once kids are able to read well, they have more choices of what to do and more of an imagination so I think they are hurt less by watching TV.


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M.P. Ossa | College Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

I think television has it's postives and negatives for children. They are some excellent educational programmes for children, but  wether or not children are watching these programmes is depenedent on how parents regulate what they watch. I also think that parents should regulate the amount of time a child spends watching television.

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dominic11 | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

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television is really not bad for children because we choose wether were going to do what we see on the television the television dosnt tell us to do wat we see we just want to for instance kids over eleven want to watch rated r movies let them its theyre choice  wether they do it or not but if they do they just have to face the conseqeunce

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nusratfarah | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted on

To some extents, I'll say, yes, TV is harmful for children. When children get addicted to TV programmes, the source of knowledge and entertainment turns to a harmful technological medium.

Vulgar shows and violence in the movies or reality shows are harmful to them. Erotic TV programmes can affect their tender mind. Boys try to practice to do the same things which the showmen of the reality shows or action stars of action-based movies do. These affect them badly, in fact it can be dangerous to their lives.

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giorgiana1976 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Valedictorian

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Violent excesses of some media productions can negatively influence children at an age when they have not sufficient discernment.

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versatilekamini | College Teacher | (Level 1) Valedictorian

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Violence and sexual images are as much a part of today's television fare as peanut butter ads and infomercials. A Surgeon General's report last year concluded that 61% of all TV programming contains violence. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), a child who watches three to four hours a day of noneducational TV will see about 8,000 small-screen murders by the time he or she completes grade school.
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epollock | (Level 3) Valedictorian

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Television isn't necessarily bad, because of all of the educational programming that is now available. But constant sitting in front of it for extended periods of time, instead of receiving exercise, or playing with friends and family members can have detrimental long term effects.

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krishna-agrawala | College Teacher | (Level 3) Valedictorian

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Television is a very good source of entertainment and information for all including adults and children alike. The entertainment or information in it self is neither good or bad, and therefore, it it is not right to call TV itself good or bad. Depending on the kind of programs available on TV and the kind of programs that a child watches on TV, it can be useful or harmful for the child.

The media companies that operate the television channels are definitely responsible for the kind of contents, including the the core programs and advertisement, that are shown on TV. However, parents and guardians also have some responsibility to regulate the total time they spend watching the TV and the type of programs they see.

To some extent we can say that the basic quality of programs shown on TV is not very conducive to development of right kind of behavior and attitudes among children. TV companies, in their attempt to pursuit of economic goals,  do seem to follow practices that and policies that are not entirely in the interest of children. However, in this age of highly materialistic world, most of the companies impacting the lifestyles of children, seem to be following similar course. For example, companies that that manufacture and sell the junk food advertised on TV are in no way less guilty than the TV companies for the harm done to children by such food.

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memaw | Elementary School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

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I feel that television itself is not bad for children.  I do feel that there are many programs showing now that are very inappropriate for young children to see. Many parents use television as babysitting services and they are not truly aware of the scenes or the language that their children are being exposed to.  This is carried over to the playground at school and the child may get in trouble and not necessarily understand why it is wrong because it was okay for him to hear it at home and everyone laughed about it at home.  Many moral and ethical issues are covered with some of the shows that play today and if parents handle television responsibly, it would be okay.  But, again, too many children are watching television with no supervision.

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