As a mother, I know for a fact that television has a major influence on children. Unfortunately, not everything they watch is appropriate for them. Television has both a negative and positive influence on children. Considering that children spend more time watching television than any other daily activity, it is not a surprise that it will have an impact on their behavior. I find my children imitating what they watch on TV all the time, which is natural because that is how children learn to behave, by watching others. Parents need to realize that television should not be considered an alternative babysitter for their young ones. It is our job, as parents, to monitor what our children watch and provide them with an understandable explanation for what the media negligently provides on television.
We see drugs, sex, nudity, and vulgar language portrayed on practically every show or program on television. These issues are portrayed as a source of entertainment for adults. Children, on the other hand, should not be exposed to this kind of entertainment, especially at an age in which they don’t have the ability to make a distinction between reality and fantasy. Children seem to believe that whatever they see on television is a reflection of the ideal American family. Consequently, they start to imitate those less than perfect exhibits for the mere purpose of “fitting in” to this judgmental society. Children’s preference of clothing is another example of how television influences them. Young boys choose to wear clothes a couple sizes bigger than their own just to look like the “rappers” they see on television. The girls like wearing everything and anything that “Hannah Montana” or the “Cheetah Girls” are wearing. At school, if you wear anything outside of the latest fashion trends you are considered an outcast. So when I say that television has a major influence on our children, am I exaggerating? I don’t think so.
Due to the fact that there is a lot of negativity on TV, children should have restrictions to what they watch or at least be monitored while watching TV. If or when an inappropriate issue comes up during a program, the parent should explain to the child that what they’re watching is not real and is only provided to entertain. Children are naturally curious about everything. They are constantly asking “what, why, where, who, and when?” which is a healthy and normal learning process for all children. To satisfy that curiosity, it is always important to talk to them about what they see on television because they lack the ability to distinguish between what is real and what is fantasy. They need to acknowledge that what is on television is merely entertainment.
Teaching our children what is or isn’t appropriate to watch is every parents responsibility. After all, it is just like teaching them basic moral standards. On a daily basis we teach our children that there is certain behavior or speech that is inappropriate and vice versa. That same principle should apply to television. By providing children answers and explanations to the negative messages that are being portrayed throughout TV programming, we help build a clearer perspective of television in their minds. I will not lie to you though, there‘s always going to be the inevitable question almost every child asks, “If it is not appropriate, then why do they show it on television?”, which is a question even parents want an answer to.
It is a known fact that children imitate the behavior of those around them. That is how they learn human behavior. Although most of the programs on television are inappropriate for kids, there are some educational programs, cartoons, comedies, and movies that portray respectful human ethics that are suitable for them. Some of the programs we watch as a family are “7th Heaven” and “Little mosque on the prairie,” which are suitable for families with religious beliefs. Programs like Sesame Street, Barney, Clifford, and Dragon Tales are some of my three year old son’s favorites. These kinds of programs are both educational and entertaining for kids. Children learn to count and say new words from watching these programs. It is because of these programs that we don’t totally disapprove of television.
(This is an essay I wrote for my English class. I thought it would be an interesting issue to post about. )