Games of the XXVIII Olympiad in Athens, Greece, were viewed by 3.9 billion viewers around the globe (“Athens Games,” 2004). This was possible only because of the television. This is one of the advantages of television since watching Olympic promoted peace, friendship, solidarity and fair play. However, there are disadvantages of television and the one which is of the greatest concerns to parents is its impact on child development.
Television watching itself affects child development regardless of the program content. It adversely affects children's thinking, speaking, imagination, senses, physique, feelings, and behavior.
According to Carla Kalin (1997), statistics indicate that the typical American child will be exposed to 12,000 violent acts on television a year. The American Psychological Association Help Center reveals that children’s TV programming alone contains about 20 violent acts an hour ( “Violence on Television,” n.d.).
TV glamorizes violence. TV often promotes violent acts as a fun and effective way to get what you want. Most violent acts go unpunished on TV and are often accompanied by humor. Even “good guys” beating up “bad guys” gives a message that violence is normal and okay. Children learn by imitation and those who watch violent shows are more likely to display aggressive behavior. Violent television programming teaches children that violence is an acceptable way to solve problems. Many children do not have the capacity to distinguish reality from fantasy. Children who watch shows with violent content have more anxiety about the world around them. The American Psychological Association Help Center indicates that there are three types of harmful effects associated with viewing violence (“Violence on Television,” n.d.). They are:
• Learning aggressive behaviors and attitudes
• Becoming desensitized to real world violence
• Developing a fear of being victimized