Senior Research paper
Television Bad for Children
In the days when television screens were brimming with images of "The Cosby Show" and "Three’s Company," parents barely gave a second thought when their youngsters spent a couple hours in front of the tube. But TV isn't what it used to be. There are more than 100 channels available via cable in most American communities, and much of the programming might send shock waves through parents raised on Sesame Street and Mr. Rogers. Television is hurting the children of today because of how much time kids spend watching TV, the immoral values it instills in kids, and how television actually negatively affects the brain.
Due to the lesser discipline notion of this day and age, kids nowadays just watch way too much TV. That is not a good thing, seeing that watching television keeps kids from doing other productive things like parent and child communication. Amy Nathanson, an associate professor at Ohio State University says that “TV viewing is reducing how much parents talk with their children. And diminished parent-child interaction can have negative effects on children, especially when they are young” ( Psychology Today). Young children who watch lots of TV may be missing out on valuable - even crucial - interactions with parents during a critical point in their development. Parent-child interaction, even with children who can't yet speak, is vital to children's healthy development. Also the more hours spent watching television can lead to health related issues. “children who spent more than an hour and a half in front of the TV each day had narrower blood vessels in their retinas,”(The World Today) says Anne Hipsley, a researcher at Syndey University in Australia. These narrower arteries signal increased risk of future heart disease and high blood pressure. Also watching too much television at close range can cause eyestrain. Chanie Kirschner, a writer and researcher for MMN says, “watching too much TV may not lead to permanent eye damage but it definitely can cause eyestrain” (Mother Nature Network). Symptoms of eyestrain include headache, watery eyes, itching or burning eyes, light sensitivity, and blurry vision all due to watching a little too much television. The bottom line is that the more time the kids are spending outdoors in physical activity the better it is and the less time they're on the couch watching the TV - it has to be good for the health regardless. Many television shows of today hold many moral and unethical values and practices that children are exposed to. Violence is one of these morally non-compliant qualities lighting up kid’s TV screens. “Children who watch the violent shows, even 'just funny' cartoons, were more likely to hit out at their playmates, argue, disobey class rules, leave tasks unfinished, and were less willing to wait for things than those who watched the nonviolent programs,” says researchers at CMU(Violence on Television). Children may be more likely to behave in aggressive or harmful ways toward others when watching violent programming. Another vice of television is the amount of sexual content it airs. RAND health behavioral scientist, Rebecca Collins, says that “Youths who viewed the greatest amounts of sexual content were two times more likely than those who viewed the smallest amount to initiate sexual intercourse”(Does Watching Sex). Watching TV shows with sexual content apparently hastens the initiation of teen sexual activity. Also, television is becoming more like movies, many of which contain scenes of drug and alcohol use. Dr. James Sargent, associate professor of pediatrics at Dartmouth College in Hanover, N.H. says that "TV shows are becoming more edgy, and increasingly depicting more smoking and drugs" (Media Portrayal of Drugs). Substance abuse continues to rise due in part to the media’s portrayal of Drugs. Point is, television shows are permitting and depicting immoral values as “ok” behaviors. Lastly, TV also negatively affects the brain. For instance, watching TV may make you feel lonely. The Journal of Experimental Social Psychology found “evidence for the 'social surrogacy hypothesis,' which holds that humans can use technologies, like television, to provide the experience of belonging when no real belongingness has been experienced” (TV affects the brain).
An interview was conducted with a Gateway high school student, Bri Fitzgerald on what she thought about television was for kids. First, she said that TV was not a good way for kids to spend their time. “In my opinion, kids should be focusing on school, not what’s on TV,” says Bri. Time wasted on television could be spent learning something. Bri was also asked how she felt about the content displayed on Television. “ I watch some shows that I wouldn’t let my little sister watch” is what she said. She basically said that what you watch should be based on how mature you are. Lastly, Bri was asked if she could control how much TV was being watched by kids, how much would she allow. Here is what she said: “I would only allow up to four hours per week.” She thinks that TV should be strictly limited for kids. TV in Bri’s eyes should not be anything more than an occasional leisure to a child. Next interview was conducted with recent Notre Dame graduate, John Kelly on his view of Television.