To what extent is television educationally beneficial for children?
Information from Boston Municipal Research Bureau suggests that children aged from 11 to 15 in Britain averagely watching TV for more than 50 hours per week, which may be considered as too much as nearly half of their daytime excluding 8 hours' sleeping period. (BBC, 2011) Since children's television-viewing time occupying almost a third of a day, the sense of its educational virtue has to be confirmed. By the means of children, Oxford English Dictionary gives explanation of which a child is anybody between birth and puberty or in the developmental stage of childhood, between babyhood and adult years. (Oxford English Dictionary, 2007, p.397) Therefore, adolescents with different age-groups may educational benefit from television viewing with limitations of at an appropriate age, in a moderate amount and with a suitable content. Afterwards, this essay will give explainations revolved around the three conditions correspondingly.
Firstly, age differences between adolescents may be considered as one of the three factors that influence the extent of educational benefits from television watching. Zimmerman and Christakis's research gives a general idea of different cognitive outcomes of children’s television watching, which have been showed within different age groups. (Zimmerman and Christakis, 2005, p.619) To be more specific, their analysis suggested that TV watching at an age level between 3 and 5 years old represented a beneficial impact, especially for the results of reading recognition and short-term memory. (Zimmerman and Christakis, 2005, p.623) Nevertheless, some other research claimed that attention problems(such as distractive or daydreams a lot ) might be caused to children when they are exposed in front of TV at an early age which younger than 3 years old. (Zimmerman, Christakis, et.al., 2004, p.710) Thus, children can improve their academic achievement by watching television only in a recommended age by enhancing their short-term memory and reading ability. In spite, as a result of the large amount of television viewing period, there is still a modest effect of television. (Zimmerman and Christakis, 2005, p.620) Therefore, the length of their watching hours also need to be limited.
Secondly, beyond the condition of suitable age, the amount of their viewing time will be discussed as another one for children to benefit from TV. To begin with evidences, educational benefits of children from television watching have been suggested relating to the time spend in front of televisions. (Aletha, John, et.al., 1999, p.5) However, the possibility of relationship between television viewing time and other activities' time spending need to be proved. Which may be explained with the situation of children may present outcomes differently in same amount of television viewing period due to their other activities' time spending. A controlled study among 1712 children (younger than 13 years old) suggested that the more time children spending in front of television, the less time they spending on homework doing (age 7-12) and creative playing (age 0-5). (Vandewater, Bickham, et.al. 2005, p.e188) Besides, these two activities can be seemed as appropriate for children to develop their academic achievement. (Vandewater, Bickham, et.al. 2005, p.e183) In addition, in order to reduce potential harm to adolescents if they choose to stay in front TV set rather than doing other activities as mentioned, the specific amount of their viewing time should be confirmed. Fortunately, an article suggested that the amount of children's television viewing period is recommended to 1 to 2 hours a day, which is based on the qualitative study of young people of 6 to 13 years old. (Jordan and Hersey, 2006, p.e1303, p.1306) According to above, children maybe benefit from television watching in an educational way, not only because they are kept in a suitable age group, but also should...
References: • BBC, (2011). Children and TV. BBC, Physical Health, Retrieved October 10th, 2011 from: http:// www.bbc.co.uk/health/physical_ health/family/family_relationships/you_tv.shtml.
• Bryant, J.A. and Monge, P.R., (January, 2008), The Evolution of the Children 's Television Community: 1953-2003. International Journal of Communication, vol2. p.160-192.
• Christakis, D.A., Zimmerman, F.J., DiGiuseppe, D.L. and McCarty, C.A., (April 1st, 2004) Early Television Exposure and Subsequent Attentional Problems in Children, Pediatrics, vol113 (4), p.708-713.
• Huston, A.C. and Wright, J.C, Marquis, J. and Green, S.B., (July, 1999). How young children spend their time: Television and other activities. Developmental Psychology. Vol35 (4), p. 4-7; p. 33-35.
• Huston, A.C.; Wright. J.C. (May, 1998), Television and the Informational and Educational Needs of Children. Children and Television. Vol557, p. 9-23.
• Shorter Oxford English Dictionary, (6th ed. 2007), p.397; The Compact Edition of the Oxford English Dictionary, vol. I (Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1971), p.396.
• Vandewater, E.A., Bickham, D.S. and Lee, J.H., (August 12th, 2005). Time Well Spent? Relating Television Use to Children’s Free-Time Activities, American Academy of Pediatrics, vol117, p.e180-e192.
• Zimmerman, F.J. and Christakis, D.A., (July, 2005) Children 's television viewing and cognitive outcomes: a longitudinal analysis of national data. Archive of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine. voll59 (7), p. 619-625.
• Zimmerman, F.J. and Bell, J.F., (February, 2010) Associations of Television Content Type and Obesity in Children, American Journal of Public Health, vol100 (2), p.334-340.
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