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Television and our Children

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Category: Reviews - Media
Forum Name: Radio, TV & Film
Forum Discription: Radio, TV & Film
Printed Date: 23 June 2018 at 12:59pm
Software Version: Web Wiz Forums 8.04 -

Topic: Television and our Children
Posted By: semar
Subject: Television and our Children
Date Posted: 11 March 2005 at 10:25pm

Television and our Children
by Mohammed Rawat

    How much does t.v. influence our children? Is it an evil force that undermines family values? Does it promote indiscretion and total disregard of ethics?
    Many people tend to enjoy relaxing after a rigorous day by observing the television. Sports, movies and documentaries provide a temporary escape from reality. However while adults are usually able to distinguish between fact and fiction the greater number of young children are not.
    With the slackening of censorship, parents are beginning to show more concern for the development of their children. Sex, violence and bad language are accessible to even the most vulnerable of minds.
    Added to that, some of the programmes televised for children not only threaten to destroy their innocence, but also jeopardise their creative thinking skills.
    Anyone, who has seen a gaping, glassy-eyed child transfixed to the screen, entranced and totally oblivious to reality, has to question the motivational capacity of the medium. In front of this miniature stage, there is absolutely no demand for interaction whether physical or intellectual. No expectation of response is placed on the child, the entire process s passive. The child need not even exert his neck or eye muscles in order to follow the movement on the box. Ultimately, the inertia must have a serious effect on the child's intellectual abilities. Furthermore, a child absorbed in television is isolated, so the personal element is also eliminated.
    The physical ramifications of spending one's childhood years glued to the set are obvious. Eye muscles become significantly weaker. The fact that more and more young children wear glasses these days perhaps bears testimony to the 'television worship' phenomenon. In addition, the mechanism itself - with its hypnotic fluttering of coloured spots on vibrating lines that compose the screen's picture has a proven damaging effect on the brain. In severe cases, it has been accused of triggering epileptic seizures in children.
    Experts conclude that the natural strength of the 'television generation' child is also diminished considerably. As muscles are not constantly exercised, they invariably develop at a slower rate The effects that have been associated with television fixation (the comatose stare; the stunted development of muscles; the seizures; and the insinuation that television can alter behaviour) eerily parallel the symptoms of drug abusers. It is due to there harmful side effects that television has been given the disparaging nickname: 'the plug-in-drug'.
    Some Western schools like the
Michael Mount Waldorf School
in Bryanston encourages a 'no television policy amongst parents of children below the age of twelve. Specialists in remedial teaching are completely committed to this stance: "Children develop through imitation, and the material that they imitate needs to be worthy of that imitation A child under the age six is still in the process of being 'ripened' by formative life forces. From the start, the child has no discernment. He or she is effectively like an absorbent sponge, full of wonder and awe, yet 'asleep in consciousness.' As parents and teachers, our aim is to awaken within them the search for truth and beauty." Television has become a replacement for mother-wisdom, that distinctive knowledge that only a parent can impart on a child. "The value of learning through life experience is depreciating. Experience should radiate through the eyes of parents and through their intimate gestures. Instead children absorb a fictional importation of experience via configurations of vibrating dots and lines on a screen.
    Another quarrel she has with television is that it fosters 'the audience phenomenon,' an affliction that even majority of adults suffer from. Television viewing is explicitly a spectator sport, and a group of 'couch-spectators' is exactly what it cultivates. This phenomenon explains the motivation behind 'ambulance-chaser', and the traffic's infuriating tendency to slow down in order to study an accident on the other side of the road. The more gruesome the crash the greater the chance of a traffic jam! Through television, we can witness murder, rape and robbery without feeling any social responsibility to act! The medium is to blame for its failure to develop human interest, effectively training us to be passive. Translated into real life terms, many programmes instil within the individual a profoundly amoral disregard for others. Children are hardened acutely by this medium, and the space between people is widened dramatically. There is an unerring link between discipline problems and television: Children that are television addicts are conditioned to 'switch-off' the communications of a mother, father or teacher?
    Among other things, television has also been accused of bringing about the death of spontaneous, imaginative play, which is infinitely valuable to the growth of the child. Unconstrained, active play provides a release for the natural, effervescent energy of childhood, and is said to help children fine-tune their emotions. If children use fantasy play to deal with their problems in a more objective, constructive manner, surely, y play bared on television clouds their own experience of life?
    Then there is the obvious violence aspect to consider. While many psychologists believe that screen violence does influence the child, many object that it depends on the child's susceptibility to the fantasy medium. This theory proposes that only children with deep-rooted emotional problems will surrender themselves blindly to make believe, in order to escape their otherwise unstable world, or gain some power and control over it.
    Observation of some children on a playground initially provided boisterous activities and high-pitched shrieks that filtered through the open air. On closer inspection, that play consisted of mimicking favourite television heroes and depraved villains. The names, characters, actions and expressions were fixed as was their typecasting as diametrically opposed forces of 'good' and 'evil'. Like any traditionally Cowboy and Indian battle, players had to be sacrificed for the cause, but the deaths were far more graphic than the 'finger-gun' gesture that we familiarise ourselves with as children. Victims were tortured with make-believe knives and abusive, verbal threats. One child was informed by a peer that if he did not hand over his money right away, his head would be chopped off!
    While television cannot rob a child of his innate magic, it does seem that fantasy play is in danger of being hampered by the formulaic, pre-determined story lines designed for young viewers. Even worse, some of the games children play expose traces of scripts produced for 'adult' viewing only!
    The word 'programme' (ostensibly alluding to a short riot of viewing rime) somehow seems to infer the programming effect it has on its viewer. Despite various shows that deliberately attempt to subvert the norm, television breeds conformity. Subliminal messages about society's values; prejudices and human aspirations are injected into the scripts. Good and evil are portrayed as one-dimensional attributes, along with the rationale that beauty must be equated with good while ugly is naturally associated with evil Subconsciously, this notion changes the child's perception of themselves and others, often with cruel consequences. Children below the age of seven lack the critical reasoning skills needed to maintain a sceptical distance from the stereotypes that are force-fed to them. Their need to reconcile inner consciousness and outward behaviour manifests itself in their play. [Little People]
    Concerns about the effects of television on the behaviour and physical health of children are as old as the medium itself.
    As early as 1951, researchers were claiming that children living in homes with television cut their playtime by as much as 90 minutes.
    Shortly after, it was suggested that children's teeth would suffer owing to pressure on the gums as they watched television with their chin on their hands. Damage to eyes has been a continuing concern.
    But by the mid-1980s, concern focused on the effects on the creative imagination of children. A range of theories emerged. Some said by providing ready-made images, television left little scope for the imagination.
    Dr. Patti Valkenburg and Dr. Tom van de Voort, of the Centre of Child Media Studies at
, have reviewed all the research carried out over 40 years, with disturbing results.
    The studies they reviewed looked for differences in the creative imagination of children from homes with television compared with those form homes without.
    Tests ranging teachers' assessments to games of 'just suppose' were carried out. Of the 17 studies analysed, covering many hundreds of children aged from three to 16, not one produced evidence that television boosted creativity.
    In contrast, 10 of the studies showed that television was linked with a significant reduction in creative imagination.
    After analysing decades of international research, the psychologists at
Leiden University, Holland, have failed to find a single study backing the idea that television stimulates children.


