With the 21st century offering a greater number of media than any other period in history, younger generation can view or listen to almost any sort of content at the touch of a button.
Every single day millions of children are constantly bombarded by media. Television, Internet, Movies, Video Games, Music are some of the many forms of media that continues to feed particular messages and ideas into our children and ultimately into our culture.
Television can be a powerful entertainment and education tool for children given the right programming. However, the studies have shown that media have a very negative influence on the children
According to the survey conducted by AC Neilson, The average child will watch 40,000 murders and 200,000 acts of violence on TV before finishing elementary school by age of 18. Media plays a powerful role in developing value systems and shaping behaviour of the children.
The negative effects of media on children are manifested in terms of their changing mental setup and the declining quality of their lifestyle. Children, who should invest their time in reading good books, studying, playing outdoors, exercising and engaging in social activities, today, spend their evenings glued to the television.
The link between media culture and its real world effect has been a hot topic for many years. More than 1000 studies conducted in the past 40 years show that excessive exposure to media violence causes the violent behaviour in real life.
There is increasing instances of crimes such as murder, assault and burglary. Members of society find themselves asking why this is happening. Images and themes found on the television often get the blame. Psychological research has shown three major effects of seeing violence on television:
- Children may become less sensitive to the pain and suffering of others.
- Children may be more fearful of the world around them
- Children may be more likely to behave in aggressive or harmful ways towards others
Kids today are bombarded with sexual messages and images in all media. Parents are often concerned about whether these messages are healthy. Research done by the University of North Carolina shows that teenagers who are exposed to more sex talk and acts in the media are more likely to engage in those same behaviors themselves.
Effects on healthy child development
According to the American Paediatric Society, most food advertising on children’s TV shows is for fast foods, candy and pre-sweetened cereals. Commercials for healthy food make up only 4 per cent of those shown.
Children who watch excessive Television are more likely to:
- Read fewer books
- Be overweight
- Use television as an escape from reality
- See violence as an appropriate way to solve interpersonal problems
- The influence of media on children also effects how kids perceive what is and is not acceptable.
There was a Indian version of Spidermand(Shakitman). The serial was extremely popular in 1997 and I saw a 4 year old child jumping off the building and setting themselves on fire. So that Spiderman would come and save them.
Smoking is an example. When celebrities and role models are depicted smoking; it appears to be a normal and acceptable behavior. Television is also blamed for children being unable to distinguish between fantasy and reality. They often glamorize potentially destructive behaviors like drinking, drugs, affairs, and intimate teen relationships.
The media are bringing the outside world into your home. The influences on children from movies, music, video games, and cartoons are growing in importance and affect their day to day life. The negative effects of television violence to children, negative effects marijuana, cigarettes, alcohol and drugs are all having negative influences on child brain development.