Television is commonly cited as their major source of information about what is happening in the world. Children are the main group influenced by TV and its messages. Some critics state that TV has a negative impact on children popularizing and promoting violence and deviant behavior. Children learn a great deal about the world from watching television, and that the news on television and educational programs are more important in keeping them informed than are any other sources. Thesis Television has a positive impact on children supporting their development and education, informing about the world and recent news.
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A considerable body of research has revealed that educational television does have potential to improve children’s knowledge about a variety of subjects. Educational television programs represent one area of television output which has been dedicated to improving children’s know-how. Some of these productions are broadcast as part of mainstream television for children, while others have been specially made for schools audiences. Failure to fulfill this potential frequently stems from program-makers’ misunderstanding of audience needs, interests and learning abilities (Abelman, p. 143). Television has a positive role in life of children preparing children for school by developing both factual knowledge and thinking skills, specifically those relating to numeracy, vocabulary, the use of language, and understanding the world around them.
Children can learn from programs and cartoons that are designed specially to entertain. Researches (Wright, p. 37) have shown that, by watching television quiz shows, children’s general knowledge (on those topics covered by questions on the show) can be improved. This is a marvelous opportunity for both parents and children to prepare a child for a school and involve a child into gaming activity. “It is when children feel secure and comfortable within an environment that they are most willing to explore, create, take risks, and respond positively to challenge and possibility” (Harrison, p. 50). Only imagine that fifty century ago, children were deprived such a wonderful opportunity to reach the world and get the information about it at a short period of time. Today, entertainment-oriented shows and cartoons provide a source of learning for young viewers. One important factor here may be the tendency of quiz shows to invoke participation among viewers at home. One of the key reasons given by children for watching quiz shows was ‘to compete against the contestants’. This means that, when watching quiz shows, children may be engaged in generating their own answers (Wright, p.37).
To refute these arguments, it is possible to say that TV popularizes negative social images and violence scenes which increase aggression and anger in children. Television has severe limitations as an information medium, whereas others have demonstrated that its effectiveness in getting information across to the audience can depend significantly upon the reasons why people choose to watch television in the first place (Powell and Abels, p. 14). The crucial difference underlying different patterns of learning the same narrative material, presented via different media, arises from the symbol systems presented by different media rather than from the media themselves. These arguments are not valid because parents are responsible for context of the programs their children watch. They should control and limit access of children to violence scenes and protect them from negative social images.
In sum, children are aware of television’s potential to enhance knowledge and provide information about the world, even though they regard gaining knowledge via television as less intellectually demanding than gaining knowledge through print. The advantage of television is that through its dramatic representations in characters and situations, it offers different kinds of knowledge of particular relevance to children.
- Abelman, R. What Children Watch When They Watch TV: Putting Theory into Practice. Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media 44 (2000): 143.
- Harrison, C. Excellence in Television for Young Children-Entertainment, Engagement and Empowerment. Australian Journal of Early Childhood 29 (2004): 50.
- Powell, K.A., Abels, L. Sex-Role Stereotypes in TV Programs Aimed at the Preschool Audience: An Analysis of Teletubbies and Barney & Friends. Women and Language 25 (2002): 14.
- Wright, C. Children and Technology: Issues, Challenges, and Opportunities. Childhood Education 78 (2001): 37.