They have, however, found plenty of evidence for every parent's worst suspicion: that watching television stifles a child's creative imagination.
    They have also uncovered evidence that it boosts the tendency to lapse into random-and potentially violent daydreaming.
    Neil Armstrong, professor of health and exercise sciences at
Exeter University
, believes television is playing a key role in the decline in fitness in British Children. "children are nowhere near as active as they should be," he said.
    "Half of all girls and about a third of boys between 10 and 16 don't experience the equivalent of a brisk, 10-minute walk in a week and we suspect it may be linked to increased TV viewing.
    "These children are building up major problems for the future. Only active children are likely to become active adults and we know the there are links between lack of exercise in later life and obesity, heart disease and osteoporosis in women."
    "Whereas two-thirds of American women formerly remained at home, almost half now go out to work, of whom one in three is a mother with children under six.
    Television, used as an electronic babysitter from the age of two, is a poor substitute for a mother's company and can prematurely desensitise the infant to violence." [The Medical Journal]

Comedy Link Seen in aggression
HOUSTON - Children who watch television a great deal tend to be more aggressive than those who spend more time in other activities, two Yale University
psychologists said at the weekend.
And, surprisingly situation comedies and games as well as action programmes were linked with aggressive behaviour.
    Doctors Jerome and Dorothy Singer were presenting the findings of a year-long study of 140 three and four year old children at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Their study found the more aggressive children tended to be in homes where the parents paid little attention to what programmes were being viewed, an were frequently from families that did little else besides watch television.

