ENG 122 English Composition II
Instructor: Hope Umansky
December 2, 2012
Media: A Negative Influence on Children
Popular media has begun a spiraling downfall. Television shows, movies, and music videos are becoming more provocative and inappropriate. Most importantly, they are inappropriate for children. Children mimic what they see or hear, whether it is from a family member, a television show, or a music video. They do not understand the meaning of certain actions. Children think what they see on television is okay to copy. When in reality, it is quite the opposite. Television teaches children to use inappropriate language, to act out using violence, and encourages self-image and healthy development issues, all at a very young age. Children are the backbone of society. Before realizing it, they will be the lawmakers, the law enforcers, or the ones behind bars. It is important that children learn at an early age what is appropriate and what is not. Unfortunately, they are not taught these values from the media. Instead, the media will distort their perception of reality. “TV is not reality, but a version of it; it shapes our beliefs, opinions, ideals, attitudes, and behavior; and it is commercially driven” (DeGaetano, 2002). Children believe what they see on TV, whether it is true or bogus. It is the responsibly of the parents to teach children the difference between reality and make-believe, and what is appropriate and inappropriate. The first role models a child has are his or her parents. Children watch and listen very closely to everything their parent does. Thus, it is important that a parent demonstrate proper media usage. Children should have a limited amount of TV exposure. One study found, among all 8- to 18- year olds, 48 % of the media time they engage in is via live TV, TV on other platforms and movies (Children, Adolescents, and the Media, 2010). One can infer if a child is exposed to TV, whether it be short or long amounts, they unknowingly run the risk of being exposed to behavior that is inappropriate. Children learn how to communicate from a very early age. The infant and toddler years consist of primarily crying and pointing. As children get older, they begin to practice repeating words and learning what those words mean. Increased exposure to television greatly affects a child’s vocabulary. They are exposed to new words that they may not hear from their family. Children do not know what these new words mean, and/ or how to use them. One form of language that is not appropriate for a child is profanity. One study suggest, that parents should be more “vigilant about profanity in the media” (Dotinga, 2011). The study mentioned above gives an excellent proposal to parents. However, many parents are guilty of using such language in front of their children. A combination of television exposure and parental exposure to profanity is detrimental to a child’s vocabulary and clearly inappropriate. An excellent way for a parent to ensure a child does not watch shows or movies with profanity is by only allowing only “G” or “PG” rated shows and movies to be watched. Still, movies that have appropriate ratings may still have mild profanity and or inappropriate language. In many instances, but not all, profanity is linked to violence. Violence in television is increasing. There are TV shows and movies that revolve around violence. According to Pediatrics, “Much of the violence on television and in movies is presented in a sanitized and glamorized fashion, and in children’s programming it often is presented as humorous” (Strasburger, 2010). Children do not need to see violent acts. Unfortunately, some children witness violent acts in real- time. However, measures need to be reserved to prevent children from watching those acts on television. Children are not able to distinguish what is real and what is not real. For example, if a child watches a...