"Television viewing is a major activity and influence on children and adolescents. Children in the United States watch an average of three to four hours of television a day. By the time of high school graduation, they will have spent more time watching television than they have in the classroom. While television can entertain, inform, and keep our children company, it may also influence them in undesirable ways." (AACAP, 2001, p. 1)
Even though parents are conscious that the media can affect their children, nearly all of them don't realize how severe it is actually becoming. While television has developed and is now one of our most valuable ways of communication, it also has horrible consequences of being able to negatively affect and corrupt people. This will examine both sides of this problem, focusing on the effects of a particular mass medium, television, on a particular group of society, children. It will also examine studies that try to show both the positive and negative affects on children.
This website will also illustrate the necessity of parents to be there for their children and for teachers to play a pivotal role in helping children separate fact from fiction during television viewing.
Television is by far the most popular and most powerful medium in which children are exposed. It probably could be argued that television is more influential than parents are to children, however all television does not have to have negative effects on children. Many programs do have positive themes behind them. A study by Aletha C. Huston and John C. Wright (1998) examined the studies portrayed television as having negative effects on children, and proved that most of these studies are faulty. One study that is often brought up is that television causes viewers to become passive. Many argue that children are both physically and intellectually inactive while watching television. Huston supports the argument, with studies to back it up, that children are constantly making judgments about the clarity and interest of the content and thinking about the credibility, context, and applicability of what they are viewing (Huston, 1998). It is true that children are not actively interacting with the television, as they would be if they were in school with a teacher. They show that there have been significant efforts to overcome this by attempting to have kids interact with the television through certain segments of show such as Sesame Street and Mister Rogers' Neighborhood.
Another argument that has been disputed on several occasions is that television reduces the attention spans of children. One study proposed that programs containing short segments that have a rapid pace, as the ones shown on Sesame Street, might lead children to be easily distracted, to lose interest in a topic quickly, and thus have a shorter attention span (Huston, 1998). It is shown that this is not supported by evidence. Heavy viewers of Sesame Street are rated as being...