The Singers found that action programmes, as expected, produced the most marked effects, but said they were surprised to find that "frenetic situation comedies and game shows also tended to be associated with aggressive behaviour."
Regarding PICTURE MAKING Rasulullah (please be upon him) alayhi was sallam) said: "Every picture-maker will be in the Fire of Jahannum." Bukhaari

Posted By: DavidC
Date Posted: 12 March 2005 at 6:41am
Hello Semar and welcome!

Rawat makes some excellent points, but obviously makes no attempt to
provide a balanced view. Psychological research is governed by
measurement and situational variables that typically are not

Television has many positive effects on language and comprehension, as
well as ethical and social behavior. Mental stimulation in children
improves mental development. A bit of the right kind of TV is a good


Posted By: fezziwig
Date Posted: 12 March 2005 at 11:11am

Commercial TV has one purpose: to sell products. 20 minutes of every hour is devoted to commercials. 20 minutes! That's one third of your viewing time.

The advertisers will use ANY device to capture your attention and keep it. They will use any content that will lure you within striking distance of their propaganda. If sex attracts attention they will use it. Violence, war, perversion, all are used as attractants. The best psychologists and experts on human behaviour are NOT at the schools helping children with problems, counseling widows of soldiers or families impoverished by a layoff. No, they are working on Madison Avenue studying what appeals to you and how to turn that into a sale.

All of us are sufficiently vain (and deluded) to think we can watch the programs without buying the products. We are wrong. And the advertisers have the data to prove it. The best economists and statisticians in the country are NOT working in the government to find out what is in the best interests of the country and it's civilians. They are at work refining their measurements of precisely how they manipulate your buying habits with their ads. They know that they govern your buying and they can PROVE it to the companies that hire them.

Can you doubt their power? Why else would any sane person drive thru a McDonalds and buy an overpriced meat patty of grease and salt with a pennies worth of lettuce to feign healthiness wrapped in a tasteless non-nutritional piece of bleached bread? And an order of grease-soaked starch as well?! And then eat this mess while driving down a crowded freeway?

One cannot escape the conclusion that participating in commercial radio/TV is to surrender oneself to blatant manipulation. You become submissive to a merciless master. A master who, regardless of his smiling charm, will feed your discontent and steal your purse.

What can be done! Resist and find alternatives. Don't watch commercial TV. Listen to NPR and watch PBS. Instead of watching android football or baseball on TV go to your local highschool or college and watch the games. The bonus, you will find, is much more fun! Work against the commercials. When your friends fault you for not catching the latest episode of "Oprah" tell them you don't want to view 20 minutes of commercials for detestable products in order to watch silly people flatter the host for 40 minutes. take charge of your viewing. Turn on PBS and watch a program on Ancient Etruscan Art Treasures even tho the host is plain looking or downright ugly! Then the next day ask your friends if THEY saw it and enjoyed the intelligent commentary from the not-handsome but interesting host.

Turn off your cable TV! Why pay for a system that delivers 33% advertisements?! If you live in a metro area find out about Over The Air (OTA) High Definition (HDTV) and Digital (DTV) TV. I live in the SF area and have an indoor UHF antenna feeding a $130 OTA DTV receiver i bought on eBay, and I get 3 PBS signals (as well as local network stations) in beautiful High Fidelity (no ghosts, no snow!) and surround sound Dolby 5.1! For free! And each channel has as many as 4 subchannels. Get your local OTA DTV channel to broadcast "Classic Arts Showcase" which is a FREE feed provided by a foundation that never carries any commercials and does broadcast fragments of Classic Arts that are remarkable (this morning I saw old black/white films of Magda Olivera singing an aria from Tosca and Klemperer conducting the last of Beethovens Sym. 9).

Turn away from the crap. Reject the ads. Think for yourself.



Posted By: DavidC
Date Posted: 12 March 2005 at 12:33pm
Kiddie TV Fezz!

Many are not aware but Fezz used to play Uncle Grouch-a-Lot on an early
B&W TV children's show


Posted By: semar
Date Posted: 12 March 2005 at 8:11pm
Yes TV have lot benefit for us, even without mentioning this benefits we already used most of our free time in the front of TV. The point here is we have to aware that TV have bad effect specially for our young children. I don't agree that we fully ban our kids from tv (video), but what we need to do is controlling them which program that they can watch. A lot of us as parents, many times make the tv as baby sitter for our kids during our busy work. This habit is the real monster here.

