Television is one of the most common electrical appliances in our homes and almost all individuals are exposed to it at some time or other. With regards to children, they are among the heaviest users of television. Television is most often exposed to a child who instantly becomes accustomed to its presence. Young children spend between three and four hours watching television each day. It has played an important role in their lives and its viewing has been a favorite activity for many of them. “TV viewing among kids is at an eight-year high. On average, children ages 2-5 spend 32 hours a week in front of a TV—watching television, DVDs, DVR and videos, and using a game console. Kids ages 6-11 spend about 28 hours a week in front of the TV. The vast majority of this viewing (97%) is of live TV” (McDonough, 2009). “Media technology now offers more ways to access TV content, such as on the Internet, cell phones and iPods. This has led to an increase in time spent viewing TV, even as TV-set viewing has declined. 41% of TV-viewing is now online, time-shifted, DVD or mobile” (Roberts, 2005). “In about two-thirds of households, the TV is "usually" on during meals” (Rideout, 2010). “In 53% of households of 7th- to 12th-graders, there are no rules about TV watching” (Roberts, 2005). “In 51% of households, the TV is on "most" of the time” (Roberts, 2005). Television has its good side. It can be entertaining and educational, and can open up new worlds for kids, giving them a chance to travel the globe, learn about different cultures, and gain exposure to ideas they may never encounter in their own community. Shows with a prosocial message can have a positive effect on kids' behavior; programs with positive role models can influence viewers to make positive lifestyle changes. However, the reverse can also be true: kids are likely to learn things from television that parents don't want them to learn. Television can affect kids' health, social behavior and brain development in negative ways. Negative Effects of Television on Children
Television viewing before the age of three may have adverse effects on later cognitive development, according to a study in the July issue of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, one of the Archives journals. Although many children's programs contain educational content, exposure to this material does not actually appear to make children smarter. Only a handful of programs teach children important skills such as math, reading, science or problem solving. Most of the shows on television, including cartoons, are non-educational. More time spent watching these shows is linked with poorer school performance overall and decreased scores on standardized tests. This makes sense when you consider that more time spent in front of a television means less time spent on homework or having stimulating interactions with adults or other children. In addition, late night television watching tires kids out so that they can’t pay attention in school. Also, television hands kids all the answers, promoting passive learning. As a result, kids have difficulty concentrating and working hard to solve a problem. Brain Development
As an educational tool, television has helped prepare preschoolers for their first classroom experience through programs that teach letters, numbers, colors, names of objects and even how to play well with others. These shows impart the message that learning is a lot of fun through music, games, action and lovable, funny characters. However, children hooked on television are not as likely to engage in imaginative play, develop hobbies or discover the joy of independently reading books outside of those assigned in school as homework. The less exposure to reading, the smaller the vocabulary, leading to greater challenges in being a competent writer. Reading and Language Development
Reading is one of the most important skills for children to develop in their early years...