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The Cause and Effect of Television on Kids

“All television is educational television. The question is: what is it teaching?” Nicholas Johnson once said (Quote Garden). In a recent Time Magazine Poll 53 percent of respondents said that they think the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) should place stricter controls on broadcast-channel shows depicting sex and violence. 68 percent believe the entertainment industry has lost touch with viewers' moral standards. 66 percent said there is too much violence on open-air TV, 58 percent said too much cursing and 50 percent said there is too much sexual content on TV. 49 percent say FCC regulation should be extended to cover basic cable. This is a summary of recent statistics according to the Parent Television Council (Parents television council ). As Paddy Chayevsky put it, “It’s the menace that everyone loves to hate but can’t seem to live without (Quote Garden).” In today’s world where you can access live TV on your cell phone, stream the internet on your television, and play video games with a camera there is just no end to technology which makes it impossible to ignore technology and even more impossible to supervise it. Kyla Boyse took a recent poll and came up with that on average, kids from ages 6-11 watch 28 hours of TV a week (Boyse). TV is a huge influence among children because of peer pressure and no adult supervision which can cause both positive and negative effects, including: promote or deteriorate brain development, physical inactivity, and create violent or aggressive behavior.

In general, kids and teens already have a hard time with peer pressure about drugs and sex, which makes the emphasis on daily things not seem like peer pressure at all. But everything a child does can be linked to peer pressure like, the food they eat, the sports they play, and even the television shows they watch. The peer pressure to watch certain television shows can cause children and teens to develop stereotypes (Boyse). In the book, Raising Kids God’s Way Kathi Hudson claims, “No child is immune to peer pressure (Notable Quotes).”Children and teens can become very stereotypical and acquire the behavior and the attitudes of the actors and actresses that they see on the TV. Our whole lives we strive to fit it with the people around us. It is very hard for children today to be their own person. The impact of TV on a child depends on the amount of television watched, the age and personality of the child, whether they are alone or with an adult while watching, and if they communicate about what they see on TV (Media Awarness Network ). As referred to by Frank Lloyd Wright, “Television: Chewing gum for the eyes (Quote Garden).” These factors can prevent, limit or increase the negative effects on a child.

Parents, after all, have a huge role to play in their child’s life. They are a role model. They are a friend. They are the boss. What parents do or say can affect a child. Children tend to pick up on their parents habits. For parents, it is crucial that they establish good habits for their children’s sake and establish rules for their children. Anonymously, someone said, “By the time we decide a television program is something the children should not see, we are too interested to turn it off (Quotations on Media and Children ).” TV watching is probably one of the most important things to supervise for a child. Nowadays, parents do not play their part to help promote a supervised TV life style for younger children. Both parents usually work in today’s world, which makes it hard to supervise what children watch on TV. The wise words of Bart Simpson, “It’s hard not to listen to TV: It’s spent so much more time raising us then you have (Quotations on Media and Children ).” Parents do not communicate with their children about what is wrong about what they see on TV and why. For children, this makes the things that they see on TV appear to be okay or acceptable. For instance, Teen Mom and 16 and Pregnant make the life of girls who are not ready to be mothers, appear to be simple. The Jersey Shore, which people as young as 13 watches, glamorizes the party life. Many rules that are set tend to lack stability, because children are smart enough to find the loop holes in the rules. They can simply go to a friend’s house and watch what they like there because that parent may not have rules set up for their own children (Boyse) .

As a result, the amount of TV time for children can interfere with or promote brain development and their behaviors. For instance, a child who watches educational programs their brain development will increase but for a child who watches non-educational programs their brain development is more likely to slow down, or even decrease. TV cuts into reading time and reading creates more brain simulation. TV can cause illiteracy. If people spend more time in front of a TV than reading then they lose the ability to stimulate their brain activity. Groucho Marx says, “I find television to be very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go in the other room and read a book (Quote Garden).” TV can also cause violent and aggressive behaviors in children and also cause desensitization because TV glamorizes and humorizes the violent acts. However the news is the most surreal thing for a child. Jean Ilsley Clarke points out, “By the age of 18, the average child has witnessed 200,000 acts of violence, including 18,000 simulated murders, on television. It is not always easy to provide clear, consistent structure for children, but providing it often helps keep children safe and helps them grow to be responsible adults (Quotations on Media and Children ).” Most violent acts go unpunished on TV and are often accompanied by humor. The consequences of human suffering and loss are rarely depicted (Boyse). A 15-year long study by University of Michigan researchers found that the link between childhood TV-violence viewing and aggressive and violent behavior persists into adulthood. A 17-year long study found that teenage boys who grew up watching more TV each day are more likely to commit acts of violence than those who watched less (Boyse).

