When researchers examine the relative importance of media content and total time spent with media, they find that content matters more. For example, empirical evidence strongly supports the notion that high-quality educational programming has positive benefits for children's academic skills, academic engagement, and attitudes toward learning.
In a study by Barr et al. 2010, it was said:
"Pick programs and evaluate on the basis of those programs e.g. Sesame Street, educational program, what have been learned and how they apply it."
It was said by Anderson et al. (1986), that:
"Age trends in visual attention over the school-age years, however, have been less thoroughly examined: one study (Calvert et al., 1982) found no age trend, and another (Field & Anderson, 1985) found an increase in visual attention from ages 5 to 9 years. Although there have been no published investigations of listening to television, it has been reported that recall of auditory material is strongly linked to looking in 5- year-olds but less strongly linked in 9-year- olds (Field & Anderson, 1985). There have been no laboratory studies of age trends in adult TV-viewing behavior." (p. 23)
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Anderson et al. (1986) also suggested that:
"Comprehension should dramatically increase over the preschool years as a result of increasing receptive language skills, an expanded base of world knowledge, and increased skills specific to interpreting the television medium (see Anderson & Lorch, 1983; Anderson & Smith, 1984; Huston & Wright, 1983)." (p.1026)
Petros and Petrella, 1982, conducted a study on preschooler's awareness of television advertising and their results were as follows:
"The results of the present study indicate that while the ability to identify TV messages improves during the preschool years, many children as young as 3 years of age understand the terms "commercial" and "program" and can use these terms to accurately discriminate between the two. It is important, however, to make a distinction between awareness and understanding of television advertising. Children's ability to identify commercials on television does not imply that they understand the intent and motives of commercials. The successful preschoolers could have been making their identifications solely on the basis of simple auditory or visual attributes which often distinguish commercials from programs (e.g., musical jingles, adult male voiceovers, rapid pacing, etc.). As discussed earlier, research which has used conventional questioning techniques indicates that such understanding is not expressed until age 7 or 8." (pp. 933-937)
Greer et al., 1982, have said:
"Programs that have high rates of perceptually salient action, pace, and visual change may have both attention-getting and arousal effects on viewers, regardless of their content. The purpose of the present study was to investigate the effects of salient formal features"
Greer et al., 1982, explained the following in relation to effects of television:
"A. Types of aggression 1. Physical aggression = physical attack, obstruction, teasing, threatening gestures. 2. Verbal aggression = angry commands, verbal teasing, derogation. 3. Object aggression = physical attack on an object.
B. Imaginative fantasy 1. Solitary fantasy = storytelling alone and/or acting out a fantasy role. 2. Collaborative fantasy = both children are storytelling and/or acting out fantasy roles while involved in social interaction. 3. Fantasy aggression = aggression as part of fantasy, for example, pretending to have a ray gun battle while playing a space hero.
C. Activity level 1 = Inactive stationary. 2 = Active stationary. 3 = Moving through space slowly (walking pace). 4 = Moving through space rapidly (running pace). D. Positive social interaction 1. Verbal interaction = verbalization/vocalization to other child (includes laughing, story- telling, and other nonaggressive verbal/vocal communication to other child)."
Pezdek and Hartman, 1983, included that:
"Several studies suggest that children's attention to television is more strongly correlated with audio than with visual attributes of television programs (Anderson & Levin, 1976; Wartella & Ettema, 1974)." (pp. 806-811)
In a study conducted by Eisend and Moller, 2007, a cause and effect diagram for TV viewing was built. It is defined in the diagram below (p.111):
Tangney, 1988, suggested that:
"Children whose parents reported more dysfunctional parenting attitudes tended to view more fantasy fare; more children's programming, including violent cartoons; more violent programming in general; more super- hero programs; and more loner programs than children whose parents reported adaptive parenting attitudes These findings were especially consistent across the two samples of male subjects. The amount of time devoted to news and educational pro- grams, in absolute terms, did not appear to be related to parenting attitudes." (pp. 1070-1079)
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According to Rice et al. (1988):
"During the preschool years, children quickly acquire an extensive vocabulary. Between the ages of 1 and 6 years, children learn to comprehend over 14,000 words (Templin, 1957), or an average of about nine new words per day. Obviously, children manage to do so without explicit word-by-word tutoring. Instead, they seem to absorb new meanings as they encounter them in conversational interactions. The exact nature of the word-learning process is not clear. Current models are sketchy and rely heavily on simplifying assumptions. For example, Pinker's model (1984, p. 30) assumes that children rely on situations where a single unfamiliar word is isolated or surrounded by known linguistic contexts, and the situation provides a clear meaning for the word. In some unspecified manner the child infers the matchup between word and meaning." (pp. 420-429)
In order to better understand the research topic we need to define the different areas of the topic separately so we can better comprehend the scope of the study.
