We expose you some Advantages and disadvantages of television In children, as well as some guidelines for making correct use of this medium.
Children spend a lot of time sitting in front of a television in their daily lives. Some do it with their parents and others on the other alone. This habit is usually very normal in most families, but did you know that television can influence your child? Do you know if they use it at home?
Many fathers and mothers are not aware that television can influence their children both negatively and positively. Therefore, it is important that we are informed to take full advantage of its benefits and avoid any possible negative effects it may have on the child.
Some facts about children and television
Adolescents and children in most countries spend a lot of time in front of a television, while they spend little of their day to day doing other activities. The second activity to which they spend more hours is to sleep, and even spend more hours watching television than at school (Altable, Fernández and Herranz, (2000).
The children not only see the children's programs that exist in the television dedicated entirely to them, but also to others that develop in schedules that are not the infantile ones. According to the AAVV (2001) cited in del Valle (2006) 40% of children spend two hours a day in front of the computer, while 18% see it up to four hours every day.
Other studies such as that presented in COMFER (2004) cited in del Valle (2006), based on both the social and economic pyramid, indicate that there are not only two hours a day but three hours.
According to this study, only 23% of children watch television for two hours a day, while 47% see it for more than two hours and less than four hours. On the other hand, 23% are sitting in front of this device more than four hours and less than eight every day, while 7% see more than eight hours a day.
But what can these numbers be? According to the data presented in CIS (2002) 40% of the parents buy their children from a very early age a television. So the ease that children find to watch TV may be that they have their own in their room, this makes them able to use it whenever they want without having to ask permission from anyone and therefore not Can control what you see or when.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Television in Children
Based on the data that we have exposed above is undoubtedly therefore ask the following question, does television influence our children? And if so, how is it capable of reverberating in them?
Advantages of television in children
The television system gives us a multitude of possibilities that can and should be taken advantage of by society. Here are some of the advantages of television in children:
- It is a means of socialization . Television can be considered as a means of socialization, as it is able to compensate for social inequalities. It is also a transmitter of norms, values and concepts that makes it the third socializing agent behind the family and the school, since it provides children with behavioral models (García, 2003).
- Acts as a source of entertainment And learning. There are many educational programs for children, whether formal or non-formal, such as: Dora the Explorer, Mickey Mouse House, Pepa Pig, Caillou... There are also channels dedicated specifically to children like ClanTV, BabyTV and others. That is to say, there are endless programs that can help us entertain our children while having fun and learning.
- Reporting function . Television allows people to express their points of view on a particular subject, so that in a subtle way our children can learn from television. That is, it can influence the formation of beliefs, languages and concepts of a person, these are the tools that we use to interpret the world around us.
- Develop positive values . Given its programming dedicated to children, television is also capable of developing positive values in them as: friendship, solidarity, work, effort... For this reason, it can be considered an educational medium that helps to configure the personality Of the child (del Valle, 2006).
- Allows children to relax . Thanks to TV series or children's programs, it can sometimes be easy to relax, as some incorporate songs that calm them, or even allow them to be distracted and sit still.
- Provides a bonding time in the family . It is possible to make it a rule to watch television on a schedule where all the members of the family can, so that it is possible to control what our child sees, this foments the bonds of union and communication in the bosom family.
Disadvantages of Television in Children
However, not everything that surrounds television has a positive effect on our children, because as you will know if they are not properly educated in their use can harm them. Here are some disadvantages of using television in children:
- Abuse of television. According to the data presented in the first section, there are many children who spend many hours in front of the television, either in the presence of the parents or alone. This can affect their development and create a feeling of addiction, which when it is on television is termed tele-addiction.
- Increased violence. There are not only educational programs or children's channels dedicated entirely to minors on television. There is a wide range of channels, programs and films that among other characteristics, are known to be violent or present a high degree of aggressiveness In its contents. Children not only see programs according to their age, they also see this type of content that is not very recommendable and this can influence their behavior.
- Transmission of negative values for children. Previously, we have exposed that television is a source of learning for minors, however not always that training that conveys is appropriate. It can transmit to children values such as machismo, selfishness, that can get what they want with little effort or even take as models of behavior people or characters that are not recommended for their age.
- Child programs not recommended. Some children's programs are also composed of violent and sexist scenes that can negatively affect or affect minors. Therefore, we must know the programs that exist as well as the content that our children see.
- It can cause attention problems. Children are at risk for alterations in the development of care as well as delays due to long exposure to television (del Valle, 2006). Therefore, it is important that they have a daily schedule that controls the time spent watching the television.
- Prolonged exposure may affect your studies. As parents we have to control the time that our child spends in front of the television, as it can negatively affect his / her school performance (Rio et al., 2003). It is very common for children to spend many hours without supervision and forget that they have to do homework, or do not rest properly because they go to bed late watching programs.
- It can cause physical problems. Due to the great time that we spend in front of the television we can present physical problems. According to the study by Gómez Alonso (2002), 17.8% of children who are usually active viewers had spinal deviation much higher than children who do not have the habit of watching television. This is due to the sedentary life that can have the minors because of the television.
What can we do to promote proper use of the television at home?
Here are some recommendations you can follow at home to improve the good use of television:
- As fathers and mothers it is important that we are informed and know the offer of programs that exist for our children and thus know which is the most recommended for their age.
- Watching TV with our children is a good activity to take advantage of different programs that you see and thus give you an idea of whether it is appropriate or not. This action can also serve you to have a good time with him and know his television tastes.
- We have to set limits to the time they spend on television both daily and weekly, as excessive use can negatively affect both physically and mentally such as we have discussed above.
- Turn off the television when you are eating and / or studying. If we eat with the television turned on we will not favor the familiar communication. Nor will we let our son study properly if he listens to background television (Muñoz, 2004).
- Do not watch programs that are not suitable for the child at home. Whenever possible, it is important that the child be prevented from seeing programs that are not age-appropriate. We have to remember that television transmits negative values and models of inappropriate behavior that the minor can internalize.
- Do not use the television to entertain the child while we are busy. Sometimes it is very common to use the TV to distract the child while we are doing other things, it is very important that we do not do this and we get used to seeing her / him.
- Awaken interest in educational programs. Our children will see programs that we see, so we have to motivate them to see educational programs or teach values appropriate for their age.
- Explaining the difference between what is and is not a good way to make the child aware that not everything you see on the screen is true. This will make the child realize that in real life and in difference to the fictitious, every action has consequences (Silva, 2002).
- Finally, it is advisable to discuss with the children about the ads they see on television in order to identify the exaggerations that exist and the appropriate values or not that they transmit (Muñoz, 2004).
As we can verify in our daily life, television is the means of communication that is more accessible to children in the home and therefore to society in general. Therefore, it must be considered alongside the new technologies that have now developed as one of the main agents that influence the lives of children.
We must bear in mind that it can influence both negatively and positively in children, that is, this means of communication has advantages and disadvantages in children.
However, on many occasions it is possible that we do not realize the disadvantages that exist with the use of this medium nor the effects that can cause in the physical and mental development of our children.
As parents we must be aware of this information in order to educate our children to exercise good use of television and to be able to enrich themselves of the multiple benefits that it provides creating or following, for example, simple guidelines at home.
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