Subsequently, TV time can cause the lack of physical activity which can lead to child obesity and other health problems. Child obesity is very common in today’s world. Laurence J. Peter even said, “Television has changed the American child from an irresistible force to an immovable object (Quotations on Media and Children ).” Children can no longer go outside and play without an adult, TV has taken the spot of physical activity. The lack of activity can cause the metabolism to slow down. Eventually, a child will burn more calories sleeping then throughout the day (Boyse). Physical inactivity in children can cause other more serious health problems like diabetes. Tim Holden clarifies, “While approximately one in every 400 children and adolescents have Type I diabetes; recent Government reports indicate that one in every three children born in 2000 will suffer from obesity, which as noted is a predominant Type II precursor (Brainy Quote).” Food and drink companies target these children through television commercials and ads right after school when most children are watching TV after school. Many TV ads encourage unhealthy eating habits. Two- thirds of the 20,000 TV ads an average child sees each year are for good and most are for high-sugar foods (Boyse). Physical inactivity and TV watching are most associated with the overweight risk in children (Boyse). A high BMI can introduce itself in overweight children and can carry over into adult hood if the problem is not confronted (Boyse). TV can also cause sleep problems in children and promote greater alcohol use and kids are more likely to smoke, all because of TV. Tobacco television ads are banned from TV but the industry uses subtle strategies to advertise their product. Infants and toddlers who watch TV have more irregular sleep schedules and teens who watch three or more hours of TV per day had higher risks of sleep problems by early adulthood. Many studies have shown that alcoholic drinks are the most common beverage portrayed on TV, and that they are almost never shown in a negative light.

Over all, television is a huge influence in today’s young generations because it can cause positive and negative effects. TV in moderation and with supervision can solve the problems that television creates. Parents should take action and learn more about what they can do for their children’s sake. Step up and spread the word. In the book, Golden Apples of the Sun by Ray Bradbury, he states, “The television, that insidious beast, that Medusa which freezes a billion people to stone every night, staring fixedly, that Siren which called and sang and promised so much and gave, after all, so little (Quote Garden).” In Ready or Not, by Kay S. Hymowitz, she says, “And as parents and the home lose some of their hold on the imagination, senses and emotions, children naturally turn elsewhere for spiritual and psychic sustenance. They find it in the media and its indomitable infantry, the peer group (Quotations on Media and Children ).”


Works Cited
Boyse, Kyla. University Of Michigan Health System. August 2010. 7 February 2011 <http://www.med.umich.edu/yourchild/topics/tv.htm>.
Brainy Quote. brainyquote.com. 2001=2011. 16 February 2011 <http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/obesity.html>.
Media Awarness Network . MAN. 2010. 7 February 2011 <http://www.media-awareness.ca/english/parents/television/tv_impact_kids.cfm>.
Notable Quotes. notable quotes. 16 February 2011 <http://www.notable-quotes.com/p/peer_pressure_quotes.html>.
Parents television council . PTC. 1998-2011. 14 February 2011 <http://www.parentstv.org/ptc/facts/mediafacts.asp>.
Prader, Jason. eHow. 30 April 2010. 7 February 2011 <http://www.ehow.com/list_6403313_effects-reality-tv-children.html>.
Quotations on Media and Children . Quotations on Media and Children . 16 February 2011 <http://www.zona-pellucida.com/media.html>.
Quote Garden. quote garden. 9 September 2010. 16 February 2011 <http://www.quotegarden.com/television.html>.



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