The Negative Effects of Television on Children and Adolescents
Television is one of America's favorite pastimes. It has become almost second nature to turn the TV on because of the need for entertainment, the need to satisfy boredom, or merely for background noise. Many people even leave the TV on while they perform other household duties. Often, children are placed near a TV set while their parents or babysitters tend to other business. Children are instantly attracted to the flashy colors and stimulating sounds provided through television. At a glance, children watching television seems harmless, however, various studies have proven that this is not a harmless activity. According to Pediatrics, "The average child or adolescent watches an average of nearly 3 hours of television per day. By the time the average person reaches age 70, he or she will have spent the equivalent of 7 to 10 years watching television" (1).
This massive amount of time spent viewing television exceeds the amount of time a child will have spent in school.
Naturally, the television provides children with learning much of the time they are watching. However, not all learning is positive. In most cases, children are learning about stereotypes, aggression, and violence on mainstream shows. The effect of TV's negative messages on children is especially direct and harmful. "Children and adolescents are particularly vulnerable to the messages conveyed through television, which influence their perceptions and behaviors" (Pediatrics 1). In children's' psychological development, they do not always assume that what is being viewed on the TV is pretend. The conceptual development of what is "real" and "pretend" is still taking place in childhood and even into early adolescence.
In Psychology and the Media: A Second Look, it is stated that "Graphic portrayals of explicit violence and brutal sexuality have exploded in the recent years in virtually all aspects...