Television has become a very important aspect of media at homes, for all generations. With their ability to cater to the needs of all sections and its availability 24 hours a day, has resulted in almost everyone getting hooked to it for varied reasons and durations. The increasing number of TV channels, have only redefined television viewing, with many TV channels exclusively devoted to specific subjects or groups like news, music, fashion, technology and of course children. The developments in technology have not only made televisions cheaper, but also the possibility of transmitting globally. It is difficult to imagine a life without television today.
However television is not without its drawbacks particularly with children. According to a home survey by Annenberg, a child in the US spends about 25 hours per week on an average in front of the television. This includes the use of VCR too. Spending more time with television results in lesser time with homework and social interaction, leading to poor school performance. Late night TV watching exhausts children and they cannot concentrate in school the next day. Television promotes negative and violent behavior in children through its programs. Even programs aimed specifically for children involve violence. It has been estimated that an average child would watch about 8000 murders in TV before completing elementary school.
Only very few programs aim at providing relevant academic skills to children. However children spend considerably less time watching programs dedicated to education like mathematics, problem solving, science etc., while they spend more time with non educational programs like commercials and cartoons. Children on an average, watch about 20,000 commercials a year. Advertisers of food products and fast food restaurants are the biggest advertisers for children on television. These junk food advertisements increases the intake sweets and snacks which have adverse health effects on children, particularly among those who are already at risk. A study by Liverpool University has identified a clear link between increasing obesity in children and TV advertisements of junk foods.
Although television cannot be done away with or be replaced, it is high time something is done to check its ill effects. More social awareness need to be created among people to realize television’s negative effects on children. Stricter controls on programs and advertisements, in line with research and other findings must be implemented to see our children grow healthy and wise.
Miller, Daphne. Televisions effect’s on kids: It can be harmful August 20, 1999. [Electronic Version] Downloaded on 2nd November, 2008 from