The Dangers of Television

I would like to share this information that was submitted by my 17 yr old daughter for a school project
Written by Raychele Ray & Amber Coponen English 6 May 2011

Definitely worth the read.

(‘Advertising Is Harmful to Children’).
Is this how our future generations should act; five-year-olds, wanting inappropriate clothing just to fit in with their favorite movie stars?
Is this becoming an acceptable practice, or is there an influence that should be rid of to fix this problem?  

“When parents arrive to pick up their five-year-old daughters from a birthday party, they are surprised to find that they all have heavy makeup on.
Music from the Disney movie, HS Musical 3 [High School Musical 3: Senior Year], is blaring and the girls are doing a hip-gyrating, sexy dance taught to them by the birthday girl's teenage cousin.

At a store the next day, one party attendee, Jessica, runs to a HS Musical padded bra and bikini panty set and excitedly demands that her mother buy it for her—another girl at the party just got them!

Every time a lively rhythm comes on the PA [public address] system, Jessica begins gyrating her hips just like on the screen. She practices her dancing at home, too, and keeps asking to see the movie”

Over the years as television becomes more popular, many viewers are starting to conform to what they see as acceptable in their favorite shows and movies. 
Many people are becoming more unhealthy and immoral as television shows become more and more influential to society. Television encourages violence, early sexual readiness, discrimination of different races, ethnicities, genders, and sexual orientation throughout the shows and movies that are exposed to the public. This proves that television has had many negative effects on its viewers in society.

Watching television doesn’t just harm people in the physical state, but also the mental state; 
television is proven to cause ADHD in many people, mostly children. “Some studies link early TV viewing with later attention problems, such as ADHD” (‘Television and Children’).  “Kids who watch a lot of TV have trouble paying attention to teachers because they are accustomed to the fast-paced visual stimulation on TV” (‘Raise Smart Kid’). This explains why some children who watch hours of television struggle with paying attention during classes or completing assignments on time. They are used to answers being given to them visually instead of using critical thinking and solving problems on their own, according to this article.  

Children and adults depend on their imagination to do many things in life. 
Television takes away the dependence of imagination and replaces it with mindless situations and ideas portrayed in movies and shows, causing viewers to lose their sense of creativity. “TV viewing numbs your kid's mind as it prevents your child from exercising initiative, being intellectually challenged, thinking analytically, and using his imagination.” (‘Raise Smart Kid’).  Creativity in people is decreasing as the popularity of television increases. “…these children focus their energy on imitating favorite television characters whom they know from secondhand experience. They are not using their creativity and imagination to develop their own characters and scripts, problems and solutions from their direct experience. They have a hard time coming up with their own interesting and meaningful problems to work on and solve in their own unique ways—the very foundation of learning, development, and well-being” (‘Advertising Is Harmful to Children’). 

People use characters in movies or shows to create their own identity instead of using their own experiences and their own ideas to shape their lives. 
Our survey indicates that 58% of teenagers agree that television takes a toll on viewer’s imagination and can hinder them from creating their own ideas. Others feel that television does just the opposite, increasing imagination in viewers. Many shows give children ideas they could work off of when playing. Although this is a good argument, ideas children get from television don’t always challenge the viewer, and may also have unrealistic characteristics and consequences. 
An example would be an incident in an article: 
“A parent worriedly wrote me about her first-grade son, Julian. He and two of his friends have just been sent to the principal's office for the third time in as many weeks for attacking another child on the playground. They play 'good guys' and randomly label an unsuspecting child on the playground the 'bad guy.' Then they attack him just like in their 'favorite' superhero movie.”(‘Advertising Is Harmful To Children’). Children will soon no longer have an imagination, but depend on television to give them their next idea for entertainment. Unfortunately, this isn’t the only problem television creates.

As many know, the problem of obesity has risen throughout America tremendously in the past couple of years. 
Many researchers claim that television is the reason, for more people are spending their time indoors in front of the TV set, doing nothing but lying around and eating food that the commercials endorse. “Children who watch TV for more hours are more likely to be prone to overweight problems” (‘How TV Affects Your Child’).  
Instead of being outdoors and active, people would rather spend their time inside sitting around watching television. 51% of households constantly have their television on, contributing to procrastination, laziness, and overall obesity. 
“There appears to be a strong relationship between time spent in front of the television and being overweight. In fact, this past March the American Medical Association held a special briefing in New York City to alert parents about the well proven link between TV viewing and obesity. This well-known couch-potato syndrome is probably the result of taking in too many calories junk food which is advertised on television stuffed in unconsciously as kids stare at the screen and not burning up enough calories sitting still rather than running around and playing” (‘Televisions Effects On Kids’). 
Many pro-television supporters claim that television is not the reason for the rising rate of obesity in our country. They believe it is all of the unhealthy food that is being consumed while people are watching their shows. Although this is a contributing factor of obesity, they must realize that many of those junk food companies are advertised on television, encouraging viewers to buy their products. Also, those who watch TV are normally just sitting around while they do so, causing a lack in physical activity; also leading to obesity indirectly from television. Not only does television cause physical problems such as obesity, it is also starting to cause many moral issues throughout society.

