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Television Has Its Positive Effects on Children

Many parents look at television as harmful to their children due to the violence, stupidity, and inappropriate images of the TV show. While this fact is correct, parents often overlook that television also positively impacts the development and education of children through educational programs and cartoons that teach children valuable skills and moral principles. For example, in the article “Early Childhood Education by Television Lessons from Sesame Street,” Melissa Kearney and Phillip B Levine state that children can benefit from programs appropriate for their age (318). However, the impact of television on a child depends on which types of content they watch, which their parents should control. Consequently, television has a positive effect on children’s development and education if adults choose and manage the content to watch. Modern television has dozens of shows that positively affect child development.

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The first positive influence is that educational shows help children learn letters, numbers, distinguish colors, and acquire other basic and necessary knowledge in a natural way. Usually, cartoon characters in a playful way explain various phenomena and concepts that improve their preschool skills for learning. According to Kearney and Levine, children who watched the popular children’s show Sesame Street score better on standardized tests according to their age group (343). They say that there were “positive impacts on the educational performance of the generation of children who experienced their preschool years when Sesame Street” (Kearney and Levine 343). In addition, children’s shows also gradually expand the vocabulary of young children because colorful, fun and visual cues, and music allow children to build associations and memorize words. In such a way, the effects of TV on children are not limited only by adverse ones and can also promote the development of particular skills.

Furthermore, watching TV might influence not only elementary school performance and the development of a child but affect the labor market outcomes. Evaluating the way Sesame Street impacted children, Kearney and Levine state that the long-term consequences linked to this factor remain imprecise and should be investigated in the future (321). However, there are still some factors evidencing the direct correlation between labor market outcomes and the amount of time spent by a child watching Sesame Street (Kearney and Levine 321). In such a way, TV can have short-term positive effects on children; however, it should also be analyzed from another perspective considering its ability to affect adulthood and opportunities for career-building. It also means that parents should devote more attention to selecting the content available for children and guaranteeing it helps to promote their development in different spheres.

In the article “Learning Vocabulary from Educational Media: The Role of Pedagogical Supports for Low-Income Preschoolers,” Neuman et al. analyzed popular shows and media for children and concluded that most of them lead to higher scores for the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test (10). The authors believe that this improvement is connected with the presence of scenes with varied vocabulary and eye-catching cues (Neuman et al. 10). Thus, television can be beneficial in children’s education and is especially useful for low-income families who cannot afford additional educational courses, making television and media primary sources of knowledge.

This fact increases the importance and educational power of TV and media in the modern world. The existence of multiple low-income families and preschoolers means that there is a need for effective interventions to provide them with information vital for developing their skills and competencies. Thus, educational programs can perform this function and contribute to the elimination of disparities. Neuman et al. assume that the analysis of 100 top language- and literacy-focused educational media programs showed the prevalence of vocabulary opportunities and pedagogical supports (11). It means that low-income families can benefit from watching such media programs and their availability. Furthermore, the researchers are sure that the increase in the number of such shows in the future will help to improve the overall education levels among preschoolers and their vocabulary skills.

Furthermore, the results of the study show the need for creating more programs of this sort. Neuman et al. state that their research establishes the basis for designing innovative digital media programs focused on enhancing children’s ability to learn new vocabulary and use it in different contexts (13). For instance, Study 2 results show that children devote more attention to targeting words and word information presented such shows (Neuman et al. 12). It means that they are interested in this sort of data, and their eyes unconsciously try to acquire all pieces of data. Using these effects, it is possible to improve the educational impacts of media on children and use it as a method to train preschoolers from different communities and households, especially those who do not have an opportunity to attend additional educational courses.

In conclusion, television can positively impact the development of children if their parents include educational and age-appropriate programming for them. Characters of children’s programs in a simple, playful way give children basic knowledge about reading, counting, everyday skills and the structure of the world, and human interaction. Thus, children gain skills and knowledge while enjoying their favorite TV shows, which is an essential motivational factor in their learning.

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Moreover, both analyzed articles show that media possesses a high educational potential and can be used as a potent educational tool, especially for children from low-income families. The accessibility, affordability, and coverage serve as the factors increasing the topicality of media and its employment for different purposes. The results of studies show that children are interested in such content and unconsciously watch activities involving information about vocabulary or other facts. For this reason, it is critical to accept the increased importance of TV and media as powerful educational tools and change attitudes toward them. The appearance of new digital media with educational content can be viewed as the solution to children’s low preparedness and inability to master some of their skills.

Works Cited

Kearney, Melissa S. and Phillip B. Levine. “Early Childhood Education by Television: Lessons from Sesame Street.” American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, vol. 11, no. 1, 2019, pp. 318-350.

Neuman, Susan B., et al. “Learning Vocabulary from Educational Media: The Role of Pedagogical Supports for Low-Income Preschoolers.” Journal of Educational Psychology, vol. 111, no. 1, 2019, pp. 1–13.

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