Media Essays - Television Addiction Children

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Television Addiction Children

Children’s Television Addiction

A lot of people do not realize the seriousness of television addiction. According to “Television Addiction Is No Mere Metaphor” written by Robert Kubey and Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (2002), each person all over the world spends three hours a day watching television for half of their own leisure time.

That means the total amount of the time for watching television is the same as 9 years to spend their time to watch TV if one lives up to 75. A more scary research is 40% of adult respondents and 70% of teenagers think that they watch television too much. Moreover, 10 percent of adults think themselves as TV addicts.

Is this fact not surprising? Have you ever thought, “I think I am addicted to television?” When I was young, I did not consider myself as a television addict. If I did not have anything to do, I would have seen television for 6 through 7 hours in a day. At that time, I already knew I spent too much time watching television, but I did not care about it. However, as time went by, I entered high school, and I needed to study to pass the College Entrance Exam in Korea. Unfortunately, whenever I was studying, I could not take care of my desire to watch television.

I tried to get away from the television and set time for viewing the TV. However, it was not that easy. The habit from the young age made me stick to this bad habit. That is why I am interested in television addiction, and why I want to know much about the television addiction. Like this, the impact from viewing television too much would affect not only children’s development in a variety of ways but also until they become adults.

Above all, before getting started, we should make sure about the definition of addiction. Although there are a variety of definitions for “addiction,” all the meanings are the same. Of all, I chose the definition which is proposed by Lamai, “Addiction is a habitual repetition of excessive behavior that a person is unable or unwilling to stop, despite its harmful consequences” (2006).

People can be addicted to drugs physically while people can be addicted to gambling psychologically. However, because the term “television addiction” is not precise and can be different in various situations, there are a variety of perspectives on television addiction. Nevertheless, the criteria of substance dependence, which are defined by psychologists and psychiatrists formally, decide as an addiction if someone spends their time using the substance too much, tries to use more than one’s intended amount, gives up to do social, family or occupational activities, more important thing than using it, and shows withdrawal symptoms when one stops using it (Kubey and Csikszentmihalyi, 2002).

These phenomena are shown on television addicts as well. Because of the desire to watch TV, people who call themselves an addict appear to have all of these phenomena. Therefore, desire to watch television continuously can tell that it is obviously an “addiction.”

Media has warned the impact of television, especially the impact of television to children. It is very unhealthy to children because children are in the progress of developing their brain and body. According to Dr. Young’s assertion, “All of the most crucial brain development of a child occurs before age 4.”(Morello, 2002, p.44). Hence, the effect from television addiction can lead children to become passive and try not to think creatively. Like this, it would affect in a variety of ways not only in childhood but also in the child’s entire life.

First of all, the impact from television addiction is directly related to children’s attention span. A surprising fact is “Only 14 percent of teens who watch six or more hours of TV daily achieve reading proficiency by grade 12” (Daines, 2007). Somewhere you might hear that television is a strong stimulus clog. This is because television contains a great deal of “rapid-fire stimulation.” (Morello, 2002, p.44).

Therefore, their brain would be trained by this level of stimulation. If they do not see enough of this level of stimulation, they are unable to be affected by the stimulation and they try to find more extreme stimulation for them. Finally, children cannot concentrate on something longer. In contrast, if children are interested in playing sports, games and crayons, they can improve cognitive abilities and develop crucial thinking (Daines, 2007).

Secondly, the time for being with family and interacting with friends will be shortened. As society becomes modernized, all of family members become busy, so they can be together in only dinner time. However, television even makes this time shortened. When the TV is turned on, the family’s eyes would glue to the TV without expression, so that they will not chat with their story. Furthermore, studies show that the more TV preschoolers watch, the less well socialized they are in the first grade (Daines, 2007). This is because they spend their time watching instead of playing with friends.

Thirdly, the biggest problem is the obesity. Children obesity is getting a bigger issue. Television addiction is a lot involved in this issue as well. Have you ever heard of “couch potatoes?” This word came from the expression of the person who always lies in the couch and watches TV. Likewise, think about the situation when you are watching television. What are you doing? You might be eating a snack. That is the key point of becoming obesity.

There is the statistics related to this fact in TV and the Internet: Fattening for Teens? Dr, Susanna Kautiainen and colleagues at the University of Tampere, Finland surveyed a nationally representative sample of 721 teens 14 to 18 years of age to see if the time they spent on the Internet was tied to obesity or overweight. The result was that those who spent more time watching TV were more often overweight and obese than those who spent less time watching TV. The time without moving makes people obesity and overweight (2004).

Fourthly, watching TV without caution can become children’s guideline how to grow. That means TV can ruin the childhood as a certain period in human development. If children constantly are exposed by TV’s harmful situations such as sex and violence, they take it granted that it is not a problem to live a fast life in youth and to kill people for justice. This is because children are not satisfying their knowledge to distinguish from this destructive aspect of television (Video Age International, 2001, pp. 2-3). If you unguardedly let children watch TV, it could lead children to fail in childhood.

Then, why are we addicted to television? The origin of the addiction arises from “boredom,” and television can supply your demand. As soon as you turn on the TV, you can directly feel relaxed and cozy. However, according to electroencephalograph (EEG) studies which are laboratory experiments to monitor the brain waves, skin resistance or heart rate of people watching television, the result is astonishing.

When participants turn off the TV, their feeling of relaxation and coziness suddenly disappears while the feeling of passiveness and lowered alertness continue. After participants turn off the TV, they somehow feel television makes their energy dry up and they are hard to concentrate compared to before. In contrast, participants can feel happy and improvement in mood after playing sport (Kubey and Csikszentimihalyi, 2002). Moreover, in “Television Anonymous” (2001), “Noise” and “Companionship” can be the reason why people are addicted as well.

Then, what kinds of solution to get over television addiction? There are a lot of alternatives. However, above all, recognizing your habit and accepting is a top priority. After this, firstly set time limits. It should not watch more than two hours on qualified TV program. Also, under three year children should not be in front of TV because “the first two to three years of life are critical periods for the development of young children’s brains.”(Christakis, 2004) Secondly, this is the most important thing. Television should not be placed in children’s bedroom.

Thirdly, put the TV and remote control which could not come into sight. Fourthly, do not use the TV to look after baby. Instead, do household chores with children and give them an opportunity to help. Fifthly, listen to favorite music or the radio as background noise. Lastly, set a good example. Because parents and guardians are usually a child’s most important role model, limiting your own TV viewing and choosing programs carefully through the lives of TV characters (Daines, 2007).

In conclusion, the desire which wants to watch TV definitely should be seen as addiction. Nowadays, television addiction is becoming a big issue. The amount of time people viewing TV on average cannot say it is not the astonishing fact. I am sure that the number of television addicts is gradually increasing.

Therefore, people should make an effort to diffuse the fact that the amount of television addict is increasing and it is really bad for children because television addiction have an opportunity to shorten children’s attention span, to narrow time with family and friends, to result in obesity, and to be a guideline during development. Therefore, keeping watching television incautiously should be reconsidered.

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