Today television has become a very important portion of our daily lives, but especially so in the lives of our children. As we are aware, these days the greater majority of families, in many parts of the world, have (or have access to) this marvelous screen.
Television is a very powerful and effective contemporary phenomena which can influence the shaping of the future for many generations of children in many parts of the world.
Children imitate the action, the spoken word and the personality they may happen to be viewing, therefore , its influence cannot be underestimated, regardless of the circumstances which the child may happen to be in. This influence can be classified as either ‘good’ or ‘bad’ for the future development of these children.
Parents and guardians have a major role to play in deciding what channel or program their child can watch, for how long and what part of the day. All these elements are important in deciding the shape of a child’s future within any environment.
Positive and Negative Aspects
Recently, the majority of countries had only one or two tv channels, not just that, but the viewing time was limited as well as the transmission by itself was restricted to a number of hours per day/night.
Today, there are a large number of television stations, and some of these channels specialise in kids programs only. Many of these children’s TV channels broadcast from early hrs of the morning to late night time (or even on 24 basis), to the extent that large number of children find it difficult to break the habit of not missing a number of favourite programs.
Among the negative effects television has on children is the effect of violence. The hero in a film or television soap safari may use violence for one reason yet another, which certainly can be justified within the eyes of the child. That violent action will be considered as normal way of solving a problem(s), and the character, i. e. the hero, turns into the model for any real life scenario, in which the child may find himself/herself down the road.
On the other hand, educational influences can be exceptional aid for learning and advancement, regardless of whether the children are at school or not. This learning process can also be one step forward later on in life when the subject of education is tackled more significantly. Not forgetting that the learning process, or even education in itself, can be much more appealing to the child when used through tv programs rather than via a text guide, even if the main purpose of this program is pure entertainment or the procedure of a scientific experiment in laboratory.
Another factor which can play an important part in the development of children who also watch television regularly is assessment. Children start to compare the behaviour of children and adults on television as well as the behaviour of those around them. These people see two models of behaviour, the particular behaviour of the characters or the presenter on a television program – usually watched regularly – and the conduct of the parents/guardians and/or relatives that live with the child. In many cases, but particularly so when the child watches TV programs more often, the TV presenter or any TELEVISION character shown regularly in many cases will work as a model for the child, as opposed to the parents/guardians. If this causes confusion in the mind of the child when comparing two different behaviours, then this dilemma can influence the mental/emotional advancement the child later on in life.
The role from the parents obviously is very important, if the child needs help to sort out any dilemma which may occur. In many cases the child will assimilate the differences in behaviour between the model he/she watched on TV, and the surrounding environments. Depending on each individual’s environment and the strength of the TV influence, a child can develop mentally quicker (or slower) than the average normal mental development.
Commercial advertising also is another factor which can have an effect on children’s understanding of their environment, as well as having an influence on their mental and emotional development in different ways.
In many cases, parents/guardians are not concerned about the effect of television adverts on their children, unless the children make demands to buy one or more products seen by them through advertising.
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Obviously the purpose of the advertiser is to create this kind of demand. If it does not, then the advert has failed in its’ original purpose. Commercial advertising on tv, as we know it, are images without or with sound, which reflect – at some time with great exaggeration – the particular beneficial side of a particular product or service. For a child watching an advertisement related to a product he/she is thinking about, then the image of that particular product could possibly be the starting point of a daydream of how amazing it will be to have such a ‘thing’. Occasionally, this daydreaming can lead to frustration and anger if the product is beyond the reach of the child, particularly so if other children known or noticed by the above child managed to get it. Consequently, the end result will be manifested in the child’s behaviour immediately, or it could be later on – for a shorter or longer period of time.
Having said that, and despite the real impact the television may have on children, the claims for the powers of TV should not be exaggerated to the extent of blaming everything the child may perform or not do simply on what they watched on TV. These kinds of exaggeration are simply a way of shelving the responsibility associated with parents/guardians, or family members, towards the child concerned.
Television can be a way to obtain education and entertainment for the majority of youngsters around the world. At the same time, television can stop kids from being mobile and conveying their own vibrant energy (including vocabulary aspects) as they play and make contact with their natural environment. Television also gives a misguided message about the world as a whole when interpreted in the mind from the child.
In general, the effect is very actual, and in certain circumstances, it can come with an unquestionable impact on the mental and/or emotional development of any child. These effects can express themselves, on short or long term basis, in a positive or negative way. Television, therefore , must be used by those who look after children mainly for the benefit of those children. This will be done in a balanced and a healthy environment, where supervision by the mother and father (or the guardians) is an important guiding factor for their mental and psychological growth and development.