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Positive and Negative Effects of Television on Children

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Media
Wordcount: 1632 words Published: 22nd Jul 2021

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  1. Watching television has many positive and negative effects on the behavior among children. Positive effects include, while negative effects includes violence, behave aggressively and their emotional aspects affected.
  2. The Effects of Television
    1. Positive Effects
    2. Negative Effects
      1. Violence
      2. Behave aggressively
      3. Emotional Aspects affected

Watching television has positive effects (which include enhance learning skills and recognize emotions) and negative effects (includes violence, behave aggressively and lead to emotional problems) among children


Technology makes our life easy and it becomes a part of our lives everywhere, anywhere. Before the growth of the technology being rampant, there is a first major source of innovation in technology and that is the television. Television sets become a major industry in the world. Almost all the people in the world, in their households have television sets, and every day, more and more people tend to view on television.

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By touching its button and by searching different channels, it gives us benefits and solutions to our challenges in the modern-faced world. This includes receiving reports from local and world events, to inspire young minds by exploring geography and history, watch a fantasy, and to entertain us. Television also tends to escape from the reality, which gives us a temporary relief from our problems in life or when we feel depressed.

Due to the growing industry of television, television networks always wants to know their audience perspective on what kind of program they want to watch. Audiences have a big impact in the television industry – without them, no image on the screen. Most probably, adults are the one who watch, but as the time goes by, children also considered a part of their audience so that television networks consider the programs they watch.

Children in the 21st century are now exposed in the television screens and we cannot prevent that. They are treated by the researchers and policy makers as a “special audience” due they are in process to learn things from the screen (Potter, 2008). Also, they are not yet mature to select a show appropriate to them. So that, as more and more children tempt to watch, the more they see something wrong or something right depending on the content of the program they watch. As illustration, if a child sees violence, the more violent he become; and when he see educational and inspiring, it teaches him to learn new things. According to Hollenbeck & Slaby, 1979, children starts to spend television at the age of 6 months, as they grow up, it increases number of hours they spend on television until it reaches by up to six and a half hours every day. Because of this, we think that it leads to positive and negative effects of the behavior of children as they grow up. According to psychiatrist Dr. Victor Cline in his speech in Norfolk, New Virginia, that all the pictures they see in television, it can clearly affects the self-image then, later behavior of young people. He also added that mental diet is the same as nutritional diet. Once a child sees on a television, it will put what they see it in their mind, later; it will take its changes on their behavior once they grow up. He consider the children’s minds into a bank-whatever we put on it, we will get it back 10 years or more with an interest (Cline, 1989)

In general, watching television may lead to the positive and negative effects on the behavioral and emotional discourse of the children. Some positive effects are: it enhances learning skills and recognize emotions; and the negative effects are it leads to violence, behave aggressively and lastly, it leads to emotional problems.

Watching television has positive effects (which include enhance learning skills and recognize emotions) and negative effects (includes violence, behave aggressively and lead to emotional problems) among children

Positive Effects of Television

Television has a great benefit among children as they get easily aware and connect about the physical happenings in their modern-faced society (Gunter and McAleer, 1997: xii-xiii).They also stated that television is not ‘one-eyed monster’ who waits to spread evil over the young members of the household. This is an implication that when a child watches a significant program that is – educational, informative, and values-promoted shows will increase their intellectual growth. Researchers explain this, through watching preschoolers ‘Sesame Street’ regularly, it easily recognize their emotions and to cope trauma when the 9/11 terrorist attack in New York by featuring a story about grease fire in Hooper’s Stone which required the help of the brave firefighters (Wilson, 2008).

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Second positive effect of television among children is that they acquire basic languages on it. Studies shows that if they watch educational programs, their tendency is to learn basic shapes, numbers, letters, etc. if their parents guided them (Lemish and Rice, 1986). However, Naigles and Mayeux (2001) found that in certain circumstances children learn words and their meanings from educational programs that are specifically design for them (age, content etc.). Further, we must say that we select programs that are capable to their age and they must guide them in order for them to learn their language acquisition. Although still, there is no significant evidence that suggests television as part of their everyday lives to learn new things in life.

Negative Effects of Television

Violence is one of the primarily negative effects of television among children. Television violence had been increasing for the past years. In the studies, it shows that an average of 32 acts per hour, a child may see on the screen (Gerbner). Because of the number of violent acts a child may see, there is a result of the mental problem called “copycat phenomenon”. Copycat Phenomenon defines as imitating or copying the act or behavior of a person from a particular show (Sparks, 2013). An example of this is if a child sees on television, a person who acts to be violent; there is a possibility to imitate its action, further, once it continues to imitate until he/she grows up, it results as to be his/her personality. Many people have experience this even adults because it stirs up their emotions easily and somehow, they relate on that scene they watch. Further to that, it results in increasing number of crime and harm things; so that it is very alarming when a child happen to it. Violent television teaches children step-by-step; on how to commit mistakes and violent acts easily (Cline, 1989, 2B.).

Watching violence can lead to behaving aggressively. Does it really lead to behave aggressively among children? It is true that it may lead to behave them aggressively through the following factors: if a character in a particular scene performs violent acts; then that character receives a reward for their actions, and there is a possibility of increasing aggression to children especially on boys and not on girls. And this theory he proposed is the social learning theory (Bandura, 1973). To illustrate, if a child sees a scene in a screen which has violent acts, then later the character receives reward on it, there is a chance of imitating or again “Copycat Phenomenon”. But, if the character did not receive rewards from it but receive punishment, there is a small chance of that child will refrain to do that act. But, in his further studies, it shows that this effect is not clearly depending on kind of program they watch; it is regardless of the kind of program they watch. Therefore, whatever kind of program they watch still, there is a risk of their behavior due to prolonged expose to television and violence.

Once it changes their attitudes, it will clearly affect all their emotional aspects. Children emotions lead to anxiety, fear, trauma and even depression (Wilson, 2008). First, there is a possibility of anxiety to them. Second, their fear increases. There is a study that many children have experiences short-term reactions to television. When they watch a scary movie, (example is Monster House), they get react easily and probably they frightened. So that, after they watch it, they feel devastated and therefore, it results to trauma. It will also intensify these effects if they watch a particular news footage that contains tragedy or violence. As a result, children are full of fears to face the real-world. It will hard for them to express themselves and they might see the real-world as a difficult, more complicated and may a victim or real violence. It is normal, but, their emotional capacity maybe more difficult to cope.


Watching television has positive effects (which include enhance learning skills and recognize emotions) and negative effects (includes violence, behave aggressively and lead to emotional problems) among children


Potter, W. J. (2008). Media literacy 4th edition, Sage Publications, Thousand Oaks, CA: USA.

Sparks, G. G. (2013). Media Effects Research 4th Edition, Boston, MA: Wandsworth-Cengage Learning


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