TV’s effect on Children
Today, preschool children in the United States watch approximately 2 hours of television daily (Nicklas et al 2011). Those children who are also apart of low-income families tend to watch more television as well. Since this is such a huge portal into the majority of preschooler’s lives, television has a huge cognitive, social, and nutritious impact on the things they want and how they approach situations. The shows on television are not the only factor that affects children; commercials also have a strong affect on children. For the two hours of pre-schooled center programming, I watched one episode of Max and Ruby on Nickelodeon and one episode each of Word World, Dinosaur Train, and Daniel Tigers Neighborhood on PBS. All four shows had an educational view, whether it be improving spelling, developing empathy, or the positives of using teamwork. All four shows aimed to better the viewers in some way, and they did this in a multitude of ways. For Max and Ruby, Nickelodeon states that this show will help children learn how to recognize and handle feelings, whether they be their own feelings or someone else’s. The concept behind the show was showing how your actions affect the people around. The example used in the show was Max being noisy while Ruby and her friend were trying to relax. They told Max to wait a little bit before playing with his loud toys, but he had wouldn’t wait. Each time Max returned for the toys represented an example of delay of gratification, which is a tool that helps to determine emotional regulation. Better emotional regulation corresponds to a greater display of sympathy for others (Ewing Lee, 2012), which is what Nickelodeon said Max and Ruby would help develop in the viewers. Word World and Dinosaur Train displayed much more basic and direct forms of education. Word World, for instance, was a show about spelling and strongly emphasized components of Child Directed Language like sounding words out and the phonetics of spelling (Ewing Lee, 2012). Another aspect was the show’s use of more simplified vocabulary. Characters used simple words, and when more elaborate words were used, the character would then define the word to better the child’s understanding. In Dinosaur Train, they educated viewers through the Scaffolding method. The novice dinosaurs would go to the more knowledgeable, older dinosaurs to learn about different things. Throughout the show, the older dinosaurs would see what they had learned and add new information as the situation needed. Using dinosaurs in a novice and expert situation is an example of Vygotskys cognitive development (Ewing Lee, 2012). The three shows mentioned strongly encourage play and friends, and it is commonly known that play helps develop social and emotional development. In Max and Ruby, all Max ever did was play. In Word World and Dinosaur Train, all the character worked together to achieve some goal, whether it was finding things in the dark, uncovering fossils, learning new poses, baking pies, and helping people solve problems. These are all examples of how the shows support various forms of social skills because they all require one to be able to communicate with a group and work alongside one another. This is done by incorporating aspects of decreasing egocentrism and adjusting the viewer’s perception bounds. Those changes help them see the whole situation and how the situation affects other people around them. The shows help that by having multiple characters involved in the show, showing how everyone sees things differently and demonstrating that everyone can contribute in a group. Daniel Tigers Neighborhood included many strategies seen in the shows described previously, such as, encouraging group work, delay of gratification, novice-expert relationship, and Child Direct Language. But this show was slightly different than the others in regards to how it taught. It emphasized not sweating the small stuff and that patience and...
References: Ewing Lee, E. (2012). Lectures from Developmental Psychology 206.
Nicklas, T., Goh, E. T., Goodell, L. S., Acuff, D. S., Reiher, R., Buday, R., et al. (2011). Impact of Commercials on Food Preference of Low-income, Minority Preschoolers. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior , 43, 35-41.
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