Children’s Television

By Grace Freds

Television gets blamed for everything from suicides to teenage pregnancies to violent crimes to ruining our eyesight. Some people say watching television makes children too passive and others say it is making children too aggressive. Since the beginning of time, children have been problems. They fought with their siblings, disrespected their parents, and developed "anti-social" attitudes. What reasonable person can blame television for something that happened thousands of years before its invention. Blaming television for passive children is like blaming the refrigerator for fat people. Its not really the machine’s fault, but they way people use it. Television offers a variety of programs such as balanced diet, dramas, sports, movies music, home shopping, and a whole lot of programs. We cannot ignore it. We only need to be television literate. Depending on how we use it can either stimulate our creativity or stifle it. What television does to children depends on what parents and children do with television. A child that want so learn about politics or economics can certainly use television and so could a criminal who wants to pick up tips on committing crimes.

OTHER INFLUENCES OTHER THAN TELEVISION:

    1. Parents, 2) Schools, 3) Peers, 4) Churches, and 5) Society in general (the environment)

QUESTIONS ASKED TO CHILDREN.

Why do you like Television? Their answer was ‘’because it gives variety shows to watch’’.

Which Television shows have curse words?

The Simpson

Wrestling

Family Guy

Mostly reality television shows.

Survival

Bachelor

Jerry Springer

Bachelorette.

What attracts you to watch Television? Children individually answered ‘’action, funning, cartoon, science fiction, stories and sometimes, the characters

Do you find Television exciting? Their answer was ‘’yes, sometimes’’.

Do you learn from television? ‘’Yes because it teaches that stealing is wrong’’.

How to read

How to fight

Knowing between good from evil.

To be obedient.

Another child answered thus: ‘’I like television because it moves and it has lots of colors and songs. ‘’ I like songs’’. To the question, ‘’Have you learnt from television? He answered ‘’ of course’’. ‘’I learnt how to grow up and how to make friends’’. This child watches very little television. When he does, he watches videos or selected children’s shows. Of particular interest was that he was conscious of having learned from television and that he knows why he was attracted to it. Most children are aware of television’s special teaching powers but don’t always have the ability or opportunity to express what they know. Give the chance even high school children will explain why they like television and what it teaches them.

What goes on with you when you are watching television? ‘’ Nothing, if it is happy it is happy and if it is sad it is sad.’’

What sort of mental activity are you engaging in while viewing? ‘’There is no mental activity that goes on. We just watch and see movements and only say cool if it is a fun program. We jump if it is very exciting to us’’.

What effect might your involvement with this particular form of mental activity, so different from all other waking activities, have on your mental development? ‘’There is no adverse effect’’.

Suppose there wasn’t any television, what do you think you would do with the time now spent watching television? ‘’ The child would be playing in some form or another if he or she were not watching television’’.

MOST SERIOUS CHARGES MADE ABOUT TELEVISION

Television is brutalizing our children. It encourages aggression and desensitizes our children by the constant exposure to violence.

Children imitate undesirable behavior they see on television.

These all point to one word TV "Violence."

I will say, that there is too much violence on television because there IS too much violence in real life. Basically television shows activities of real life actors dramatized them to make their money. Also the newscasters show real life violent actions during News Time. We all know that children experiment on virtually everything, so on their own they will practicalize what they watch on television.

Television doesn’t make children violent, but an aggressive child might turn to violent television shows. It is unfortunate that violence is often shown as an acceptable solution to problems. Since there is violence in real life, it would be unrealistic to ban it from television because children/adults seek out television programs that fit in with the way they look at the world, and who exactly they are. It is possible that viewing some violence lets children and adults alike vent violent feelings vigorously.

TV Encourages Promiscuity

There is too much sex on television. Children are robbed of their childhood and forced to grow up too soon. This could be avoided if parents and educators do their jobs. More so, parents are responsible for deciding which television programs are acceptable.

TV Encourages Zombies

Society believes that television discourages reading and displaces other productive activities. They say that children have shorter attention spans, and cant concentrate, because, they are used to passive television viewing. Most children that watch television are Loners.

I recommend that parents find out what their problems are and find ways to solve them.

TV Promotes Stereotypes

It has been charged that television promotes racism, ageism, and sexism by portraying stereotypes of minority groups, women, and elderly. Blacks are seldom shown in positions of authority. Senior citizens are shown as incompetent, sickly, confused, and bumbling and television reinforces the outdated view of women as meant primarily for child rearing and house cleaning.

ACCEPABLE TELEVISION RESEARCH PROGRAMS

Below are some of the acceptable television shows for children by the society for children:

Sesame Street Dinosaurs Teletubbies

Bananas in Pajamas Creature Features The Saddle Club

Blues Clues Play School Whoosh Petals

Children’s Broad Band.