Learning: Learning is a relatively permanent change in behavior brought about by experience. (Bandura et al., 1977). Learning can be defined as the process leading to relatively permanent behavioral change or potential behavioral change. In other words, as we learn, we alter the way we perceive our environment, the way we interpret the incoming stimuli, and therefore the way we interact, or behave. John B. Watson (1878-1958) was the first to study how the process of learning affects our behavior. (Shaffer and Kipp, 2010)
Bandura et. al, 1977, have given the following steps of learning:
"Steps of learning:
Paying attention or perceiving the most critical features of another person's behavior
Remembering the behavior
Reproducing the behavior
Being motivated to learn and carry out the behavior"
When asked about programs rated as educational/informative (E/I), children reported learning socio-emotional lessons more often than informational or cognitive lessons. (Wilson, 2008)
Greer et al., 1982, defined content as:
"Formal features of television programs are visual and auditory events that can be defined more or less independently of the content of a particular program."
Behavior: Watson, (1913), coined the term "Behaviorism". "Behaviorism assumes that behavior is observable and can be correlated with other observable events. Thus, there are events that precede and follow behavior. Behaviorism's goal is to explain relationships between antecedent conditions (stimuli), behavior (responses), and consequences (reward, punishment, or neutral effect)". (UNESCO)
Interpersonal skills: Hargie, 2011, defined interpersonal skills. "The term 'social skills', 'interpersonal skills' and 'communication skills are often used interchangeably. The latter, however, can encompass written as well as interpersonal skills, while the former generally used to refer to developmental or clinical applications. Interpersonal skills, in a global sense, can be defined as the skills we employ when interacting with other people." (Hargie, 2011)
Since television first appeared in the nation's living rooms in the middle of the twentieth century, observers have voiced recurrent concern over its impact on viewers, particularly children. In recent years, this concern has extended to other electronic screen media, including computers and video game consoles. Although researchers still have much to learn, they have provided information on the links between electronic media, especially television, and children's learning and cognitive skills. The message is clear: most (if not all) media effects must be considered in light of media content. With respect to development, what children watch is at least as important as, and probably more important than, how much they watch. (Kirkorian et al., 2008)
In a study by Barbara Wilson on the relationship between media and children's aggression, fear and altruism, it was explained how children learn about interaction and social behavior. Children need emotional skills to form relationships with others. Indeed, the capacity to recognize and interpret emotions in others is a fundamental building block of social competence. Developmental psychologists and media scholars alike have argued that screen media play a crucial role in children's emotional development. Yet few studies address this larger issue, in part because researchers have given so much empirical attention instead to media's impact on maladaptive or antisocial behaviors. (Wilson, 2008)
A child's mind being adaptive and eager to learn absorbs information from whatever various sources he/she is exposed to. According to cultivation theory, people who watch a great deal of television will come to perceive the real world as being consistent with what they see on the screen. (Wilson, 2008)
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A study was conducted which demonstrates that a single exposure to a television episode can alter children's ideas about emotions in real life and is consistent with the idea that media portrayals can influence a child's mental representation, or schema, for emotional events. (A schema is an organized structure of knowledge about a topic or event that is stored in memory and helps a person assimilate new information). (Wilson, 2008)
When looking at what happens when a child is exposed to violent entertainment there were two theories that were helpful in answering the question. One, social cognitive theory (formerly called social learning), posits that children learn ideas, values, emotions, and even behaviors by observing others in their social environment. Children can imitate people in their immediate surroundings or they can imitate characters in the media. Indeed, children as young as one are capable of imitating simple behaviors displayed on television. According to social learning theory, children are more likely to imitate observed behaviors that are rewarded than those that are punished. Children will also imitate behaviors that produce no consequences because, especially in the case of antisocial acts, the lack of punishment can serve as a tacit reward. The type of media role model also makes a difference. Children are most likely to learn from models that are attractive and from those they perceive as similar to themselves. (Kirkorian et al., 2008)
The method to collect information used in Wright's (2001) study was of viewing diaries. The diaries were printed in a professional way by giving the time frame of 6:00 A.M. to 2 A. M., and dividing them further in 15 min intervals. The parents were asked to give information regarding what channel they were viewing, what program they were viewing, and who was there with them while they were viewing the program. In Wright's study, viewing was also recorded if the child was in the room while the television was turned on. (Wright & Larson, 2001)
How Children Learn from Television:
Years after years we have noticed that media specifically the television media have penetrated highly in the pre-schooling age group. Because of which audio and video in the television have its everlasting impact. The preschooler are expose to this median even before they started to walk or talk, but they can relate to it. Thus the power of media has its important and ever lasting impact on the preschoolers (Appell, 1963)
Bandura (1994), having conducted quite a number of studies on learning, has explained that the core of learning from viewing includes the process of attention and retention. Bandura (1977) also explained that the information you retain in your memory, once stored, can come out given any environmental or motivational reminder (Bandura, 1977). This could relate to our study as the behavior that the children observe on television may be displayed by them when given cues on it.
