Technology is all around us and children's exposure to electronic devices is inevitable. Smart phones, tablets and, most importantly, television are available to children and their excessive use could be detrimental to their intellectual development and learning. In addition to this, watching TV means being exposed to a wide variety of advertisements that influence their emotional development. However, it also has a positive side and, depending on the choices of adults, some television may be beneficial. Effects of
TVTheeffects that television has on children, especially younger children, depend on the content and the time the infant spends in front of the screen. In terms of content, this factor is closely related to the child's ability to understand and comprehend what he or she is watching.
This capacity to understand is still in the developmental stage and progresses over time. Prolonged exposure to content that is inappropriate for the child's age could have serious developmental consequences. The average time an infant spends in front of the TV is three hours at best. Parents use this device to entertain their children while doing other activities, but lose sight of the consequences of screen time. Disrupted sleep patterns, isolation, aggressive behaviour and lack of communication are just some of the negative consequences.
CommercialsWhenwatching TV, children are exposed to commercials too, and big companies know it.
Some countries have restrictions on advertising, but the reality is that television is full of ads specifically aimed at children. The most serious problem with these advertisements is that they promote stereotypes related to social, cultural, racial, sexual and dietary patterns. The advertisements contain misleading images and distort reality to such an extent that, for example, the image of slim, well-proportioned bodies could contribute to anorexia disorder. Children's susceptibility makes them the perfect target for imposing conditioning and a false image of reality on them.
Benefits of televisionAlthoughprolonged exposure to any electronic device will have consequences for our children, there are scenarios in which television can have a positive impact. Children are usually conceived as passive spectators unable to draw their own conclusions.
However, they are at a stage where cognitive development is essential. Parents can take advantage of this and use television as a means to encourage critical thinking in their children through educational programs. To benefit from television, parents should establish schedules and accompany them, choosing the appropriate programs according to their level of development. By being present, children can question with their parents what they watch and thus encourage reflection and reasoning.