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How TV Affects the Brains of Young Children
How it affects our young children!
Many parents leave their children since early infancy for long hours in front of the TV.
They do this for several reasons; either because the mother wants to finish her duties at home and wants to the child to be quiet and distracted for a while till she finishes , or one of the parents is tired and wants to watch TV seating the child beside him and believing that he is too young to understand or grasp anything, or believing that the child will learn language and behaviors from different TV shows, or to get rid of their child's noise or sometimes the television is simply open the whole day in the background of daily life and parents believe that the child does not follow it and is not really affect the child's behavior and development positively?
Research results show that television can facilitate children's language development from 6 months to 3 years of age, if parents are active participants who interpret the television programs their children watch.
Young children can also imitate simple with toys performed by adult on the TV after watching it and 24 hours later, to continue doing it they should be encouraged by their parents.
Growing evidence however, shows that television can impact negatively on the development of infants and young children, this is especially concerning:
The content of television programs particularly violent content. Many children watch programs and films with violent content.
This has many impacts on the child like teaching him aggressive behaviors, lack of empathy to victims, of violence and viewing the world as scary. Male children can develop a violent mental mental script viewing themselves as heroes when they are violent.
The amount of time spent watching television (the negative effects of television increase as exposure increases).
Language development is negatively affected with prolonged TV watching or with the TV open all the time in the background of the home; this is because interaction between parents and the child is minimal and this interaction is the strongest stimulant for language development.it also affects cognitive development and attention span of the child in the similar negative way. In addition it affects sleep causing irregular sleep and repeated waking up depending of the content of what the children watch TV without any parental supervision which makes them exposed to seeing programs or films designed for adults and this exposes them to sexual scenes, language or behaviors which are not appropriate for their age or developmental stage.
Children are not doing anything when they are watching television; this links directly to concerns about obesity and health problems related to prolonged TV watching.
Prolonged TV watching diminishes interactive play, talk and communication between the child and his parents or his family. He will interact more with the TV which is a one sided interaction. This will affect his language development and his acquisition of knowledge and skills what we call "Environmental deprivation". This may lead to appearance of some autistic features as the child will refused social interaction with time.
To conclude; watching TV by young children could have some temporary beneficial effects on young children but this is not to be compared to what children can learn from interacting with their parents and caregivers. Our interactive play with our children, talking to them, loving them, holding them, singing for them and with them, reading them stories, showing them how to perform new tasks and encouraging them is what makes them grow up happy and healthy.