Excessive Exposure to Media: Harmful for Children

These days children have excessive exposure to various popular medium like television, cinema, radio and Internet. These mediums can have both positive as well as negative influence on children. On the one hand, they can be seen as a tool of learning and interaction for the children, on the other hand, their excessive exposure can result in various negative consequences.

Researchers observed that exposure to any sort of media in the first three years of life can have a negative impact on a child’s healthy development. It can lead to a lot of problems, such as attention disorders, behaviour problems, sleep problems, long-term effects on social development, classroom engagement, and academic achievement. All these social platforms are very addictive for kids. Moreover, it can make children lazy and restrict their creativity and also affect their health.

Why does TV affect young children differently than older children?

The first three years of life are the most crucial period of a child’s development, especially for the brain, which is growing faster than any other part of the body. During this time, a child’s brain is more responsive to positive influences and more vulnerable to negative ones than it can be in later years.

The content of cartoon programs has changed drastically over the years and have got a lasting effect on children. They begin watching cartoons at an early age of six months, and by the age of two or three children become enthusiastic viewers. This leads to an addiction among children around the world and the shows that they have been watching have become violent. But it’s not that cartoons have only negative impacts on children. Cartoons are the central focus of many children’s lives. Many parents also feel contended with the educational benefits of TV and how it can teach positive behaviour. Children at every age learn a variety of things easily by watching educational cartoon films. Infants and toddlers start learning different words, and their meanings. It even tends to improve the cognitive aspects among young children. Their creativity level is enhanced.

Different kinds of movies have different impact on children

Children love to go to a movie theatre, few movies give out excellent lessons on behaviour, whereas some movies can influence child’s behaviour negatively. Younger children may have trouble telling the difference between make-believe and reality. They can feel sad over any upsetting scene. Some movies that contain sex, violence, drug abuse, adult themes and offensive language can have a negative effect on children and adolescents. Many movies are not appropriate for children. Older children and adolescents tend to imitate many risky and possibly dangerous things they see in movies.

Watching violence in movies and television can lead to real-life violence. Just like children learn from their parents and peers, they also learn both good and bad habits from TV and movie characters. They tend to copy the language used on screen without understanding that in real life the consequences can be serious, and sometimes even fatal.

The responsibility is on parents to ensure the kind of movies their children should watch depending upon its positive and adverse effect on the child’s mind as well on his overall development. Movies with a good humane message can be worth watching, but movies with too much of violence are of no good to children.

Are educational videos, video games, apps beneficial for your kid?

There are a lot of videos and DVDs that are specially made for kids these days. Their motto is to enhance the learning process of children. However, are all these videos beneficial for your kid? Some studies generally find that for children younger than three years, television, videos, and DVDs are not that effective. They can have aggressive behavioural problems. Some people believe that there are children who benefit from playing video games while others disagree. They are called as “educational games” and often use popular cartoon characters to teach children a lot of things, such as colours, shapes and numbers. It’s essential to see which game would be considered as beneficial for your toddler.

What Can Parents Do to Save Their Children?

It’s not possible to completely ban your kids from watching TV or movies. But here are a few tips that you can do to save your children from the adverse effects of media:

Be cautious: you can monitor closely as to what your children watch on television. Take an interest in the viewing preferences of children, set regulations on how long they can watch movies, cartoons, and television sitcoms, and monitor what types of shows they watch. Keep an eye on what they watch, read and play.

Discuss the content: Do understand that not all television serials/movies/games are appropriate for your child. Some may contain violence, sexual content, or other negative things that may influence your child negatively. It’s always better to be aware of what your kid feels about the scenes happening in any movie/serial.

Watch out for the behaviour: Look for any changed or impulsive behaviour, such as behaving violently, throwing things or shouting stuff when playing or watching movies or television serials. See if your child starts speaking a foul language or gets more aggressive with time.

Keep a check: Check beforehand the movie you are about to show to your toddler. Help your child choose programs and video games that are less violent. Check the game out yourself before you decide whether to let your child start experimenting. Remember that these games can be addictive. Putting a limit on your child’s screen time is the best way to keep your child away from the harmful influences of digital games.

Indulge in other options: Instead of making your children watch television serials or movies, parents and teachers should spend time with their children to tap into their creative side. When children engage in creative activities like drawing and painting, their moods are improved, and positivity is increased in their lives. With the help of these activities, parents, teachers, and caregivers can limit the amount of time that children spend watching television and movies, or playing video games.

Technology can be very beneficial and knowledgeable, as long as it is not used in a negative way. It has its positives as well as negatives. But, too much of it can be a bad thing, and that should be taken care of by the parents. Parents and caregivers of infants and toddlers should indulge in promoting learning and achievement by taking television off the menu. Positive interactions are the best learning experiences a child can have. It’s best to spend as much time as possible with your kids personally, then making them watch television.

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