Monday, September 7, 2009

Handling Media Violence and its Impact on children-MPhil-Psychology, Child Care Professional

All television is educational. But what is it teaching? And what are its effects on

Media including television has become a very important part of our lives. It has both positive and negative impact on children’s development. As parents, teachers and educators we need to integrate media awareness in our thinking and education so that we can create an environment sensitive to our children’s developmental needs. A greater awareness on our part will help us benefit from the positive influence of media and steer clear of its negative traits.

Impact of Television

Most theories on child development suggest that repeated exposure to any stimulus in a child's environment forcibly impacts mental and emotional growth. Childhood experiences contribute to overall development by creating connections and responses within the brain.

More than 40 years of research indicates that viewing violence via entertainment media can lead to increases in aggressive attitudes, values, and behaviors, particularly in children.

Appropriate stimuli like close interaction with loving adults; an interactive environment; engrossing play; and age-appropriate learning activities enhance the brain's development. However, environments that encourage intellectual passivity can deprive the brain of important chances to develop and grow. They can stunt social relationships, creative play, reflection and complex problem solving. Many television programs and video games lack an experiential learning environment that engages both the body and the brain of children. This may have negative consequences on children’s growth, especially in their early years

Children begin watching television at a very early age, sometimes as early as six months, and are ardent viewers by the time that they are two or three years old.
With the advent of more nuclear families where both parent are working to meet both ends meet watching television or passing time in video game or internet is the story of every second household in urban India… The impact of media violence can dramatically influence children at all ages.

I remember my child hood days where there was no television those days and we lived in colonies where everyday evening all the children used to gather in the nearest play ground and play till we tire ourselves-- which was moments of fun and frolic.

But alas these days we don’t see the children playing around…. The favorite pastime is television or game or hooked to a computer—no physical activity has resulted in rising of obesity amongst adolescent children in urban middle class families…..

Movies, television, video and the Internet have become the most powerful external sources of information about society and interpersonal relationships for children.

According to the Psychological Association, there are four long-term effects of viewing violence. These include increased aggressive and anti-social attitudes and behaviors, increased fears of being or becoming a victim, becoming less sensitive to violence and victims of violence, and a greater appetite for more and more violence in entertainment and real life.

Young children are the most vulnerable to the effects of violent media programming. They have neither the thinking or emotional ability to understand the context of violence. They do not grasp the consequences of the behavior and are more likely to imitate violence.

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