All these do not bring about the same sort of cognitive gains that real-life linguistic experiences provide. Often time’s children understand the content of the program and therefore cannot apply it to real life situations.

ADVANTAGES OF TELEVISION VIEWING

Here are some importances of television watching:

Television could also help children develop an awareness of local and world events.

Television motivates some children who are not motivated by anything else. Television watching helps children to become active rather than passive viewers.

Television helps them build problem solving skills

Television helps children analyze and interpret information.

Television helps enrich not only children but also adult’s vocabulary. Not everyone has time to read books, dictionaries but watching the television educational/social programs that do not use vulgar languages helps a lot.

Television also helps to develop listening skills. There is a whole lot of concentration when one is watching television. You listen more and speak less. Gradually that way one develops sense of listening. I know that most people in the society do not have the patience to listen to others but would want others to listen to them.

Television helps to gain a better understanding of other cultures. As so many programs are aired, they depict different cultures of different countries such as their music, language, dressing, food, believes, education and so on.

Therefore helping children watch television will help them to become an informed consumer. People who are not aware of what is going on in the society. Too, they will be able to be distinguished fact from opinion, prejudice and propaganda.

PARENT’S RESPONSIBILITIES

Three major ways parents can use television for their children are:

Talk to children about television and their choice of television programs. This means that the parents will have to have time to watch whatever children watch to be able to talk about the programs effectively with the children.

Set a striker schedule for television viewing if homework starts to suffer or the child becomes non-social and lackadaisical.

USE TELEVISION TO TEACH THEM

One of the parents’ responsibilities is to use television to teach children different subjects such as English Language (Language Arts). Television enriches the vocabulary of children and helps them communicate more effectively. Point at the television screen and name what is used in your children’s favorite show, to be sure that they understand them.

Use television themes to teach children phonics, vowel sounds, and constant blends. For example, have your children list all shows or characters that begin with an "R" sound.

Use television to teach parts of speech such as nouns; name of a person, place or thing e.g. Lassie, Superman, Spiderman, extra verbs: - actions word: - such as barks, flies have them match them up. For example, superman flies.

Encourage them to interview family members, friends, and classmates on current events, specific shows, and write a report of their opinion on their own reviews and so on.

TO TEACH SOCIAL STUDIES: - Religion, forms of government, natural resources, climate, urban and rural history, civics, economics, current events, math’s, sciences, music, values, arts.

MEASURE TAKEN BY THE GOVERNMENT

On August 8, 1996, the Federal Communications Commission adopted a report and order amending its children’s educational and informational television programming requirements to strengthen its enforcement of the Children’s Television Act of 1990 ("CTA"). First, the Commission adopted requirements designed to provide better information to the public about the shows broadcaster air to fulfill their obligation under the CTA to air programming "specifically designed to serve the educational and informational needs of the children" (or "core programming"). Second, the commission adopted a definition of "core programming" that provides better guidance to broadcasters about what programs fulfill their statutory obligation to air programming "specifically designed" to educate and inform children. Third, to provide certainty to broadcasters about how to comply with the CTA and to facilitate the Commission’s processing guideline pursuant to which a broadcaster can receive staff-level approval of its renewal application by airing either at least three hours per week of core programming, or somewhat less than three hours per week of such programming but otherwise demonstrating an equivalent level of commitment to educating children.

CONCLUSION

In conclusion, television viewing for children is not inappropriate. Children only need parent’s guidance on the appropriate shows to watch and when to stare at the television screen. Secondly parents should make it a point of duty to watch what their children in order to talk or educate them about their choice of television shows adequately. Thirdly, parents should cease the opportunity of their children television show viewing to teach them skills that will be very useful to them in life. While doing the above, parents to necessarily schedule their children’s television viewing to allow time for them to exercise their bodies in form of play.

 

References:

Cooney, Joan Ganz. (2004, April). Children Educational Television. [13 paragraphs].

        Online. Available at Federal Communications Commission web site.

Lauryn Axelrod. (1997). TV–Proof Your Kids: A Parent’s Guide to safe and

        Healthy Viewing. Secaucus, NJ. Citadel Press.

Marie Winn. (2002). The plug-in Drug: Television, Computers and family life

        New York. Penguin Books.

Milton Chen. (1996). The Smart Parent’s Guide to Kids’ TV. San Francisco.

        KQED Books.

Nicholas A. Roes. (1992). Helping Children Watch TV. (A practical handbook

        with more than 100 TV-related learning activties). New York. Roes Nar

        Publications.

Peter Gutmann. (2004, April). Children’s Television Obligations [14 paragraphs].

        Online Serial. Available at Womble Carlyle web pages.

William Richter. (2004, April). Action For Children’s Television. [5 paragraphs].

        Online. Available at Federal Communications Commission web site.

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