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18.04.2019 Opinion

The Abc Of Watching Television By Kids

Kuoru Wiayuga Jamaldeen

It is hard to avoid television if you are a kid. People in the house are usually tuned in to TV – siblings as well as parents. In some homes, the television is perpetually “on” even without anyone watching. It is common for parents and caregivers to use TV as a substitute babysitter. Also, many parents buy videos that they think can make their kids smart.

But how does watching TV really affect children?
Many might think that watching television is the best of entertainment as they get to watch what they want at any time forgetting the negativity this activity can cause.

In watching television, we may say we learn a lot as we watch educative programs like quizzes, debates and many more. Not just that, sometimes it keeps you company when you are lonely or bored. Also, preschoolers who viewed educational programs tend to have higher grades and are less aggressive and value their studies more when they reach high school according to a long term study (Anderson et al 2001).

Moreover, let’s not forget that most times we do this with our children when they close from school or during the weekends. In doing so, the kids seem not to have time for their school work and even their parents will not get time to interact with these children to aid social development.

Also, research reveals that children have the fasters memory and whatever they see on the screen, quickly they can put it in their memories and will be tempted to put it into practice as well.

In other to prevent them from bad practices like alcoholism, drug abuse, sexual activities, among others we have to limit them to what they watch as they find it difficult in distinguishing reality from fantasy on TV.

In recent cases, most people relate children risking their lives doing dangerous things as a result of them attempting to practices what they watch on TV. For instance, children after viewing wrestling, they believe that violence is the way to power and will want to practice it so that he can have power over his colleague or even they want to be like Romans Reigns and others.

According to speech and language expert Dr.Sally Ward, 20 years of research show that kids who are bombarded by background TV noise in their homes have trouble paying attention to voices when there is also background noise.

Kids watching cartoons and entertaining TV shows during preschool years have poorer prereading skills at age 5 (Macbeth 1996). Scientists from the University of Siena found that children experience a soothing, pain-killing effect by watching cartoons.

Those who equally watch entertaining TV shows are also less likely to read books and other print media (Wight & Huston 1995).

The question is how do we overcome all these? Well, you do not have to deny your family of watching TV. Just make sure they watch educative programs and characters of good behavior. When this is done, they are likely to always learn good manners from it as compared to you not caring about what they watch.

You might also try engaging them in other activities like studying with them, (reading children story books writing with good language). It might surprise you to know that children between the ages of 2 to 7 years do not know the aim of advertising on TV is to get customers to by a product but when they see such product, they force their parents into buying it because they have seen it on TV.

George Gerber in his theory (cultivation theory) states that people who watch TV frequently are more likely to be influenced by the messages from the world of TV. Therefore TV is considered a contribution independently to the way people repeatedly see and hear in perceiving social reality. Come to think of it, don’t you think if they watch things like vampires and witchcraft movies they can make them think that this world is a scary place? As a result, some will always have nightmares which will disturb their sleep.

Research from health experts has shown that kids are inactive when they sit at one place for long. Same studies also have shown that spending less time in front of screen decreases Wight and body max index (BMI). After limiting their time in front of the screen try watching the programs with them, after that try asking them questions like what they like in that program, whether what they have seen is real or not, and many more. Based on that, you will identify your kid type and be careful about what they watch.

TV viewing also numbers your children’s minds as it prevents your children from exercising initiative, being intellectually challenged, thinking analytically and using their minds and imaginations.

Therefore one may say that TV provides no educational benefits for a child under age 2. Worse, it steals time for activities that actually develop the child’s brain, like interacting with other people and playing. A child learns a lot more efficiently from real interaction – with people and things, rather than things he/she sees on a video screen.

By Kuoru Wiayuga Jamaldeen,
A student journalist in GIJ.

Disclaimer: "The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author(s) and do not neccessarily reflect those of Modern Ghana. Modern Ghana will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article."