Technology is a great accessory that millions of people use regularly in everyday life. Television could be the most-used technological commodity of all. Millions of people now have at least one television in their home. Although television seems like a great thing to have, it has its drawbacks. Television can negatively effect people, particularly kids. Numerous studies and surveys have proven just how much television can be a bad influence on our youth. Many kids become violent, have severe psychological effects, and become very unhealthy. Once thought as a great invention, television has become a major problem.
Violence is a major part of today’s television shows and movies that are targeted towards our youth. Violence is increasing regularly in the television shows kids are watching: “ Fifty-seven percent of television programs contain psychologically harmful violence” (Kaufman 1). Through heavy television watching, children can encounter many violent shows that are not suited for them. This can affect a child in many ways. Author John Leo explains that “Children who are heavy viewers of television are more aggressive”
(Leo 29). Children, especially young, are not ready to distinguish right from wrong. When their favorite action hero is beating up a bad guy, kids think that it is all right. At a young age a kid will envy a character on television and will have a preconceived idea that whatever the character does is acceptable. Children will also take what they see on television and try to use it in their everyday life. For example, “Children under the age of seven or eight are more likely to imitate the fighting moves they see on the screen than older kids” (“Television” 1). Kids could go along life thinking it is OK with fighting to solve problems. Violence on television can be harmful in more ways than one. On the one hand, kids will imitate what they watch, but kids are also very easily brainwashed. Children may get a false impression of what the world is really like. If all the children see is violence on television, then, of course, the children will be a little apprehensive about the world. All of the violence could also make the kids angry at the world, certain types of people, and specific groups.
Most prime time shows on television have a predominately white cast. It has been noted that “Of 26 pilots the networks announced for fall, none has a minority star” (Poniewozik 70). The only major networks that have minorities in leading roles are the UPN and the WB. Will minorities ever have leading roles in sitcoms? As one author puts it “Space aliens will have more network lead roles than Asians or Native Americans”
(Poniewozik 70). Do television executives have a legitimate reason for the lack of minorities? First of all, there is a lack of minorities in executive positions and there is hardly any minority writers, but are those good enough reasons? The executives can make an easy solution by just hiring the minorities in their sitcoms. A leading role is not necessary at first because there has to be a starting point somewhere. Young minority kids will be deeply affected by this situation. When they watch these white shows, they might wonder why nobody that looks like them is in the sitcom. All children must understand that everybody is equal and judged the same. In a sense, the thinking is that the minority will never be given a fair chance against a white person for the same job. In a way, it is sad to see that race is still playing such a major role in our present society after all that this country has gone through. The next generation of kids should not even have to worry about the skin color as a factor in their lives. As if racism were not enough, kids are also influenced by trying to be the perfect person. TV shows view only girls with the perfect bodies. This a big problem with little girls. Girls tend to develop eating disorders because they strive to look like the models on television. It is clear that there is a need for a more diverse group of television shows that showcases both minorities and people of all shapes and sizes.
Television affects kids in a way that most people probably do not even think about. The impact that television has on children’s health is a great concern. Studies have shown a possible connection between obesity and excessive television watching. Obesity is a very serious disease that plagues many people in the world and is on a significant rise among young people. A major part that contributes to this, is when kids eat while watching shows. A website supports this by saying “Children are inactive and tend to snack while watching TV” (“How TV” 3). Watching television not only makes a child develop obesity, but can also not strengthen key parts of the body “ When children run, jump, play and are physically active, they strengthen their lungs, hearts and muscles” (“Television” 1). Being a physically active person can have drastic affects on how healthy your life is at an old age. A healthy person is, in most cases, going to live a lot longer than a person who sits around watching television and eating snacks all the time. A lot of times the television commercials may influence the children with always advertising junk food. There are simply not enough commercials showcasing healthy foods. Children see nothing but chocolate, and other unhealthy foods. The problem is not only with the advertising, but also with the lack of exercise shows for children. If children saw shows that made exercising fun, then children would consequently start having fun and exercise along. Even shows that
are educational can have a bad affect on kids. The fact is that the children are still not being active while watching the shows.
It is clear that television has become the root of many problems that plague our youth in today’s society. The children of today are watching television shows that justify violence, psychological harmful material, and unhealthy habits. Parents must recognize this and simply turn off the television. No television would be the best thing for children because they should be outside playing and becoming healthy adults.
“How TV Affects Your Child.” How TV Affects Your Child. 27 Oct 2000
Kaufman, Ron. “How Television Images Affect Children.” Kill Your Television-
Children and TV. 27 Oct 2000
Leo, John, et al. Media Violence. San Diego: Greenhaven, 1999.
Poniewozik, James. “The Vast Whiteland.” Time 30 Oct 2000:70.
“Television can affect children’s health in a number of ways.” Ontario Medical
Association : How Does TV Affect Children’s Health?. ( 27 Oct 2000)
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