We also have to notice this thing that observation capacity of children vary in different way which may be reflected by cross culture, or the nation wise. The environment and surrounding of them really matters a lot. Similarly culture, institutions, literacy practices and individual engagement vary a lot, compare to different class of people. (Bradford, 2011)
It was proposed by Huesmann (1986) that television content gives children cognitive scripts such as giving them learned set of actions which lead to expectation about others, information about one's own behavior, consequences of such behavior, and the different acceptable forms of problem solving. If they watch a repeat telecast then they retrieve earlier information, and this in turn results in solidifying their views about a certain topic leading to cumulative long term effects. (Huesmann, 1986)
These theories were given in order to understand media effects on social behavior. They also construct a hypothesis that children learn content from television including letters, numbers, concepts, vocabulary, and creativity. This can be called the early learning hypothesis. (Huesmann & Eron, 1986)
In a study by Kelly & Church (1997), on whether children (ages 7 to 8) are able to detect non verbal cues, It was said that children are good at picking up information through other children's speech and also gestures accompanied by speech, which are related to the speech, do not affect their ability to detect the message from the speech. The study also said that if the gestures shown are different from the ones relating to the speech, then children can detect or try to decipher the information the gestures are trying to convey. They suggested that even though the 7 and 8 years old children were not perfect at understanding information given through speech but understood it more better than gestures. They concluded that school going children are capable of taking out specific information from non verbal behavior. (Kelly & Church, 1997)
A child builds up the potential and ability to understand what television advertisement is trying to convey, not through his own abilities but by the help of observing the conversations of his/her family members. The child does may understand verbal behavior but is not equipped enough to understand the vocabulary or the other communicative methods in order to fully understand the essence of the advertisement. The family members' behavioral movements, declaration of intentions and actions following, after watching an advertisement, build up as a process in the eyes of the child on how to understand television advertisements. (Reid, 1979)
Not only the direct viewing of television, affects the behavior of children but it also affects the children when parents are watching television, while the children are away from the television, this type of viewing falls in the category of indirect viewership of Media content. A research suggests that in U.S almost half of the time the television is on even if no one is watching it. Its audio visuals is disturbing for the children as they lose focus in what they were doing specially in the case of toy play, it makes them lose concentration over the things they were doing in an organized manner. It directly affects the abilities of children to sustain the activity they were into, which leads to poor cognitive thinking and language development problems, mostly the children who are aged, 30 months and below. (Schmidt. M. E., et.al, 2008)
The study reveals the fact that a lot of what these children spend most of that time watching programs that were not targeted towards them. Studies showed that children between the ages of 6 to 8 were more responsive towards advertisements that showed cartoon characters as compared to the other content shown but kids who were a bit older were able to process the information given out on television which negatively impacted them. They are unable to process the information which leads to misinterpretations and confusions in their minds. This research tells us that children while watching television tend to watch a lot of things that were not targeted towards them leading to confusion and negative behavior among children. (Stern, 1984)
This journal adds a new dimension to the effect of television on children by stating that when children did not understand certain segments of "Sesame Street" they tended to ignore the same. In fact, viewers are constantly selecting, and even modifying what they see according to their own preferences. (Beentjes, 1989)
This study takes into account the impact of audio and video on children behavior. An experiment was carried out in 3 ways. Children were exposed to audio only, children could see video only and children could see and hear both audio and video. Children without doing any activity watching video paid more attention to audio, video as compared to children playing or doing and activity while watching video and audio. Audio had more impact on children's attention as compared to video. (Pezdek, 1983)
What Children Watch on Television:
The message which is daily shown on Television is something which affects the daily life of almost everyone; our behavior, values and attitude change with it. The media literacy works in a way that the message is firstly conveyed to the audience, whatever consumer like they adopt that information, and then they respond to the message. Although generally speaking the media changes the behavior of the audience. The type of program that heavily be influenced by the children are commercials, comedies, cartoon, situations, action and adventure. Such type of programs are mostly viewed by children, adding to it the viewers of cartoon are mostly among the preschoolers. (Singer and Singer, 1998)
There are many kind of program which is shown on television, which is categorized into 3. Positive (a program that encourages the child to watch it again), second being neutral (a program that may or may not encourage the child to watch it again) and third being negative (a program that does not encourage the child to watch it again). (Jordan and Woodlard, 1998)
A study conducted by Barcus (1997) looked for an answer related to the kind of topics children are exposed to while they are watching television on weekends. It was found that out of half the time that they are watching the programs 57% of the time they focus on five topics which are interpersonal rivalry (when one person shows consistent effort to win over the other), entertainment, domestic life (dynamics of home and family), crime and the supernatural. (Barcus & Wolken, 1977)
Behavior of children was compared when they were watching TV programs and commercials. But broadly speaking the children behavior was noticed that the attention span of children while watching ad is low, as more commercial were shown the attention of children further declined which result in poor identification of commercials. Kids grabbed more attention from video compared to audio. Development studies says that the advertisement on Television usually to children the attention of those television ads gradually decrease over the age time period. (Zuckerman et al., 1978)