The Prophet said: "Do not eat before you are hungry, and stop eating before you are full"
"1/3 of your stomach for food 1/3 for water, 1/3 for air"

Posted By: fezziwig
Date Posted: 12 March 2005 at 8:19pm
When my kids were small I had NO TV. Later we got a TV but everyone had to  clear programs ahead of time with the others. And hours were limited.

OK, so I have a guilty pleasure. COPS! I can watch about 15 minutes a week of this.


Posted By: DavidC
Date Posted: 12 March 2005 at 10:24pm
There would be a lot more home violence if scheduled TV sessions could
not be held daily. All that attention-seeking can drive parents nuts, and
the housework will never get done. VCRs, DVRs, interactive websites,
games and movies - kids options have never been better.


Posted By: Angel
Date Posted: 16 March 2005 at 3:18pm

Actually, the kids tv programs are not bad here  The ABC channel has 2 times deciated to childrens veiwing in the morning and afternoon with stories and educational programs, Play school is the top notch and is Australia's no.1 basically which has been running for 30 years. The commerical channels have early in the morning cartoons till 9am and in the afternoon there are other programs for kids like Hi5  that's my favourite, it beats the wiggles , those 2 are interactive and educational.

Parents are the ones in control, not the damn tv stations and advertisers! or McDonalds for that matter.

Of course some tv is good and some tv is bad, You as a parent have that choice to make what your kids watch, NO ONE ELSE!

And for those parents that complain, I say you only have yourself to blame. You are the Parent/s you are the ones that set the rules and diciplines that your children adheres to, stop complaining and put rules to the tv viewing and/or to anything else.

Answer these questions:

Who lets them watch tv or watch certain shows?

Who lets them eat what they eat and drink?

Who lets them have so many choices?

Who lets them read what they read?

Who tells the kids its bed time?

Who tells them to get up in the morning for school?

Who tells them to have a bath at night or shower?

Who lets them play with toys or certain toys at certain ages? (why?)

Who are the one that chooses the clothes they wear? (we all know that kids want to wear summer clothes in winter )

Who disciplines and give guidelines in life? [ well supposedly ;-) ]


Posted By: Angel
Date Posted: 16 March 2005 at 3:51pm

Originally posted by fezziwig

Commercial TV has one purpose: to sell products.

That's true.

The advertisers will use ANY device to capture your attention and keep it. They will use any content that will lure you within striking distance of their propaganda.
Yes that's true. but also....Well, if you let them .

For me, well they can advertise all they want but I do not give in! They can send all the catalogues in the mail week after week and with their sales, I will still not cave in, Unless there is something I need and it happens to be on sale, then I'll buy - if I need it. Actually what I don't like is that you buy something and the following week its on special! with that you can't win

All of us are sufficiently vain (and deluded) to think we can watch the programs without buying the products. We are wrong. And the advertisers have the data to prove it.

Speak for yourself.

They know that they govern your buying and they can PROVE it to the companies that hire them.


They haven't come across me

Can you doubt their power?

And who's faults that? Why do they have this power?

I believe that any educated person who learns advertising and pyschology will also have that power. 

Why else would any sane person drive thru a McDonalds and buy an overpriced meat patty of grease and salt with a pennies worth of lettuce to feign healthiness wrapped in a tasteless non-nutritional piece of bleached bread? And an order of grease-soaked starch as well?! And then eat this mess while driving down a crowded freeway?

If this desciption doesn't put people off, then nothing will, LOL  

I don't know, I like my McDonald but I don't let them rule me

One cannot escape the conclusion that participating in commercial radio/TV is to surrender oneself to blatant manipulation.

Ah, well if you know their manipulation and why they are doing it,why fall for it? And is it so hard to leave the room in a commerical break? or just let it fly over your head. I listen but that's just it, only listen I don't fall for any crap, anyway some ads are cool

You become submissive to a merciless master. A master who, regardless of his smiling charm, will feed your discontent and steal your purse.

Ah, again, speak for yourself.

What can be done! Resist and find alternatives.

Have done

Turn away from the crap. Reject the ads. Think for yourself.


Have done and do

Angel. {the slightly embrassed one because she feels she doesn't fit in with the others who get sucked in}  

Posted By: zulkharnain
Date Posted: 29 March 2005 at 10:21pm
I agree on Semars thoughts

May Allah bless u

Posted By: muslim_gal1988
Date Posted: 12 August 2005 at 4:28am

Posted By: muslim_gal1988
Date Posted: 12 August 2005 at 4:28am
just droping by to say SALAAMZ

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