CHILDREN AND TELEVISION
In the past fifty years, television has become an important part of most children's lives. In fact, studies show that children in the U.S. spend more time watching television than they do in any other activity except sleep.Because children do spend so much of their time watching television, many important questions are raised:* How is all of this television affecting young children?* What are the benefits of television?* What are the risks?Parents must consider these questions and their answers very carefully.Some of the Things Children See on Television*Violence. Children watch countless acts of violence every day while sitting in front of the television. One recent study estimates that American children see over 1,000 violent acts on television each year. These violent acts include rapes, murders, armed robberies and assaults. It is not only the prime-time programs that contain a lot of violence. News programs and music videos also contain a high percentage of violence. Cartoons, and other children's programs, often contain violence, too. Many of these programs glorify war and fighting. Children may get the message that violence is an acceptable way to solve problems. Studies have shown that children who watch a lot of violence on television are more likely to be aggressive towards other people.*Sex. Just like violence, there is a lot of sex to be seen on television. Sex on television is often portrayed as casual, impersonal, and exploitative. Some shows that contain a lot of sex are soap operas, prime-time shows, and especially music videos. Rarely do characters on television discuss contraception before engaging in sex. Rarely do television characters acquire sexually transmitted diseases. Furthermore, sex is often portrayed unrealistically on television. This may lead to the development of beliefs about sex that are not realistic.*Alcohol. Children are bombarded with advertisements for beer and wine. They see their favorite rock...
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