The influence of television on children.

Authors Avatar


Yikun Tan

Professor: Sandra Alagona

English 1A

Date: 02.11.03

The influence of television on children is one of those issues that have been constantly disputed. But like most of those issues, there’s no ending yet. Once there was a front page story in the New York Times proclaiming that “No scientific answers are now offered to question of how the new and radically different mass medium really effects the youth and what proportion of the country’s youth actually come under its influence.” There are basically two sides of the arguments. One side considers that TV is wonderful thing in children’s lives; they favor the existence of TV in children’s bedroom, since they insist on that TV gives the changes for children to know what they ought to know. While the opinion of the other side is emphasizing that its negative to children stress its positive benefits. It’s such a controversial topic today, in order to get my own conclusion, I will exam the arguments and studies of two opposing papers: one is “The Function of Television: Life Without the Big Box” by Charles Winick who supports the functions of television; the other is “Some Hazards of Growing Up in a Television Environment” by Jerome L. Singer and Dorothy G. Singer who don’t agree that TV should be viewed so much as today and it has already became a society problem. I agree with the view of Singers, in addition, I think this is the problem should be solved urgently.

Charles Winick considers that most important function for children is they can learn from TV. “ The children of today do not need to learn to read as early or to develop an imagination. All their fairy tales, bedtime stories and cartoons are shown in living color on TV”. He shows a great children program “Sesame Street” for example. “ It has led to the production of a television program in which the contents are closely based upon knowledge of what young children need to know and about their manner of learning…it’s a highly effective educational program which has successfully teaches basic skills to children from a range of very different home backgrounds.” In Singers’ paper, they argue that although the average child spends a great deal of time watching television, they learn very little from the medium. “Despite the fact that it exposes children to an enormous amount of potentially useful information, it’s not in a form in which the young children can adequately perceive and understand it. The language, especially, is often beyond the children’s level of comprehension. In addition, television fails to provide the young viewer with opportunities to discover how they can make use of the information they do received.” Further more, I also concern that Sesame Street is just a specific program that can be barely seen. It’s clearly that just one demonstration on television could produce a valuable social learning experience, but take a look at the TV guide today, there’s definitely not only one “wonderland”, most of the TV programs today are “wasteland” which I’m going to explain later. Then what can children really learn from those?

Join now!

Charles Winick points out surveillance and information are another one of most potent functions for both adults and children. Viewers tended to regard news on television as not competitive with the other media. In his investigation: “Over four-fifths of the respondents regularly read newspapers and over two-thirds have listened to radio when their TV sets are functioning, they still indicate that they learn most information from TV.” “The wide range of many different kinds of subject matter presented with immediacy: ‘ you can see it happening and it is closer to you than in any other way.’” One of respondents ...

This is a preview of the whole essay