There was a study that was conducted which shows that children with the age below x2 spend nearly about 22 hours of week on television. Further the indication shows that children spend more time on Television when compared to the time they spend in school. It is more likely that adding to this there is only one other activity which is added is Sleep, which is given this amount of time. Now there is a lot of evidence that shows that the Television is harmful to children, the reason being that it provides such content which changes the behavior of children, which eventually results in such behavior which is harmful to the children's environment. (Hess and Goldman, 1962)
Excessive television can interfere with a child's brain development, electronic media; especially television is a deterrent to a child's physical and mental development. Furthermore, children need to interact with their parents in other to develop positive social behaviors, and activities such as exercise, reading and socializing should be encouraged. (The Numours Foundation)
It shows that whenever the children are expose to Television their mother also watch at the same time, the role played by father is subsidiary, children view television by their own control, a study says that preschooler watch television on average of 54 hours of week, that take major portion from their waking hours. (Rue, 1974)
The study highlighted in this journal not only researched the impact of television viewing on children, but also accounted for different genres from cartoons to game shows to adult nonviolent programs, and its impact on children. (Neuman, 1980)
This study focuses on risky behaviors which are promoted in media and how children can be affected by them; these behaviors include smoking, obesity, sexual activity, violence and drinking. Food advertisement of snacks high calorie items provokes children to buy them and there is low advertisement of nutritional food which leads to obesity. However not a relevant link has been found between early sexual activity and TV viewing. Research shows that youth sees smoking as a favorable activity. Research also shows that cartoon contain pornographic material where for example a cat 'TOM and Jerry' is wearing no clothes but no direct relationship between sexual activity and TV viewing has been made. This research was conducted for adolescents (Chaves and Anderson, 2008)
This study suggests that preschoolers or more specifically children aged 3 years are aware of TV Programs and advertisements, they start influencing parents to buy products shown in advertisements and they cannot differentiate between TV Programs and Advertisements and think it's the same means they cannot distinguish between TV program and advertisements and the audio and video creates awareness among them they might not understand the actual meaning but starts to understand what is being shown to them they can identify advertisements and TV programs but might not understand the actual underlying motives. They are attracted to jingles, voice-overs and rapid pace in TV content. (Levin et al., 1982)
Positive v/s Negative Television Content:
Positive v/s Negative TV Content:
In a study by Wright and Larson (2001) about early childhood television and how it relates to adolescent behavior, certain theories regarding media and children's development were discussed. The first theory which related to content-based viewing suggests that since impact is being judged just upon the exposure to content therefore if educational and model programs are being shown then they should leave a positive impact on the child whereas misleading or antisocial content related programs should leave. (Wright & Larson, 2001)
The other positive aspect of the television is it promotes education and provides the ability to comprehend. As television is the median which is been watched by children much before they are required, so before they are exposed to any formal education system they have the ability to comprehend, visualize and auditory cues. Hence it is done voluntarily. (Jordan, 1997)
It has been surveyed that parents think that television has done more good than harm their kids. Parents were satisfied with the quality of programs for preschooler, but were not that satisfied with the quality of programs available for elementary school age. Parents use V chips to encourage their kids to watch quality program, and not by blocking the negative program. (Huston and Wright, 1998)
There are various developing skills techniques for television. It says if there would be a TV in school, the teachers would have done better. There are good shows on Television which shows a quality content on Television; sponsors are more likely to more encourage such programs which aim to further spread out to teachers and parents. (Byrnes and Smith, 1954)
The education programs on television really help the students of kindergarten and early grades. So the television contribution to the improvement of reading skills is substantial. It has been observed that watching education program really help students in improving grades. It is not only by watching educational program children skills will improved but attention from parents are also required. (Beentjes and Van der Voort, 1988)
The results however indicated that there was, in fact, no relationship between listening behavior and total amount of television viewed. Surprisingly perhaps, children who viewed genre pertaining to news/documentaries showed lesser improvement in listening skills than children who viewed genres oriented specifically towards children. In short, the study found that there was no serious consequence of television viewing by children. (Neuman, 1980)
This journal highlights the impact of the content children watch on television and on the amount spent watching television. The author concluded that viewing violent content impacts children in a negative manner. She focused on the emotions of children while watching television and how that had an impact on their behaviors. It showed that a lot of children learnt about emotions by watching content on television. Also children at the age of 8 to 10 are able to capture the lessons taught and messages given in educational programs which showed television creating a positive impact on these children's minds. It also showed that children apply the emotions that they see on television in real life because they feel like they need to act in a particular way that they saw on television (Singer, 1988). It showed how watching television even once can create a great impact on the way children behave. Also it showed children who spend more time watching television were more likely to have depression and anxiety issues. The research concludes that media can have both positive and negative impact on children depending on the type of content they watch. A lot of negative habits are adopted by children if their television viewing content is not monitored. (Wilson, 2008).
