Professor Alicia Hubb
20 July 2012 title While television is one of the greatest inventions of the 20th century, and is watched immeasurably by the American public, it is often criticized as the cause of intellectual ruin of people. Television has been praised throughout history for its ability to transmit visual images with sound to entertain, educate, inform and provide a connection to the world. It provides viewers access to arts, music, new technology and information. It is a place for inspiration and improvement and it also allows the viewer to become involved in issues that are personal and have social effects. Through the phenomenon of television the public has witnessed extraordinary historical events in a way that no other form of communication has ever been able to repeat. It has brought the man landing on the moon, the John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. Assassinations, the Vietnam War and President Elections into the living room, as if the viewers were actually there. They have discovered way to improve their homes, develop healthier bodies, and give their life to Jesus all in one day. Even though television has captured such memorable, historical events, it obstructs a child’s education, exposes them to violence, and attributes to the social problems and the advance obesity rates. Television provides various forms of education. According to the University of Michigan Health System, television shows like Dora the Explorer, Bill Nye the Science Guy, Teen Kids News, and The Suit Life of Zack and Cody opens new worlds for children. It gives them a chance to travel the globe, learn about different cultures, improve on reading, and gain exposure to ideas they may never encounter in their own community (“Your Child Development Behavior Resources”). But do these shows really have any educational value?
Researchers from the University of Illinois and the University of Arizona conducted a study where they reviewed the most widely aired educational programs. During this study they evaluated the effectiveness of the programs on how well they were able to teach main lessons, and how relevant they were (“8 Top Educational Kids’ TV Shows”). They stated that "Only one in eight E/I episodes earned a rating of highly educational. In contrast, nearly twice as many were found to have only minimal educational value."
Throughout the study, researchers also stated that many of the programs focused more on social-emotional lessons about personal feelings and relationships rather than lessons on facts, ideas, and concepts that would be more helpful to a child’s education (“8 Top Educational Kids’ TV Shows”).
Evidence has also shown that TV viewing can replace and discourage activities that help children with their school performance such as doing homework, pursuing hobbies, and getting enough sleep (“When the Television is always on: Heavy Television Exposure and Young Children’s Development”). Children from families that constantly have the television on spend less time reading and being read to, resulting in the child being less likely to read.
Today in many homes watching television is a form of family time. Many families claim that with their busy life styles, watching TV together provides them with an opportunity to communicate as a family. Pat Spungin, a family psychologist conducted a survey of over 1,000 families said that “watching TV for an hour or two a few times a week can be the ultimate opportunity for families to bond”.
There is solid evidence that television can provide family time, how can a family really be spending time when there is little to no interaction being done if the attention is being paid to the television? Gayle Peterson, a family therapist that specializes in prenatal and family development stated that television can replace and reduce the interaction and intimacy in the family consequently limiting the growth of a family relationship (“How Can TV