Television and Children
Television and Children
For years pediatricians, psychologist as well as parents have debated whether television (TV) should be eliminated from the daily lives of younger children. The internet is filled with numerous articles and websites devoted to either supporting the parents that chose to let their children watch television or by providing an increasing amount of information that proves how detrimental allowing children to watch TV can be. The same can be said in regards to the numerous websites and experts that support the decision that allows children to watch TV which in fact, can be beneficial for their development and academic learning. Educational programming along with set times and guidelines can be an asset to learning in children by encouraging cognitive skills while improving academic abilities. Content Matters
It is the responsibility of the parent to monitor what his or her child is watching. What children are watching on TV is directly related to what they are learning. Age appropriate content is content that is specifically programmed for children under a particular age bracket. For example, a program rated TV –Y is aimed at children ages 2-6. According to the TV Parental Guidelines ("TV Parental Guidelines", 2009) programming under this guideline is suitable for children ages 2-6 and is not expected to frighten children or be violent in nature. Children should not watch content that is considered violent or sexual in nature. Such content would be labeled TV-M, which is aimed at a mature audience. What is acceptable for an adult is not suitable for a child, especially a young one.
It is imperative that children under the age of seven watch programming that focuses on prosocial behavior (behavior that focuses on sharing, helping, taking turns and being kind to others). It is through prosocial behavior that a child learns to interact and socialize with others. It helps them build and expand on friendships and relationships, which in turn helps them understand the complexities of different relationships and how to react to a negative situation and or social experience (Gordion 2012). Prosocial programming is easily accessible through networks such as Sesame Street, Nick Jr., Disney, Discovery Kids and PBS sponsored programs. These networks are designed to promote prosocial behavior, as well as educational learning. The content shown is aimed at younger viewers, is age appropriate, stimulating, fun and educational. Educational Programming
Educational programming stimulates learning and reinforces creativity. It teaches the use of numbers and alphabet through visual stimulation, music and dance. Educational programming and or content promotes social and cognitive development. Shows such as Sesame Street, Dora the Explorer, Bubble Guppies etc., target letter and number recognition, geometric shapes and relational concepts (Wainwright, 2006) which helps children with vocabulary, math and science. Numerous studies have proven that preschool aged children who are exposed to Sesame Street and their counterparts fare better in a linguistic standpoint than children who do not watch educational programming (Wainwright, 2006).
Educational television capitalizes on the way younger children learn. When using symbols and objects children are transported to a fun fantasy land that allows them to learn. The vivid colors, songs and tempo capture not just their attention but their imagination as well. In this scenario, repetition leads to mastering. By using animated objects, stories are told in a logical order that follow a task to completion, thus making the child feel accomplished. Without realizing it, the child will have engaged in critical thinking, which is crucial to his or her development. Because children within the pre-school age group have a low retention, they fail to realize the repetitive sequence within what they are watching. It is within the song...
References: Gordion, G. (2012). Sesame Workshop.
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Odland, J. (2004, summer). Television and Children. Childhood Education, 80(4), 206B, 06C.
Tv Parental Guidelines. (2009). Retrieved from http://www.tvguidelines.org/ratings.html
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