It highlights positive programs such as those on topics that would educate children, e.g. on drugs, smoking, drinking etc. Further to this, television viewing, even entertainment shows, provides some form of education or information that raises awareness in children, apart from resulting in more developed vocabulary and exposure to commercial products (Perkins, 1974).
Many researches into the impact of Sesame Street on children found that children gain more skills, including matching, naming numbers, counting, vocabulary etc. by watching Sesame Street. Social behavior was also impacted positively in children by viewing segments which promote good behavior. This research tells us that positive programs create positive values, and add to children's skills. The research does not however consider any impact on attention span of children. (Sammur, 1990)
The journal adds a new dimension to the research by observing what children observe while watching television by tracking their eye movements. It showed that those children who watched things that were more focused towards learning and educational messages had a higher IQ as compared to those who were totally uninterested and their eye movements showed that they were not really paying attention while watching and were looking away from the screen. These eye movements led to a clear distinction between students who were smart and those who were the complete opposite. It also linked obesity to the fact that advertisers show products to children that promote unhealthy eating habits amongst children. Children younger than 10 years are unable to identify the differences between advertising and normal programs shown on television therefore they are most vulnerable and tend to fall easily for these advertisements. (Wolf, 2004)
The study shows how television viewing leads to a negative impact on the developmental stages of children. These days, access to media and television is not very difficult and there is an alarming increase in the number of children who have their own set of TVs in their rooms. This leads to an increase in the number of hours spend watching television each day. The study shows that most of the violence that occurs in real life amongst these children is mostly due to the impact of media. They also linked it to children having poor performance in schools if they watched too much television at home. Linking it to psychology, it shows that exposure to media at an early age led to children developing the attention disorders since they are repeatedly exposed to the same stimulus over and over again leading to issues in emotional and mental growth. (Healy, 2004). The research also showed that in case of educational programs, it was better to expose them to television at the later years of life because at that age their mind is more developed as compared to showing it at early ages where it actually hinders development rather than helping (Pempek, 2005). Studies also showed increase in violent acts not just in terms of hitting another but going to the extent of wanting or attempting to kill another person in case of aggression. (Jusoff, 2009)
Viewing educational programming on TV has positive impact on children the impact on behavior from the time spent viewing TV is minimized by factors such as SEC of child and child's IQ level watching entertainment content on TV has negative impact on school achievement. It also proved that playing video games improves problem solving skills among children. (Schmidt, 2008)
Television Viewing and Impact on Children Behavior:
Television Viewing and Impact on Sedentary Behavior:
Television affecting Sedentary behavior:
A study by Stroman (1984) on black children, suggests that children who are exposed to television a lot tend to have poor habits regarding their nutrition. They also tend to be a part of conflict more, display antisocial behavior, and are also said to get lower results as compared to the children who do not watch much television, or watch it for a controlled allotted time. (Stroman, 1984)
An area of concern for many has been how advertisement of food products hinders a child's nutritional habits along with his/her attitude, beliefs and preferences towards food. Some people think advertisers should continue advertising as they always have. At the other extreme, some critics think TV advertising to children should be seriously restricted, even suggesting that advertising of highly-sugared foods to children should be banned. The ability of younger children to recall images as compared to older children is higher and research even suggests that they can be taught various cognitive abilities that are generally believed to be limited in young children. With the constant food advertisements children might demand a certain kind of food group more than other, and might decrease their consumption by a significant amount if they are not satisfied by the food they consume. (Scammon and Christoper, 1981)
In a study by Putnam (1996), television was criticized on the basis of two basic reasons. Firstly because television takes away a lot of time of the people which keeps them away from taking part in public affairs which is a duty of every civilian. It was said that if you spend most amount of your time in front of television it keeps you away from your public responsibilities as a citizen. Secondly they said that due to the variety of content shown on television such as violence, highlighting crime on news channels, information on diseases, war, and other problems in the world, your personality gets severely affected. This also causes the level of trust in a person to decrease drastically and they stop trusting the people around them, along with their colleagues or peers. It is said that both these problems combined also effects the level of trust a person develops in other people as the person does not spend time with a lot of people due to television and therefore becomes less trusting. (Putnam, 1996)
