22 September 2014
The Influence of Television on the Adolescent Child
Children in the United States are being influenced more by television than the teachers that instruct them in the classroom. The lack of parental supervision while young children are viewing television has posed a negative and lasting influence on our youth. Young children have impressionable minds that absorb inappropriate images, minds that are very curious and ready to feed on whatsoever they view on television. Therefore, I believe, what children view on television can directly influence their intellect, social behavior, health and in some aspects, their view of reality. Although, we find the greatest influence of television during adolescent and pre-teen years, certain programs can have a lasting and profound effect on their development. The problem is that most parents allow their children to be consumed with extended hours of television with little, too no supervision. With no parental supervision, children are viewing inappropriate programs not suitable for their age group. The way to solve the problem with inappropriate viewing and time consumption is to constantly monitor the programs they watch, enforce age appropriate programing and the amount of time they are allowed to watch television. Parents should spend quality time with their children while watching television to help them decipher fantasy from reality. Lacking parental or adult supervision in any form can be detrimental to a child’s health, both physically and psychologically. Fig.1 This image projects the powerful influence of shaping a child’s behavior (Heller). Young children have very impressionable minds at a young age that are very curious. They want to know about the things that are happening around them, the things they hear and things they see. The images viewed on television, especially scenes that can relate to their daily activities while in the care of a parent, guardian or daycare worker can affect their well-being and safety. “Television violence may influence children in four ways: making them want to imitate what they see, reducing learnt inhibitions against violent behavior, desensitizing them to violence through repetition, and increasing arousal” (Black and Newman 274). Images that children view can be acted out in any given scenario in the form of violence, sex, or some unsafe act as pictured above (Fig 1). As you can see, two of the children are acting out a scene they are viewing on the television, while another child curiously observes their actions. The children perceive there is nothing wrong, in their perspective, they are playing and mimicking what they see on the television. In scientific literature pertaining to media violence in connection with real life aggressive behavior, as much as 10% to 20% of real life violence has been substantiated (“Children”). Where is the adult supervision I ask you, its non-existent? When children are unsupervised they can view whatsoever they like and act upon it. Who is to say that the young child with the doll (Fig 1), as young as she may be, views two individuals acting out a scene of a sexual nature and mimics them with her dolls? We have seen in the news one too many times where young children are being accused of sexually assaulting another child in the class or on the playground, instances like this can be misconstrued and erroneously reported. Curiosity gets the best of them after viewing scenes of this nature, leaving a lasting impression on their young minds and in some cases acting them out without knowing the consequences. After discussing how impressionable our young children are, the influence of television can affect their intellect, social behavior, health and their view of reality. When we assess the intellect of our children, first we must take into account how much time kids are viewing specific programs compared to educational programing....
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