Speaking on TV and students
by Rob Coombs
Dec 11, 2011 | 1295 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
More than half of the students in the United States watch more than three hours of television every school day. Most parents do little or nothing to limit their child’s viewing time. When asked, the majority of parents believe that too much television is unhealthy, but don’t seriously attempt — outside occasional nagging — to reduce the time their children sit in front of the screen.

Television is a powerful medium that evades most homes, taking control of the family room, kitchen — have you seen the new refrigerators with a digital television in the door? You no longer have to worry about missing something when getting a bite to eat or something to drink — bedrooms, and even bathrooms.

With televisions in nearly every room, seeking to limit television time seems next to impossible. Moving our televisions to the attic is a little over-reactive and quite honestly too many adults would find themselves joining the kids in the attic nightly.

Really, there isn’t a need to lug the television to the attic. Television, in and of itself, isn’t bad or good. It’s how you use your television. In fairness, let’s look at both sides of the issue, the productive and the destructive potential of television.

The Bad:

(1) Once a child exceeds 10 hours per week (about 1 1/2 hours per day) of television viewing, reading, math, and written expression are much lower than students who watch less than 10 hours per week. The more hours watched, the worse the effect.

(2) Peer and social adjustment is impacted negatively by increased time in front of the television. Developing social skills demands interaction with others, not television.

(3) There appears to be a relationship between heavy viewing of cartoons and low self-esteem.

(4) Heavy amounts of childhood television viewing which promotes violence are associated with adult participation in crimes. Prison inmates watch more television as children than those outside of prison.

(5) Television viewing can lead to a sedentary lifestyle which can seriously affect the physical health of your child.

(6) Unmonitored television viewing encourages increased activity not only in violent behavior, but also teenage pregnancy, sexual perversions, disrespect for adults, and stereotyping of minority groups.

(7) Time spent in front of the television by both child and parent increases the likelihood that homework won’t get done which greatly contributes to academic failure.

The Good:

(1) Moderate doses of television (around 10 hours per week) is more beneficial than no television or too much television.

(2) Preschoolers (males in particular) who watch educational programs behave less aggressively.

(3) Educational programs enhance reading comprehension skills for preschool and grade school children.

(4) By exposing a student to programs with high information content (for example news programs or documentaries), the student has a better opportunity to increase knowledge and skills.

Again, the real issue isn’t whether television is bad or good, productive or destructive. The real issue is how you use your television.