Extensive television viewing has also resulted in child obesity. According to several researches, child obesity can be influenced by family demographics, food intake and the lack of personal activity; which can be due to watching a lot of television. (Gable and Lutz, 2000)
Although many people, sit in front of the T.V while they are eating but very little attention has been given to the young ones who sit in front of the television while they are eating. An author took a sample of kids ranging from 7-9 years and 9-11 years, who were having their meals while watching T.V, more than one third of these children had their dinners in front of the television. It also suggests that children tend to eat more when they watch television and there is no other physical activity involved but just watching television becomes a bad habit. This habit directly affects a child's health as children's choice of food changes from nutritious to less nutritious food category that includes cereal, sweets, fries and soft drinks etc. Watching excessive television results in larger appetite in children, which leads to obesity in children. It has been investigated that having family dinners without the television viewership is positively related, to having a healthy diet and children tend to consume more nutrients like; fiber, calcium, folate and others, as compared to having dinners with the television on. (Shea. B. E, et.al, 2010)
The journal highlights the need to study whether there are any physical complications in children resulting from inactivity due to watching television from a young age, as well as impact on vision. On the positive side, it is also highlighted that television, along with other communication tools is providing children with more information than their earlier generations were exposed to, resulting in intellectually superior children (Nystorm, 1975).
This study links the impact of television to the biological changes (health issues). It also showed that the more time children spend watching television, the less time they spend interacting with others. It also states that since there is no physical activity involved when watching television, it leads to increase in weight since there is no fat burning as compared to the other activities children could be involved in. Also it showed that children who spent more time watching television tend to eat more (Castro, 2004). It also related increased television watching to reduce sleep levels among children leading to negative changes in the pubertal development of both boys and girls. It also talks about decrease in performance and understanding among children who were more exposed to television in their early years. It showed reduced performance levels among children and they could not do what was required by a child of that age (Shayer, 2006). The study linked the hours of television being watched to the negative impact that it creates in the later lives of children. (Sigman, 2010).
This qualitative study was carried across 6 European countries; the data was collected through focus groups of parents. By the term screen time means time spent on (TV/DVD/Video Games) .Parents across 6 countries had no problems about their children watching TV and were sure that they can limit what their child views on TV. The main worries of the parents for their children while watching TV were weakness of eyesight, impact on sedentary behavior, obesity in children, vocabulary the children learn from Television. Most of the parents find educational programming as positive aspect of Television viewing among their children. This study majorly focuses on the views of parents on the sedentary behavior of their children due to spending more screen time. (De Decker et al.)
TV influence on Cognitive Ability and Academic Achievement:
Even though both Television and the print media contribute in the growth process of a child's cognitive Knowledge. Due to the rapidly increasing television trend children are paying less attention towards reading books and focus more on electronic visuals. Even though both print and the television plays a role in a child's mental development process, still the importance of print media is more important as it helps positively when it comes to, written or oral communication and helps enhance their creative imagination. These days' children start to watch television before they start to speak which is an easy way for them to learn, this leads to lack of interest towards the book reading as children start to find book reading difficult. (Koolstra. C. M, et.al, 1996)
Early studies into the effect of television of children have found a correlation between television viewing in children, and poor performance in schools, both academically, and with respect to discipline (Larrick, 1975). Research and studies on the subject matter have found that poorer attention span can in large part be accounted for due to television viewing (Glass, 1973). The poor attention span is a consequence of the near constant audio and visual sensory stimulation which is not easily replicated in the class room environment (Collins, 1970).
