Cynthia Bryson Benjamin Pressley ENG 111 November 14, 2011 Effects of Children Watching Too Much Television How many hours a week do you think you spend watching television? According to a study done by the A. C. Neilson Company, the average American spends four hours watching television (“Television”). Generally, children watch even more than four hours a week (“How TV Affects Your Child”). Watching this much television can have serious impacts on a child’s health and development (“Colina”). It also shows a lot of things that most people would not consider being appropriate for children.
Another problem that arises when children spend this much time in front of a television is that they don’t do as well in school. If children are spending too much time in front of the television, then they are risking serious health problems. The major one that comes to mind is obesity. A recent study found that eleven percent of children between the ages of six and seventeen are obese. This is more than twice the amount of children that were obese in the 1960’s (“Television”). What is so different between the children of today and the children of the ‘60s?
The amount of time watching television is the main problem; it means that for the amount of time they are watching television, they are inactive. There is almost nothing that uses less energy than watching television. Another reason children who watch a lot of television tend to gain more weight is that they are constantly watching commercials for unhealthy foods such as potato chips and soft drinks. According to the American Association of Pediatricians (AAP), children in the United States see almost forty thousand commercials each year (‘How TV Affects Your Child).
A study done by the UCLA School of Public Health says that by the time a child reaches the age of five, he has seen an average of more than four thousand commercials for food every year (“Television”). Obesity in children also causes heart problems and diabetes. More Americans than ever are being diagnosed with diabetes. This is in part because of their unhealthy diets and inactivity. So the question becomes: do we want to risk our children’s health just so that they can watch a few more hours of television? Another reason that children should not watch so much television is the amount of inappropriate programming that is shown on television.
Violence, sex, and drugs are three things that are shown on televisions and on television it seems like there are no consequences for doing these things. The average American will see two hundred thousand acts of violence on television before they are eighteen (“Television”). The average American child will see eight thousand murders on television before they even get out of elementary school (“Television”). Almost every child in America has seen at least one animated Disney movie. Not many parents think about the violence that is shown in them.
One popular Disney movie is called Tarzan. At the end of Tarzan, the villain gets hung by vines. Having the bad guy die at the end of the movie is a common occurrence in movies meant for kids. Tarzan is a children’s movie and is shown to kids as young as two or three years old. Three year olds don’t understand the concept of death very well and yet we are constantly showing them violence in movies that parents assume are appropriate for their age group. Another example is one of the most popular television shows right now for teens called Pretty Little Liars.
This is about a girl who is murdered and how her friends are being stalked by a person, who they believe to be her killer, after her death. The show has violence, foul language, alcohol, and sex. The difference between Pretty Little Liars and other television shows though, is that Pretty Little Liars actually shows these actions to have consequences in most cases. Most television shows don’t show that there are consequences that go along with these actions. Showing children all this violence will make them more likely to commit violent acts. They become desensitized to the violence and may start to believe that it is alright to hurt others.
The final reason that watching television is not the best thing for kids is that it affects their grades. If kids are spending eight hours a day in school, eight hours a day sleeping, two hours a day eating, and four hours a day watching television, then how much time is left for studying or homework? Two hours. And that is if they choose to do it. Most kids, if faced with the choice between homework and watching television, would choose to just watch more television. Not studying and not doing homework affects children’s grades. Doing well in school sets up a child to have a successful future.
Not doing well in school can have devastating long-term effects on their lives. Getting poor grades is a major reason that high school students drop out of school. Watching too much television is not good for children’s health or future. Constantly watching television has been proven to be a leading cause of obesity in children. Watching television all the time means that a child is seeing far more violence, sex, and the use of drugs than they probably should. Seeing that these kinds of risky behaviors are being done by their favorite television character can make a child more likely to imitate them.
If a child watches a lot of television, then it will also affect how they do in school. All of these things (being obese, committing violent acts, and failing school) are not things that we would want our children to do. If watching less television a week can keep out kids safe, then why isn’t anyone doing more about this? Works Cited “Television and Health” Csun. edu. , 2008. Web. 26 October 2011. “How TV Affects Your Child” Kidshealth. org. ,2011. Web. 26 October 2011. “It’s not the Amount of TV, It’s the Number of Junk Food Commercials” Colina. com. , Web. 26 October 2011.