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The Extent of Media Influence on Children
Statistics has it that by the time a child turns 18, he must have seen around 200,000 acts of violence on television. Moreover, all these electronic media such as television, video games, movies, and computer had been tagged to have profound effects on young children. Such is the case of video games that depict violent acts. Because of the power of media to set examples for children to follow, the correlation between exposure to violence on television and the consequent development of aggressive behavior is still in question.
Furthermore, this boom in the electronic media creates a change in the society. It highly influences people and how they think. It has developed the power to set cultural norms because of its increasing prevalence in society.
As experts say, children naturally copy. For instance, there is a study showing that 14-month-old infants tend to copy actions they see on the television set. Another observation is that children develop heroes as they increase their liking towards a character or personality. For example, children idolize certain professional athletes that they tend to copy how their idols talk, dress, and behave. They enjoy emulating their heroes in hopes that they will become like them.
In the world of electronic media, violence is a dominant theme because it garners attention thus creating business opportunity for many. The more demand it generates, the number of opportunists increases. With this trend, children receive a constant dose of media violence and as a result develop more aggressive behavior.
This alone should be a cause of concern for parents who automatically send off their children to watch whatever they want while they are busy with their chores. Parents need to know what their children are watching because electronic media provides too many bad examples for children. Not all cartoons and animated shows are violent-free. It does not follow that pleasant-looking characters automatically offer wholesome viewing.
Because of this cause-and-effect dynamics, it follows that the more electronic media exposed to children, the more violent acts they would get to see. Hence, experts emphasize the need to limit the exposure and they advise parents and guardians to monitor the amount and content of exposure to television as well as to computer.
It is recommended that children under three years old be exposed to only two hours per week of electronic media activity, while children between three and eight years old should only be allowed 10 hours per week. This way, they can get enough interaction with other people, hence developing their social skills.
Because of the strong media influence on children, a child who is constantly exposed to television and other electronic media minimizes his chance of knowing how it is to interact with other children and family members. In a growing child, it is important for him to communicate and socialize effectively with other people because these ways will be carried over when he gets older.
The basics of everything we do as an adult can be traced back to our childhood.
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