The Effects of Television on a

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Our generation has been raised in a technological advanced world and there has been definite controversy over many of these innovations that this new culture has brought. An innovation that has troubled the youth of America for many years is television. Although there is no certainty to eliminate this “plug-in drug,” there are many ways to control and monitor your television as a parent. Children between two and eleven years of age watch an average of 25 hours of television a week.(Children’s Television) Which means that children spend more time watching television than in school. With that statistic it is no wonder why this is such a huge problem that this nation has to deal with. There are many facts that show how children are effected by television. The most obvious is the effects that television has on the brain. “Television interferes with the development of intelligence, thinking skill and imagination.”(LimiTv) A huge element of thinking is taking from what you already know and deciding how it applies in different situation. School makes you do this, but television does not. Michael and Sheila Cole, sociologist, say that “Children socialized to learn from television had lower than normal expectations about the amount of mental effort required to learn from written texts, and tended to read less and perform relatively poorly in school.”(Development of Children 24) Which means that it takes very little effort to follow a television show and kids are raised on television believe that it takes less effort to learn from television rather than books because they have been “spoon-fed” information by television. “Opportunities for a child’s imagination to develop are also denied by habitual viewing.” (Neural Activity and the Growth of the Brain) Children need some unstructured time to

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allow imagination skills to form by thinking about a book or story, a conversation, or an event. “Television also conditions a child to dual stimui: sound and images.”(Neural Activity and the Growth of the Brain) The constant and rapidly changing sound and images can condition a child to expect the level of televisions in other situations. The problem with this is that in school children are called upon to speak, to listen, to work some problems, or read, and none of these tasks contain the “dual stimula” that children expect from television. Dr. Hinton, a professor, said, “One of the main reasons professors introduce multimedia (sound and images) segments into lectures is to retain the attention of the television-raised students. A chalk-on-the-board lectures leaves many students unable to remain attentive.” Watching television also “impedes the growth of longer attention spans.”(Neural Activity on the Growth of the Brain) As with conditioning a child to the sound and images of television, the seven-minute length of programs before a commercial interruption can “condition a child to a seven minute attention span.”(The Wall Street Journal) Odds Bodkin, a professional storyteller, relates to this theory. He performs before 10,000 children a year. In 1994 Bodkin stated, “After about seven minutes restlessness sets in as their inner clocks anticipate a commercial break.” This is also a factor in school because when a child’s attention span is not up to there own grade level than it decreases they’re learning ability. “Schools expect kindergarten through second graders to have short attention spans, but also expect attention capability to increase with grade level. When that doesn’t happened children is disadvantaged. A student who,

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Month after month, is inattentive in class may well find it difficult to learn the material being presented. Television also interferes with the development of...
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