Still, for better or for worse television is a part of daily life in most homes. Most children do watch some television during the day, and there are benefits to be gained from watching the right programs. Experts agree that educational television is better than mindless entertainment. “If programs are age appropriate, and send children messages that you would want your children to have, then the watching can be entertaining and instructional”, says educational, health, and clinical psychologist Dr. Nancy Mramor.
On the other hand, studies have shown numerous unwanted effects of watching television. It has been linked with poor imaginative skills and can slow language development due to the use of visuals instead of words. “Even the better shows rely on visuals at the expense of talk” says author Jane Healy, PH.D. Children also learn to expect much more entertainment out of anything educational, and find it hard to adapt to school where they are expected to pay attention without the benefit of colorful cartoon characters and music. Their attention spans are shortened as a result.
While some studies show a link between watching television programming like Sesame Street and better academic performance later in life, these studies concerned children who watched the venerable children’s program in the 1980’s, when children watched far less television in general.
-Select and monitor the programs your child watches and be sure you know the content
-Choose educational programming
-Select channels that do not advertise to children
The bottom line when it comes to television is that it can be bad for your children if they are spending too much time watching it at the expense of time spent reading books, engaging in physical activities or spending time as a family. But as long as your children only watch small amounts of age-appropriate, educational programming, it’s unlikely there will be any long-term problems as a result.