Tv Gives Children Unrealistic Expectations

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A few months after my friend Angela, who lives in Santo Domingo, acquired access to premium channels such as HBO, Cinemax, etc. her eight years old daughter asked her one night: “Mom, are there poor people in the United States?” This could have been a joke if it were not so revealing. My friend realized that the luxurious scenes shown on television were not only giving her daughter a false idea about life in the United States, but they could also be creating unrealistic expectations in the girl’s mind concerning life in general. The same situation is faced by children and teenagers all over the United Sates. To a child’s eyes, television represents a parallel reality with its own rules and laws, a reality in which everything is not only possible and easy, but is obviously more appealing to his/her mind than the sometimes bleak or deprived household in which he or she lives. The problem is real and is not going away. On the contrary, it is only strengthened by the leading role played by television in the upbringing of children, as parents are forced to work long hours and depend more and more on the “electronic nanny” for the children’s entertainment. Unfortunately, the damage done to the children is serious and has unpredictable consequences in the long run.

On the one hand, we have a powerful industry that feeds on audiences regardless of their age, sex or personal characteristics; an industry that harness the imagination of the viewers and, as such, has limitless resources and only one goal: production. On the other hand, we have a defenseless child who spends long hours in front of a TV set, sometimes in the privacy of his own room. Children do not have the ability to analyze or screen the information presented to them. All the images and messages wrapped up in the movies, programs or commercials go straight through to the subconscious mind of a child and become the storeroom from which he...
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