Next to the family, television is probably the most important influence on a child’s development in today’s society. According to statistics, American children view 3 to 6 hours of television each day. That surely seems like a lot of TV.
According to various studies, more and more children are overweight because of watching too much television. Before we had all these channels and TV shows to choose from, children would come home from school and go outside to play. Now, they sit in front of the television and watch whatever or they hook up their game cubes and play games. Still sitting on the couch. Don’t let your children become “couch potatoes”.
Television exposes children to adult behaviors that are not necessarily considered normal behavior. Years ago, I worked as a house parent and one of the young ladies in my charge actually thought that adults in a professional setting used profanity on a regular basis. She based her opinion on various movies and shows from TV. When I tried to explain to her that was not the real world, she naturally disbelieved me. As most young people will.
If you watch any of the shows on almost any channel, you will find references to sex, alcohol, and violence. Sometimes these references are more explicit then they need to be. Sex sells, as they say. In the past, most of these types of shows would be shown after a certain hour. Usually, they were on when our younger children went to bed. Now, however, these shows are on during the day and early afternoon when our younger children are home from school, often without adult supervision.
Advertising on TV can be just as dangerous to your children as the programs they are watching. Commercials advertise everything from innocent items such as: toys, food, cars, and clothing. To more adult oriented items such as: ways to improve your sex life, dating services, and x-rated videos. If you were from a country that didn’t have access to the types of shows and commercials we have in the US, you certainly would wonder about our society as a whole. Some commercials are hard to figure out just what they are advertising. I recall a commercial that seemed to be advertising sex and the reality was that they were advertising jeans.
I remember a conversation that several female students in my high school class had regarding a certain daytime talk show. It was one of those shows in which the host purposely tries to get the audience going (in a negative sense). They bring on guest that have issues. Whether it be trying to find out who the father of their child is, outing someone on national television, or pitting parents against their children. My girls thought it would be cool to be on this show, as they would get paid big bucks. It didn’t matter that the whole world and their town would know all about their secrets.
Unfortunately, television has become a babysitter in many households today. When anyone is exposed to certain types of behavior (sexual, violence, etc.) they may develop a tolerance for what they are seeing. Be aware how television affects your children. Monitor their TV time. Only permit them to watch the shows you consider quality shows.
There are many good quality shows still on TV. We still have reruns of old shows that were more family oriented, as well as some newer type family shows. More importantly, get your children away from TV. Have them play outside, board games, or read a good book. We need to stop spending so much time in front of the TV. Why would our children be watching so much TV. I don’t know, do you?