Television and Children:
Today, TV is acquiring a strangehold on the lives of the children. The impact of television has been accentuated by the rapid nuclearisation of Indian middle class homes. Children who increasingly come home to empty homes in urban India watch a great deal of television much of it unsupervised. Television is threatening the minds of children and weakening the influence of parents on children. Television the entertainer, is more popular than television the informer and the educator.
Children develop basic television literacy by simply watching television; no one needs to be taught to “read” television’s symbolic code. This audion-visual medium predominates in children’s life very early. Television viewing is often part of their everyday social behavior. It is decreasing community participation. Children made use of whoever was nearby; as joint participants and as a source of information or as live audience to children’s comments. It seems that lack of provision of special activities which children do away from home is one significant factor in the amount of television they watch. Families with more money to spend on recreation and those who live in areas where a range of facilities are available and those who can provide alternatives to television watching are at an advantage.
Television is changing what children do with their free time and even the nature of interaction within the home and between the members of their family. Playtime is adjusted to watch television so is sleep and study. Television became the central factor around which children and parents schedule their work time. The maximum re-scheduling is in the case of play. Seventy seven percent of the children interviewed by Sevanti Ninan a media researcher, said they organized their play according to television programmes. Eating did not need much re-scheduling. They ate as they watched. Children are sufficiently addicted to take in their favorite programmes.
Children constitute the major section of the viewing audience. An interested and willing audience is more receptive to learning than a group of audience who have been forced into attendance.
Television for children has become a focal point of their lives. Television is considered a remedy for problematic children. Just as ads bestowed a new kind of power upon child consumers. Television seems to distrupt conventional power dynamics between child and adult. Popular media complained that the television image has usurped the authority previously held by parents and teachers. As numerous youngsters indicated that they often watched programmes which their parents disapproved them to watch. In India most of these fears are compounded by the fact that the children watch mostly film based programmes. If there is one unifying force in Indian, it is the mania for watching movies, irrespective of age, class, language, sex, or background for the vast majority of children, Hindi films and film songs are the first choice and with the kind of satellite boom that India is witnessing today, there is no lack of films on television. In the past, anxieties about parental control had to do with the fact that television was heavily promoted in families with children. During the 1950’s Western countries manufactured and retailers discovered children were a lucrative consumer market for the sale of household commodities. Even at this young age, children can exercise choice. As one of the newest household items television was quickly recognized for its potential appeal to young children. The number of television sets tend to be high in families with children more than childless couples did. Audience research showed that parents believed that television could keep their children of the streets and thus from trouble. IMPACT OF TELEVISION ADVERTISING ON CHILDREN
(Between the age groups of 7-14)
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