Effects of Television
- Shallene K Green
Society looks at the effects of watching television, which raises the question- Does television harm children from an early age? Dr. John Grohol, Psy.D., an author, researcher and expert in mental health believes through research that television has a harmful effect on the development of children. He claims that it can negatively impact study skills and test scores. The research conducted by Dr. Grohol supported the claim that television has negative side effects on children by exposing them to sex and violence at an early age. Contradictory to this is that it can, and does, offer a view into other worlds by showing other cultures in a society different than a child’s own. Studies may show that exposure to television does affect a child; however, what also needs to be addressed and considered are: What programs were these children viewing? How much of an impact does a child’s experiences with other outside sources of influence make on their educational performance? Surely, the data from these studies can be deemed as biased or supporting an already formed opinion that television alone was the cause of lower test scores and behavioral problems for children.
Dr. Grohol supports the idea that television has a negative impact on the educational development of children. His study suggests that exposure to television resulted in low test scores. It showed that 70 percent of children with a television in their bedroom scored seven to nine points lower on a standardized test (Grohol, 2009). Dr. Grohol’s study additionally showed that childrens’ test scores during the testing period were lower than children excluded from the project. While evidence suggests that television negatively impacts the test scores of a child, it also has effects on behavioral and emotional development, such as aggression and anxiety, that could also have been caused by watching television (Mitrofan, Paul, Spencer, 2009). Dr. Grohol believes that a child watching television will be slower in school; therefore, leading to an unsuccessful and unproductive educational future. Another factor contributing to the effect that television has on certain individuals would be: how long was the child’s interaction with the television program, what was the type of show that was being watched and how influential was a parent’s involvement as to what programs are available for the child. He believes that “babysitting” children with a television set deprives them of vital human interaction necessary for growth and development. Dr. Grohol explains that the sex and violence depicted in television have a detrimental effect on young minds. By monitoring and restricting the amount and the content viewed by children, their early childhood development would have a better probability of educational, emotional and social success.
Researchers, like Dr. Grohol, need to take into account the effect that watching television has on the number of hours of sleep a child has every night. Sleep appears necessary for our nervous systems to work properly (Grohol, 2014). However, are children losing sleep because they’re watching too much television or is it because their brains are too stimulated to be able to fall asleep? It is far more likely that children are watching too much television at the fault of their guardians who are not regulating it. In which case, the blame for children doing poorly in school should be equally placed on guardians and not solely on television itself. When used properly, television may become a positive weapon for teachers and parents by providing children with brain stimulating educational programming instead of programs containing sexual innuendo and violent content. Television does have potential to be positive by giving children access to viewing new worlds, giving them a chance to travel the globe, learn about different cultures, and gain exposure to ideas that they may never encounter in their own community (Boyse, 2010). The other side of this study process showed the windows of opportunity to learn about cultures around the world by gaining personal experience and applying that information to a child’s own upbringing and community.
While there is reasonable evidence that shows how television can affect how a child does in school and everyday life, outside social and emotional interactions also need to be taken into consideration on their effect towards developmental success. When parents stay engaged with a child and provide guidance through educational programs, they can dictate what is appropriate for viewing and monitor the quantity watched. Television also affects children differently. When more research is studied it suggests that boys are particularly vulnerable to parental conflict, and with the combination of television, it can increase a discord in the classroom. Whereas a girl may, or may not, respond with an outburst of anger by displaying physical aggression by thinking less of themselves (Murray, Ducournau, Stein, 2005). Without parental involvement, these radical emotional portrayals are far more prominent and likely. The difference between boys and girls can be very different, and can influence how they react to the content of television. Keeping in mind that no two children are alike, everyone involved in a child’s life needs to stay in tune with how they are doing in school, with friends or even interactions at home in order to create the greatest chances for success.
Watching too much television has the possibility of causing a drop in test scores, violent outbursts and overall struggle to develop and positively participate in society. Television is not the only contributing factor to these issues; therefore, the entirety of the blame cannot be placed solely on it. It may lead individuals to better understand how to change the choices and paths of children with proper supervision, influence and guidance. Unchecked, television has the ability to cause difficulties for children; however, if used properly it can also be a great educational asset. As technology becomes a bigger part of everyday life, it will be important to stay informed on how it works, how it helps society grow or the possible dangers that come with it. Society cannot hide from progress, but can help guide and direct choices for children today and into tomorrow.
Boyse, K., RN. Reviewed by Brad Bushman, PhD. August (2010) Television and Children
Grohol, J.M., Psy.D. on 21 Feb (2009). Kids with bedroom TV sets have lower standardized test scores.
Grohol, J.M., Psy.D. Jun (2014) Sleep Disorders & Insomnia
Hipwell, A., Murray, L., Ducournau, P., & Stein, A. (2005). The effects of maternal depression and parental conflict on children’s peer play. Child: Care, Health & Development, 31(1), 11-23.
Mitrofan, O., Paul, M., & Spencer, N. (2009). Is aggression in children with behavioural and emotional difficulties associated with television viewing and video game playing? A systematic review. Child: Care, Health & Development, 35(1), 5-15. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2214.2008.00912.x
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