Children and the Small Screen in Albania

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CHILDREN AND THE SMALL SCREEN
The role of television in child development and education, middle childhood. Margarita Hido
Stela Dhima
Harallamb Margariti

INTRODUCTION

Television still seems to be the most widespread means of public communication having a considerable effect on children and adults, as well. Television and the media in general: radio, magazines, computer and internet are factors of powerful influence on the esthetic education of children, their imagination development, different modes of behavior, ways of dressing or speaking, etc. This big influence which not always is positive is the focus of our study, which is based on the used literature, observations and especially by the quantitative data processing concerning 100 interviews made to 10 year old children and 70 other interviews made to parents of 10 year old children in two different Albanian cities; Gjirokastra and Tirana. In order to give an answer to various questions arising here, we have structured this paper in two main sections:

1. Television and children
2. Parents, television and children

TELEVISION AND CHILDREN

The society we are living in today is being led and controlled by the media and media culture. The everyday activity is being controlled by media, especially the television. TV watching remains the main way of entertainment for the majority of people and especially children. As far as the television is concerned, as a concept the opinion is divided. Some consider it as a facilitator or an appeaser of the harsh realities of life, while some others see it as obstructive for the culture and mankind, having a harmful effect on the youth education, particularly on children. Actually we should accept that TV plays a positive role and is necessary for the child development, his mental, intellectual and esthetic abilities development if used appropriately. These priorities should be taken in consideration by parents and all other influencing factors and they should utilize them to the advantage of universal child development. Unfortunately, parents and educators often do not teach their children how and what to watch on TV, in such a case it turns out to have negative effects and cause many problems, among which we would point out:

• The more TV a toddler watches, the higher the likelihood they will do badly at school and have poor health at the age of 10.[1]

Pedagogues and psychologist have come up with the conclusion that children: 0-3 years old – should not watch TV at all
3-6 years old – should rarely or never watch TV
6-9 years old – should watch TV for ½ hours a day, but not regularly 9-12 years old – 1hour a day, but not regularly
12-15 years old – 1 and ½ hours a day, but not regularly
15-18 years old – 2 hours a day, but not regularly

Many studies carried out also conclude that children till the time they become teenagers, watch TV approximately 15000 hours and spend more time on TV rather than other activities (excluding sleeping) The findings of the interviews are very worrying in relation to the time spent on TV watching. Thus: 76% children watch TV 0-2 hours a day and 24% children 2-4 hours a day. [pic][pic]

Whereas during school holidays : 33% children watch TV 0-2 hours a day, 53% children 2-4 hours a day and 14% children spend 4-6 hours a day to watch TV. These demonstrate many hours in front of TV, which means less time on playground, sports or reading. This is coupled with the ensuing troubles like the tendency to lose concentration, obesity, aggressiveness, etc. Through the comparison, we notice that children in Tirana spent a little less time in front of TV. This is defined by the big possibilities to arrange the free time. It is an impressive and interesting fact that out of 24 children that watch TV for about 4 hours a day, 20 are girls. This is due to the close relationship they have with their mothers and the limited activity they have outside the house.

• The nature of...
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