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How does watching television influence the behaviours and cognitions of young children?

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Introduction

''To what extent does television influence behaviours and cognitions in young children?'' There's no denying that television programs, even those intended for children, may contain violence of some sorts e.g. 'Ben 10' contains fighting between characters, 'Pokļæ½mon' contains battling and 'Tom and Jerry' contains the occasional argument and fighting. On the other hand, television programs can also contain acts of compassion, love and affection. In this report I am going to study the effects of what children view on the television and to what extent it may effect young children and influence how they behave, think and feel about the world, themselves and those around them. In a well-known study, Albert Bandura (1961) found that young children would either copy; acts of aggression or acts of compassion shown by their parents, and replicate it towards a blow up doll, which came to be known as a Bobo doll. [1] He concluded that young children's behaviour is influenced by those who act as role models towards them, which as we know, many television characters are often idolised by young children or imitated in imaginary games, between young children and their friends. It has been found that, on average children aged two - five years old spend thirty two hours a week in front of a TV, watching Television, DVD's and playing video games(Patricia McDonald 2009) [2] Some people may argue that the increase in hours spent watching television may influence the later lives of our future generations. How accurate is this accusation? The Invention of TV: The invention of television is most famously linked to Phil Farnsworth on 7th January 1926. [3] In 1936 the BBC broadcast the world's first television service with three hours of program viewing a day. Although it was not until 1951 that the first colour television was introduced in America. The invention of colour television boomed and by 1972, 21 years later, over fifty percent of televisions owned at home were colour TV's. ...read more.

Middle

This therefore may also provide a positive effect as if a child views a person being beaten up on television, they may be able to exert the same behaviours if a similar situation presents itself to them. It has also been argued that as many behaviours in television programs do not have accurate consequences (i.e. a soap star murdering another character is not always punished the way that one may be in real life in order to produce a dramatic effect on the watcher), a younger view may believe that these consequences are real therefore not see the actions of the character as wrong or bad, therefore may be more likely to copy these actions themselves. It should also be noted that television may not always represent true life, but children may not of course understand this. Stanley Rothem et Al has noted that since 1955, television characters have been murdered at a rate 1,000 times higher than murders occur in real life. [15] Huesmann et Al (2003) found that the viewing of violence on television shows when children were between six to nine years of age, correlated significantly to measures of physical aggression when both the men and women were followed up fifteen years later. They also found that the more an individual identified with a same - sex television character as a child, the more likely they were to copy their violent behaviours. Those boys classed as ''high violence viewers'' when studied as a child, were found to have three times the conviction rate of those classed as low - violence viewers in childhood. This study therefore implies that children do copy aggressive or violent behaviours from television media, especially if they are able to identify with a character through similarities that they may share. Even more shockingly, the senate committee reported that the average American child will view 200,000 violent acts and 16,000 violent murders on television before the age of eighteen. ...read more.

Conclusion

Conclusion: The American Academy of Paediatrics recommends that children under two should not watch any television, and that all children over two be limited to one to two hours of educational screen media a day. [26] This shows that while educational media may have its benefits, it is not the most productive way for a child to spend their time. It also reflects that other television viewing may be harmful to the child's development as it is not recommended to do at all. As seen in the report above, there are a lot more implications for television having negative effects on the development of children, such as; assumed predispositions to repeat violent acts, suspected implications for the onset as behaviour disorders such as ADHD and other behaviour related negative behaviours. On the other hand the report shows that there may be positive implications for watching certain amounts of the 'right' television programs that show pro-social behaviours, such as teaching caring or loving behaviours to children and having positive effects on reading scores. However, when one ways up the pros and cons of allowing children to watch television, it seems appropriate to allow other activities such as reading aloud with the child or explaining and demonstrating personally how to engage in socially acceptable behaviours, to be a much more appropriate way of spending time with a child. This shall therefore decrease side effects that may be caused by allowing the child in question to watch television programs, and will also enable the child to spend quality time with the parent/guardian, which will therefore allow the child and parent to build a stronger relationship together. The American Academy of Paediatrics have been quoted as saying ''any positive effect of television on infants and toddlers is still open to question, but the benefits of parent-child interactions are proven. Under age two, talking, singing, reading, listening to music or playing is far more important to a child's development than any TV show." [27] ?? ?? ?? ?? Laura Saunders 5133 ...read more.

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