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How Media Effect Children

In: English and Literature

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How Media Effect Children

Franchester White


September 7, 2014

Karen Strimkovskey

Is your child safe? As a parent, you always want to know what your child is watching on television. The media is a powerful tool that doesn’t always teach a positive lesson. Media have provided the means and opportunity for children to distort reality into fallacies through television and video games. While media programs have a negative effect on children, there are some positive programs.

The largest amounts of violence are found in children shows. Children between the age of 2 and 18 spends 6 hours and 32 minutes on an average a day using media with the exception of sleeping this is more than they spend on any other activity. When multiple media is stimulated, this time is increased to 8 hours a day. Big parts of media exposure are violent acts that are also witnessed in video games. On an average, a young child will have viewed 200,000 acts of violence on television (TV).

Exposure to violent media wrecks havoc on thoughts, feeling, and most importantly, behavior. “The Influence of Media Violence on Youth,” a report appearing in the December 2003 edition of “Psychological Science in the Public Interest,” points to strong evidence points to the exposure to media violence causes boost in physically and verbally aggressive behavior in children. “Extensive research evidence indicates that media violence can contribute to aggressive behavior, desensitization to violence, nightmares, and fear of being harmed,” according to the AAP. A negative effect of physiological desensitization is that a person can become less helpful to a person in need because they are numb to the pain and suffering of others. This comes from watching too much pain and gore in the media.

Studies of more than a 1000 confirm that boys who are exposed to large amounts of violence in TV have an increased behavior issues. It also shows that teens who watch a lot of sexual content tend to be sexual active earlier than those who do not watch sexually explicit programs. Some video games award points for violence against others and 21% of the most popular games show violence against women. The Academy of Pediatrics says, “More than one thousand scientific studies and review conclude that significant exposure to media violence increase the risk of aggressive behavior in certain children desensitizes them to violence and makes them believe that the world is “meaner and scarier” place than it is.

The Columbine incident is an example of video game violence. These two young men committed violence are said to have played countless hours of violent video games. As with Michael Carneal, from Kentucky, who shot and killed three of in classmates in 1997. Michael Breen, an attorney in the case against Michael Carneal, stated in court; “Michael Carneal clipped off nine shots in a 10-second period. Eight of those shots were hits. Three were head and neck shots and were kills. That’s way beyond military standards for expert marksmanship. This was a kid who had never fired a pistol in his life, but because of his obsession with computer games he had turned himself into an expert marksman” (Ivory, 2003), (Hanson, 1999, p.15). These two instance may be small, but they prove that media plays a role in violence.

Overall time spent on video games cam affect a child’s academic achievements. The more time a child plays on video game, the poorer their school performance is (Anderson & Dill, 2000; Gentile, Lynch & Welch 2004). A study by Argosy University’s Minnesota School on Professional Psychology found that video gamers quarrel with teachers, fight with friends, and have low test scores. Some gamers skip doing their homework to play video games.

Kids can get the wrong value from some video games. Points are awarded for violent behavior, vengeance, and aggression. Women are often shown as weak, helpless, and sexually provocative. Video games not only cause aggressive behavior but it has an effect on their health, including obesity, video induced seizures and muscular skeletal disorder, such as tendonitis, nerve compression, and carpal tunnel syndrome. Other health effects of television are mood disorder, psychological distress, sleep disorders and depression.

Media take away from play time and exercise activity; children who watch too much television are less physically and are known to eat fatty food and high energy snack foods. Watching television also contributes to obesity because some commercials during prime time promote unhealthy diets such as fast food, candy, and pre-sweetened cereals. A child is a risk of high cholesterol level depending on the number of hours spent in front of the TV. Teenage age girls who have an eating disorder may have been influenced by the thin models seen on television. Media cause young girls to hate themselves. This hatred is caused by the showing of women with petite bodies and Barbie figures saying that they are more popular and attractive. While the overweight girls are shown as less popular, have fewer friends and they are bullied. Media tells young girls that thin is sexy and fat not. It’s thoughts like this that grips the mind of young girls that cause them to do fad diets or get cosmetic surgeries to get that so-called perfect body.

Parents can prevent children from viewing unwanted television programs and video games by reading the rating on the program. The ratings range from PG 13 to R-Rated. There is a chip in most of the television called a V-Chip. This chip allows a parent to control the programs that they don’t want their child to view. Video games have a rating on the outside of the box so that the parent can see. Theses rating range from Early Childhood (EC) to Adults Only (AO).

Discuss what you and child are watching on TV. When a parent shares a child media experience they help a child to analyze, question, and challenge the message they are receiving. Talk about the program and how it compares to the moral reasoning that you are teaching your child.

Parents can also teach good TV habits that make TV watching more productive in the home by limiting the number of hours your child watches TV. Turn the TV off at meal time, stock your room full of books and magazine and encourage your child to read. You can set an example yourself by limiting your TV time. As a parent, you can make a difference in your child’s life.

The positive side of the television is that it can be entertaining and educational creating a learning environment. It can open up a whole new exciting world for many kids, with a chance to travel, learn new culture, and gain exposure to ideas that they may not experience in their neighborhood. Some programs can inspire visits to the city zoo, bookstores, historic museums, libraries and educational videos serve as a powerful teaching tool. Watching educational programs like Sesame Street, and Mr. Rodgers can aid in the acquisition of general knowledge as well as improve cognitive knowledge just by watching. Dora the Explore helps a child learn Spanish. Children also learn about racial harmony, cooperation, kindness, simple arithmetic and alphabet through education format as well as social behavior. T.V. shows like “Are You Smarter than a Fifth Grader?” at an early age, and they learn many things before going to school.

Video games can also have a positive effect such as The Incredible Machine and Angry Birds. These games help children in problem solving and logic. Video games help children develop mathematical skills. In every game the child tries to get to the next level, so they count the points earned to get there. This helps improve math skills in a child that does not like math. Many games encourage children to play together. Team work and cooperation can induce leadership skills in a child. Video games promote creative ways to solve puzzles in a short period. In today’s world accuracy is important and action games teach the brain of players to make fast decisions without losing accuracy according to a study by the University of Rockchester. Some video games are used to train surgeons and soldiers to think quickly and to make fast analysis and decisions.

In conclusion, media have both a negative and positive effect on children. There are so many stern examples in the media that causes children act out on what they see in the media. Even thought the negative effects are greater than the positive ones a parent can control the way their child is influenced by media by watching TV with your child and knowing the ratings of all media.


American Academy of Pediatrics (Nov. 5, 2001) Media Violence retrieved from here

Boyse RN Kyla (2010 August) you can get there from here. Television and children.

Fisk, Judy (2014, August 12). You can get there from here. Negative Effects Media has on Children. Retrieved from

Chitracs, . (2008-10-14). The Positive and negative Effects on media. Retrieved from

Dowshen MD, Steven (2011 October) How TV Effects your child. You can get there from here.

Pediatric Child Health (2003 May- June 8) (5) 301-306 Impact of media use on children and youth you can get there from

Tompkins, Aimee (2003December 14) the Psychological Effects of Violent Media on Children. You can retrieve it from here

Tumbokon Chacha (2014) the positive and negative Effects of Video Games. You can get there from here. to- 6 years- old/4-articles/34-the-good-and-badd-effects-of-video-games…...

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