Effects of TV on Children

Sitting in school, little Jane sits anxiously watching the clock. The teacher is talking to the class, but Jane just can't wait to get home. When the bell finally rings, she runs out of the classroom, and all the way home. After blasting in the house, she runs to turn on the TV. Having nothing more exciting to do, Jane will sit in front of the television until her mom pulls her away for dinner. This is an all to familiar scenario in many American homes today. What many people don't realize are the problems that can develop from young children watching too much TV. Many emerging dilemmas are resulting from this concern. When a young child with a maturing brain sits in front of the TV for several hours every day, it can instigate loss of creativity, impatience, and violence further along down the road.

The ability to be creative is an important factor in the development of a young child's mind. By sitting down and watching TV for a couple hours, the child is entertained, but is also not thinking. Information in spoon-fed to them, so when it comes time to read a book in school, some can have a hard time grasping ideas. They are so used to having images flash before them to provide understanding; they have trouble moving their eyes side to side to gather the information for themselves. With the TV in front of them, supplying amusement, they may never stop to think that putting a puzzle together, or reading a book could also be fun. They could actually become dependent on this one source of fantasy, and never bother to create their own. As the child grows older, it is less likely to put effort into playing with other kids, or taking up a hobby.

While losing creativity, the child can also gain impatience. By having all the stories and facts plastered clear in front of them, they can easily loose interest sitting in a classroom all day. Even during their favorite TV show, there is a brief change of pace in the story line when a commercial comes on, which is about every seven minutes. Their attention spans are being molded by this continuos interruption, causing them to loose focus easily. Research has shown that teachers today are using many more multimedia devices to capture the students attention. Being so used to seeing information provided by the TV, they are more responsive to learning with it in school, and are more likely to remember it. Many links are showing up in studies between Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), and watching too much television in elementary children. This disorder is becoming more common in the classroom, where they have a hard time concentrating.

Along with losing creativity and gaining impatience, the child is more apt to behave violently. They can slowly learn as it is played repeatedly, that they can get what they want by responding with violence. When they see a character shot, or beat someone up so they can steal their car, they may catch on to the idea. They come to expect it in the real world, and when they do not see it, the world becomes bland. The children then may create the violence that their mind craves. A child may also see a villain on TV, and try to test out his tactics to see if they really do work. In California, a seven-year old boy sprinkled ground-up glass in into the stew his family was to eat for dinner. When asked why he did it he replied "I wanted to see if it would be the same as on TV." In Alabama, a nine year old boy was caught putting rat poison on a box of candy that he was going to give to his teacher due to the bad grades he received on his report card. He responded by saying he got the idea form a TV show he watched the night before. These are certainly startling examples of how television violence can affect a child.

Is it surprising to many that statistics show television is the number one after school activity for young children? On an average, kids from six to seventeen watch from three to four hours of TV a day. By the time of