Effects of Television on Children

Children are mainly exposed to television, television violence and television culture at home. Thus parents play a vital role in helping children  to make sense of what they see on the television. These days television influences the lives of young children and it is only going to get worst with each passing year. It is very challenging for young children to make choices of what programs they should watch. Because of the lack of experience they need more help from adults. Pulling children away from television programs is a challenge. Children's media are designed to get attention and keep it. 

Some Horrifying facts about media violence in children's lives: 

  • By the end of elementary school, the average child will have seen 8,000 murders and 100,000 other violent acts in the media.
  • Children's cartoons and action programs average more than 20 acts of violence per hour, compared with 5 acts per hour during prime-time hours.
  • The sale of Mighty Morphin Power Ranger products (based on the extremely violent TV show) surpassed $1 billion in 1994.
  • More than $3 billion of products related to the Star Wars movie have been sold worldwide.
  • In one survey, more than 90% of teachers thought the Power Rangers led to increased violence among the children they taught.

Some Action Ideas: 

First of all as a parent, take charge. Develop guidelines for your child as to how much television she/he can watch. The less the television time the better it is. Since young children do not have the concept of time, deciding on the number of shows they can watch can be an option. Select programs that are designed to promote positive development and learning. Some experts suggest no more than an hour a day for young children. Experts have suggested a simple chart that parents can use with their children, for example:

Plan for TV viewing for  ____________________________

Day of week         Picture of Show #1            Picture of Show #2  

_________          Time:                                   Time:  

_________          Time:                                   Time:


Children as young as three years old can plan by drawing pictures of the show they plan to watch.

You can develop TV rules for home. Please make sure that as a parent you follow them as well and be consistent. You can come up with some rules as for example, TV only on weekends, no TV before school, no TV after dinner, no violent shows, etc. This plan of action will be more effective if you develop these rules with your child because she/he will feel that her/his voice is heard. The more meaningful and understandable a rule is for a child, the more likely it will work.

Keep television out of your child's bedroom. The best place is the family room. Watch television together as a family when you can. Talk about what your child sees on the television.

Parents are role models for their children. So refrain from making television your prime source of recreation. This will encourage your child to look for other options rather than watch television for recreation. Inculcate healthy habits like enjoying outdoor activities or help she/he develop a hobby like stamp collection, painting, star gazing, learning to play a musical instrument, etc.

Try not to buy products which may include clothes, backpacks, shoes, besides toys--that are directly linked to violent television shows or are advertised during violent programs. Remember, choose toys that promote creativity.

Help your child understand a true meaning of hero-that the real heroes are those who work hard and make a world a better place for example, parents, teachers, doctors, firefighters, etc. are real heroes.

Interact with your child's teacher. Ask her as to what is her plan of action if some children in the class constantly talk about violent television programs and exhibit violent behavior as a result of watching such programs. Network with other parents and your child's teacher to reduce the negative aspects of the media culture in the wider society. Express your opinions and your concerns to the local TV stations.     


More by :  Kamna Raj

Top | Parenting

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