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Televisionand Children

Consumptionof television programs has drastically risen in the recent past. Asnoted by Gunter, Oates &amp Blades. The U.S. is on the notableconsumer of television programming (5-6). By the end of 1970s morethan 96% of homesteads in the US had a minimum of one set oftelevision, and on average it was approximated that the televisionsets were turned on for more than six hours per day. In the beginningof the millennium it was estimated that the number of television setsin the United Sates were more than the number of telephones andtoilets. Today, 99% of homes in the US have a television set andevidently children born in the country have the potential of beingexposed to television programming nearly immediately after birth andfor the rest of the lives, and interrelating frequently with othertelevision viewers (Parsons 1). Violence in television has elicitedconcerns about its potential detrimental impacts on children. Themedia, and especially plays a crucial role in the development ofbeliefs, cultural orientations, world view and global distribution ofvalues and images. Consequently, there have been a raised number ofcases related to violent crimes, though increased televisionpenetration cannot be singled out as the only factor which has raisedthe level of violence among children. Based on this, the paper willcandidly examine the effects ofwatchingtelevision, advertisements, violence and on children.

Rapidbrain development take place between the ages of 5 and 16, and thisperiod in very crucial since what is learnt and internalize plays amajor role in shaping the character and behavior of a child. At thisperiod of early childhood and growth, the social interaction,including the experiences and language exposure form an integral partin the providing a basis for self awareness and personality.Averagely, children in the U.S. spend 1680 minutes watchingtelevision every week, and this has a notable impact regarding thedevelopment of children. First there is an increasing rate of violentprograms on television, since they are deemed to be the mostattractive to people and likely to lure more viewers (Gunter, Oates &ampBlades 5). Consequently, a lot of the programs that are viewed arelikely to inculcate violent tendencies in these young brains thathave not fully developed. Their young minds are continuously exposedto criminal activities and violence on television programs and itbecomes more and more common to them that violence and crime is theway of life. With time these children identify themselves with thesecharacters that they consider as their heroes and adopt theirbehaviors and tendencies. In adult hood it becomes increasinglydifficult to alter the mindset of a child that has grown in anenvironment where violent and crime is the order of the day (Bener 67).

Fromthe earliest moment in life children start to learn basics of alanguage. One of the notable factors which influence theirdevelopment is verbal interaction with their parent and those withintheir surroundings. Television has effectively taken the place ofparents and caregivers and a child primarily derives the fundamentalsof language and life from these violent programs that form the mainpart of television programs (Kids Health 1). At school the child willinteract with other children who have watched similar programs and inthe end violence and crime become a part and parcel of their life.The contents on the television will adversely affect the cognitivedevelopment of a child predisposing a child to violent and criminalactivities identical to those of their adored characters in theirfavorite television programs. Consequently the society continues tomire in social misdemeanor due to lack of proper child developmentand guidance bout the most important aspects of life, and values andbeliefs that form an integral part of the society. Watchingtelevision invariably consumes a lot of that can be used in otherimportant duties. Every time a child in watching television otheractivities such as playing, socializing with other children andreceiving feedback on activities are displaced. Most of theadvertisements on television are meant to promote the consumption ofa certain commodity or use of a given service. Television provides anexcellent audience for businesses that want to improve their share inthe market by luring prospective consumers (Kids Health 1). Mostconspicuously of the advertisement s are promoting alcoholconsumption. A lack of clear policies on contents of advertisementhas created a viable ground for alcohol producing and selling firmsto deceive the consumer about the benefits of alcohol. As said abovechildren form a substantial viewer’s base for most of thetelevision programs and as such they continually watch advertisementpromoting use of alcohol and other intoxicating beverages (Bener 66).

Whenadvertising associate’s alcohol with lifestyle that is attractiveto children it may lure them into consuming alcohol to fit in thatstature. Research has revealed that alcohol advertising hassignificant effect on young people’s brand preference, even beforethey reach the age of the majority or they become regular drinkers.Additionally, evidence show that young people (below the age of 18)expectancies about alcohol are strongly influenced by advertising. Inmost of alcohol advertisements alcohol drinking is shown in positivecontexts such as parties, eating out and celebrations. On the otherhand the negative attributes of drinking alcohol such as poor healthand drunkenness are conspicuously left out. Drinking is portrayed asan acceptable social behavior especially when celebrities who appealto young children are used to endorse the product (Gunter, Oates &ampBlades 9). Most importantly the use of popular television charactersfrom what is perceived as children’s programs makes it hard forthese young minds to distinguish between programs and advertisement.Young children are particularly prone to advertising because theyhave limited knowledge about the intention of the advertisers and thewhole process of preparing and creating an advertisement. Evidenceshow that exposure to alcohol advertising increases the chances thata child will start drinking and in effect drink more if they do,which affects their health an increases risk to violence, car crash,unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases (Parsons 1).

Theuse of television in most of children’s educational and socialsetting has become a common global trend. In fact absence of suchfacilities in homes and learning institutions where children spendmost of their time is regarded as a disadvantage. However, there isincreasing concern over the amount of time spent in watchingtelevision and the content that is prevalent in programs that areviewed y young children. The amount of time spent with suchtechnologies has immense impacts on the physical and mental wellbeingof a child. In the United States overweight and child obesity arefactors number one that contribute to onset of type 2 diabetes amongthe young children and other related health problems. Televisioncontents affect children lifestyle choice to a great extent. Mostnotably children’s eating habits and consumption of high caloriefood. Since young children lack cognitive ability to distinguish realfrom fiction the actions of popular television personalities becomethe landmark from where they base their choices and lifestyle(Parsons 1). Additionally, spending too much time watching televisionis linked with sedentary life that is closely associated withdiabetes. Lack of physical activity that is an integral part ofsedentary lifestyle is one of the leading factors that causeoverweight and obesity. Children’s vision is primarily susceptibleto problems due to the spending excessive time in front of a screenand because children do not report they are experiencing problemswith their vision

Fromthe aforementioned it’s clear that, consumption of televisionprograms has a significant role in increasing violence among childrenas well as other negative effects like resulting to raised number ofobese cases among others. This is because watching televisioninvariably consumes a lot of that can be used in other importantduties. Every time a child in watching television other activitiessuch as playing, socializing with other children and receivingfeedback on activities are displaced. Therefore, there is the needfor governments and stakeholders such as the parents, teachers andcaregivers to educate the children as well as the public on ways inwhich this can be averted before becoming a global crisis.


Bener,Abdulbari, et al. &quotAssociation between Childhood ComputerUse,Television and Risk of Obesity and Low Vision.&quot (2007):66-72.

GunterBarrie, Caroline Oates, Mark Blades. Advertisingto Children on TV: Content, Impact, and Regulation.Routledge, 2004

KidsHealth. HowTV Affects Your Child.Available athttp://kidshealth.org/parent/positive/family/tv_affects_child.html

ParsonsTim. Alcohol ads reaching too many young people in TV markets acrossUS. ScienceDaily. Available atwww.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131107132620.htm