In the last 50 years television has entered the home and influenced the life of virtually every American. This incredibly powerful invention has affected our social lives, ways of learning and entertaining ourselves, family relations, and lifestyles. Americans are almost literally glued to their sets.
In the average American home, the television is on for seven hours each day.
Approximately 75 million sets are tuned in each weeknight, and 40 to 50 million people are watching at any time in the evening.
The youngest children are introduced to television in their homes and are captivated by it. Many small children spend more time watching TV than doing any other activity except sleeping. They will watch increasing amounts of TV each year until they finish the elementary grades.
By graduation from high school, most youngsters will have watched 48,000 commercials and seen 13,000 violent deaths. They will have spent more time watching TV than they have in the classroom.
Any activity that consumes so much time surely has significant effects. It is important to understand what those effects are so that television can be used to benefit our children.
Effects of TV on Reading Levels and Schoolwork
Television has varied effects on children's reading abilities and schoolwork. The effects depend on the control of the programs they watch, their production techniques, the amount of time the children spend watching, and the age and maturity of the children.
Television can educate, persuade, and entertain, and usually it does all three at once. Used selectively, television can benefit youngsters in positive, educational ways. "Reading Rainbow," for example, seen on national public television, reinforces the joy of reading and motivates children to read in their own. Not all programs have such positive effects.
Television sales skyrocketed in the late 1940's and early 1950's. By the time people began to wonder how television was...
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