Impact of media use on children and youth

Impact of media use on children and youth

The influence of media on the psychosocial development of children in profound. These days, it is important for parents to guide their child’s healthy use of media. There are many forms of media that have influence on a child these days:

Many studies have looked into the impact of television of society, particularly on children and adolescents. The current literature suggests that there is a relation between watching violent television programs and an increase in violent behavior by children. The enormous time children spend watching televison, especially Northern American children, also increase the likelihood of obesity, irresponsible sexual behavior and a deleterious effect on learning performance. Besides that, watching television limits the children’s time to play, read, learn to talk, storytelling, participating in regular exercise, mental and social skills.

But television can also be a powerful teacher. The educational value of programs like Sesame Street is an example of how toddlers van learn valuable lessons about racial harmony, cooperation, kindness and the alphabet. They can stimulate children into going to places like the zoo and library.

More then one thousand studies confirm that exposure of heavy doses of violent tv to certain groups of children increases aggressive behavior and an increased suicide risk.

In Canada, television has become the leading sex educator. Children are early exposed to adult sexual behavior. These actions will be portrayed as “normal” to these children. This promotes sex between unmarried partners to these kids. In these shows, there is rarely mention off sexually transmitted deceases and unwanted pregnancy’s. But, media can also influence sexual behavior in a responsible way, promoting birth control like condom use.

Alcohol and smoking
The promotion of alcohol consumption and tobacco using media has a big influence on teenagers. Spreading the message of “real men drink beer” has shown its effectiveness in Canada, while the alcohol advertisement ban has led to a decline in alcohol consumption. Like with sexuality, the long term consequences are not shown in the promotion of these products.

So there’s a lot of influences on our children these days. It is important that we develop ourselves to deal with this information. New programs in high schools promoting media awareness have shown to be beneficial. Parents also play a big role in their children’s social learning. Parental involvement in determining desirable programming is the best choice. Parents have to monitor and control their children’s viewing habits.