Childhood overexposure to television can cause a detrimental effect on reading skills and behavior. Bar-on (2000) states, “The exposure of American children and adolescents to television continues to exceed the time they spend in the classroom: 15,000 hours versus 12,000 hours by the time they graduate.” (p. 289) Children are more vulnerable than adults, to the influences of the behaviors that they view. The pediatrics association estimates that for every hour a child under two spends in front of a screen, he or she spends about fifty minutes less interacting with a parent, and about ten percent less time in creative play. (Carey, 2011, p. 2) Although there have been some studies that found some prosocial and educational benefits, significant research has shown there are a lot more negative effects. (Bar-on, 2000, p. 289) This paper will describe in detail the effects that can be caused from too much television.
One of the main effects from an abundance of television is an increase in violence. In a paper done by Dietz and Strasburger they found that on average young people view over 1000 rapes, murders, armed robberies, and assaults every year while watching television. (Bar-on, 2000, p. 289) Numerous studies have shown that elementary children will imitate violent behaviors they see on television, particularly if the violence is rewarded. (Wilson, 2008, p. 100) With all of the violence on television children are developing more bad habits. It was found, in a study, that elementary school children exposed to a single episode of the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers committed significantly more intentional acts of aggression such as hitting, kicking, and shoving compared to those who didn’t watch the episode. (Wilson, 2008, p. 100) There are too many television shows out there, aimed at children, that view violence as acceptable. A three year National Television Violence Study examined nearly 10,000 hours of television programming and found that about 61 percent contained violence. (Bar-on, 2000, p. 289)
Violence may be a nasty side effect of television, but there have been studies that have shown that children, when limited to content and a time constraint, have exhibited more of a prosocial behavior. (Fisch, 2005, p. 12) It has been shown that prosocial programmes have promoted helpful behaviors in similarly viewed programmes on television. (Bar-on, 2000, p. 289) For example, watching a show that has a person showing manners, like opening a door for someone, will allow them to be more likely to exhibit the same behaviors later on in life. The effects of prosocial television have been linked to an increase of friendliness, co-operation, self control, and a reduction of stereotypes. (Fisch, 2005, p. 12) Despite this potential positive effect, the amount of shows that would produce this effect are minimal at best.
My wife and I show our daughter both educational programmes and teach her...