A very insightful study is highlighted that studies children of two communities; one with TV, and the other without and points out that children in the community with TV comes to school with vocabulary one year more advanced than those of its counterparts, but surprisingly, this advantage is not maintained by the time the children reach the sixth and tenth grade (Hoffman, 1964). On top of that, statistics from SAT exams from 1962 indicate that scores have on average been falling year on year, with a study showing a negative correlation between television watched and grades. (Chamberman, 1976)
The journal searches the impact of media on the cognitive skills of children. It states that children who are exposed to television at a very early age are seen to have been impacted by poor cognitive development especially if the content they watch is violent. It also impacted the academics of children. It also stated that children who are older are more likely to learn things from the content that they watch on television. It also concluded that children who are older are more likely to grab things from the content they watch and change their behavior accordingly. Children exposed to violent programs showed later that they had attention disorders as compared to those children who were only exposed to educational programs where the attention disorder did not come up as an issue (Christakis, 2004). Overall the study showed that educational program viewing of children does help them learn for their later years but if what they mostly view is negative violent content, it would lead to problems later in their lives not just in their cognitive skills but also academics. (Kirkorian, 2008)
Impact of Television viewing on Increasing Violence among Children:
In an analysis by Greenberg et al. (1980), on antisocial behavior and pro-social behavior on television, it was seen that the most common anti social act was aggression shown verbally, whereas the most common pro-social behavior was altruistic such as acts of helping, sharing and cooperation. It was also said that this behavior occurred at the same rate on television, which was 14 times per hour (Greenberg et al., 1980). Children were said to watch television for the following reasons: to pass time, to combat loneliness, for excitement, to relax, and to learn (Greenberg, 1974)
Bowler (1984) suggested that television violence alone may not affect a child as much as television violence combined with other factors that they come across does. For children in the U.S. aggression, problems related to academics, unpopularity at school and viewing violence are factors that they most commonly face and these factors give an accumulated stimulus to the level of aggression in the child. (Bower, 1984)
It was also seen that the link between viewing violent programs and expressing violence as an outcome was seen more commonly among Finnish boys. This indicates that television violence can affect children even in countries with a limited number of violent shows, he says. Finnish girls, he adds, may be more encouraged to inhibit aggressive behavior stimulated by violence viewing than are boys. (Bower, 1984)
There are research conducted in which there are aggression and violence cause by watching Television. There are different variations in aggression one is mild aggression and other are such type of aggression which lead to criminal violence. (Messner, 1986)
A variety of studies have been carried out in order to understand the cause and effect relationship between television viewing and the behavior it generates in children. The major studies conducted have comprised of content related to aggression and violence, and the relation of it with children's behavior. The rest comprise of topics such as the attention span of children and its relation to television, the cognitive ability of children, the positive and negative effects of television on social behavior and attitudes, and also some revealing therapeutic effects that television may possess. (Hopkins and Mullis, 1985)
In the movie, Elizabeth Town, there are various scenes showing the behavior of a child that has been triggered by watching violent and destructive videos on television. Initially the child seems to be a Quiet one, but as we watch ahead we see how television and lack of parental guidance affect his behavior and show signs of aggression. At one point the child throws all the dinner food off the table for the dogs to attack on. Followed by another event where he sneaks out and tries to drive the car on his own. In a family gathering he suddenly begins to scream in order to disturb everyone or maybe gain attention. These were a few obvious signs showing the impact of Television on that child's behavior, from which we can derive the effects of Television and Media, generally over children. (Crowe. C, 2005)
In U.S people were not sure whether media violence really affects behavior of a child, but suddenly the concern for it increased as children tend to play "copycat" games a 12 year old boy killed a 6 year old girl as he was copying things he had seen in professional wrestling. Events like these lead to the making of public policies for media violence. This was one of the biggest researches in the field of child behavior related to media violence. A sample of 5000 12 years old children was taken from 23 countries which included kids from urban, rural areas as well as the refugee camps. Almost 99 percent of the children were exposed to media. National Television Violence Study stated, almost all the children programs have violent content and it was observed that in an hour show, violent scenes occurred at least 20 times which increases the frequency of watching violence in children's programs promoting aggression in children. Due to this content V-chips were introduced in order to restrict the material children watch. (Gentile. D. A, et.al, 2007)
The key contextual features related to media violence include; Firstly, an act of violence that goes unpunished is more likely to spread aggression as compared to an act of violence well punished. Secondly, exposure to weapons in media programs tends to drive aggressive and belligerent behavior amongst the youngsters which results in desensitization. Lastly, the advancement of graphic effects not only promotes aggression but also generates fear in children's minds. (J. Barbara, et.al, 2002)
Emotional content directly affects the children and they also feel what a certain character is feeling and why is he feeling that way more over they can have a sense of empathy with the content characters. Also media content can generate fear among children and is also the reason to emotionally upset them for instance breaking news has negative emotional affect on children. Children watch violent content and then try to reenact it in their games they play with friends which increases aggressive behavior in them. More over television content also affects the social behavior of children, educational and comic content has positive effect on children like generating self love. The researcher concludes by giving instructions to the parents that they should control what their children watch on television. (Wilson, 2008)
This study talks about the change in social behavior of children and the effect on their attention from commercials and placement. The study shows that less attention is paid to advertisements following the first advertisement. Children might exhibit violent behavior even if they don't watch violent programs because of rapid movement of scenes .Children watching high salience commercials (high violence commercials) were more violent then children viewing low salience commercials. The change of scenes quickly, high pace can effect arousal in children and have impact on their imaginative thinking, increases aggressive behavior. Children watching action movies are more violent than children who watched less action movies. The study was conducted as an experiment in a controlled environment. (Greer et al., 1982)
Children and Affect on Intra Family Behavior:
In a study by Resik et al. (1977) a relationship between advertising and intra family behavior was found. By giving self administered questionnaires to 109 mothers, they found that younger children were much more strong influencers in purchasing as compared to the older ones. But in this pattern of influence it was also seen that mothers who have a habit of watching television and who also like advertisements on television are more prone to getting influenced by the child as compared to mothers who do not like commercials or do not watch television that frequently. It was also seen that children pointed out that 78% of the toys that they had requested for were the ones that they had seen on television first. The remaining learned about them from their friends and other peers. A relationship formed from this was that with more television viewing in children the chances of increased encounter with such television advertisements also increase. (Resik et al, 1977)
Parent and children relationship today have become less and less interactive; parents are not giving the quantity and quality of time a child integrally need for social development. (Brody et al, 1980)
It is estimated that family member of a family spend his/her 10 years of life on television. It is investigated that the television viewing impacts the behavior of children, both in internal and external way. It was observe on laboratory that violence have directly impacted the children and the behavior changes and thus violence behavior because of watching television. It is believed that the attitude of children vary and is influenced by parents attitude. (Christopher et al., 1989)
A major chunk of elementary school going children which fall in the age bracket of 8-10 years, spend almost 3hours 41 minutes in watching TV, excluding one hour of video gaming every day. Parents have been overlooking this issue of the amount being spent by their children on media use and this trend had been rising significantly over the past years. Children ranging from 8-10 years are in the critical phase of development which needs to be safeguarded by their parents. This is the age when a child needs complete attention from the parents end, in order to make sure the media is not affecting the thinking process of a child as in this age children tend to make their own decisions, and the content they view on TV might affect their way of thinking. Special attention is required for children as they are learning the norms and values of the society as well and too much exposure to media may be a hindrance for the child to learn. As a child thinks whatever they see on Television happens in real life cases as well. Parental monitoring is necessary for children, content that is for adults should be screened out and parents should also limit the media exposure towards violence and sexual content. (Gentile. D. A., et.al, 2012)
This journal highlights the issue of targeting children in advertisements, a trend which began in the mid 1960's (Dor, 1980). The problem raised was more of an ethical one rather than a legal one however. While voluntary guidelines were adopted prohibiting advertisers from instructing children to ask their parents for an advertised product, research indicates that the ads have an impact on children and results in them asking their parents for the product nevertheless, specifically, animated features and jingles have been found to result in a positive impact on children. In fact, research has even shown that young children develop affection for heavily promoted product characters. Interestingly, and perhaps unsurprisingly, the above assertion that children are in fact swayed and influenced by advertisement is backed by two other researches into the matter, both of which conclude that providing more exposure to children results in a higher number of requests children make. Dangers of this form of advertisement to children however is also pointed out that where adults have the ability to reason, and thus notice exaggerations and spot missing information in advertisements, children do not. Long term effects on children that stem from this is that television ads targeting children creates a desire in those children to buy the advertised product (Heyel, 1970). When they are not gratified by their parents, it results in frustration in both the child and the parents apart from resulting in disappointment if the advertised product is not as good as it was made out to be. (Paine, 1984)
This journal talks about how television is the most powerful source of influencing children and how it has a high chance to being able to effect children whose minds are not developed enough to cope with what is being shown (Goldberg, 1988).It tells us how the way the parents are also influence these behaviors. Children whose parents are too busy or are unable to give the child the attention that need tend to look into other ways of socializing as compared to those that closely monitor their children's activities and are aware of everything since they keep monitoring their TV viewing patterns and keep a close eye on how they react to certain things they watch on television (Baumrind, 1978).
It is seen that while watching TV together there is little or no communication among majority of the family members included in the sample size. There are conflicts between children and parents while children are watching TV and it is supper time, either the parents have changed supper hour, or they win the conflict. Another insight found was that TV viewing while having food has helped children in digestion as they chew slowly and are not in a fuss. Children's bed time also get extended as children might be watching a program and do not want to sleep which creates a conflict between parents and children. Being attached to a TV program has increased the homework efficiency for children as parents make rules and reward children that if they complete their homework they will get to watch their favorite show on TV. Many parents believed TV has made it easier to take care of children at home. Parents think that Television sets have no disadvantages at all. (Maccoby, 1951)