As many adolescent, and more recently, young viewers of television get involved with different types of shows, they begin to start idolizing their favorite characters. 
Unfortunately, many of the shows being aired during this time period have a lot of sexual content appearing in even programs for children. This causes viewers to follow these characters; becoming more sexually involved and accepting at an early age, rushing into relationships without thinking, and treating others as if they are just objects of pleasure instead of human beings. “Up to 81% of music videos contain sexual imagery, the majority of which sexually objectifies women by presenting them in revealing clothing, as decorative sexual objects, dancing sexually, or in ways that emphasize body parts or sexual readiness.” (‘The Sexualization of Girls Is Harmful’). 

Children, teens, and adults alike are influenced by what they watch on television. People loss their individuality when watching television. “Watching sex on TV increases the chances a teen will have sex, and may cause teens to start having sex at younger ages.  Even viewing shows with characters talking about sex increases the likelihood of sexual initiation…Watching sexual content on TV is linked to becoming pregnant or being responsible for a pregnancy.  Researchers found that even after controlling for other risk factors, the chance of teen pregnancy went up with more exposure to sex on television” (‘Television and Children’). 

Also, teen pregnancy has risen in the years, mostly caused by television. All the shows and movies based around teen pregnancy (Teen Mom, Juno, Secret Life of the American Teenager, and 16 and Pregnant) are making teens think that pregnancy is okay, or not very consequential. Most of these shows have a way of making teen pregnancy seems fine; they don’t show all the hardships you will face. Not even with being a mother at such a young age, but even socially. You will be looked at differently, not just by adults, but fellow classmates. Others may argue that having some type of sexual content on television is a good thing. Many shows that contain such content do not mention safe sex, and many even reject such action through the characters’ decisions. 
As television exploits the idea of sex, it also “teaches” many children the fundamentals of their education.

Television shows try to pull parents in, saying they are educational. Hearing this, parents not only allow but encourage their children to watch these shows. 
These shows stretch the truth; they may have educational content, but the question is, are children actually absorbing what they are meant to teach them? Most children end up watching shows they want to, the ones that are mindless and non-educational; no longer teaching the kids, contributing to the lowering of grades. 
“Excessive TV viewing can contribute to poor grades…” (‘Television and Children’). As stated here, no effort put towards homework means bad grades in school. Also, when younger children spend all their time watching television, it hinders the time spent learning skills like reading and proper grammar at a young age. “Kids watching cartoons and entertainment television during pre-school years have poorer pre-reading skills at age 5” (‘Raise Smart Kid’). 
According to our survey of our classmates, over 58% of students agreed that television does not affect the outcome of their grades or homework. “A new study suggests that educational television programs are successful in broadening young children’s knowledge” (‘Educational TV has positive Effects’).  Unfortunately, these shows do not challenge children. The answer to the problem comes up on screen within seconds and they don’t actually need to do the work, so they sit there and wait. Young children need to be interacted with and read with to be able to read and speak correctly at the right age. ‘Dora the Explorer’ isn’t the person who needs to be reading to your child, you are. Teach them the skills they will need as they grow older. As we see here, television not only takes a toll on you mentally and physically, it inhabits your children from gaining the necessary skills they will need in time. 

But what about the dangers of television we see in not only development, but society as well?

Violence rates have increased throughout the years, but who would ever think it is caused because of such a simple thing as television?  
Since the television has really become popular, crime rate have been escalating. The violence shown in television shows and movies has a negative effect on not just children, but every viewer. They see violence from their idols in movies, with little to no consequences for their actions. This is seen as crime being an accepted practice, assuming that the criminal will get away with it all and come out on top; an idea that is unrealistic and dangerous. Shows from wrestling to common cartoons have violence with no consequences. People from young children to adults see television in many shows they watch. They see that the characters in the cartons never die or the violence in the movies for older views have little consequences. This gives viewers a feeling of being untouchable. “Extensive research evidence indicates that media violence can contribute to aggressive behavior, desensitization to violence, nightmares, and fear of being harmed” (‘Television and Children’). 
According to our survey, questioning over 130 teenagers, about 61% of the populace have declared that violence is indeed coming from television shows and is influencing those who watch them significantly. “Many shows glamorize violence. “TV often promotes violent acts as a fun and effective way to get what you want, without consequences” (‘Television and Children’).

Well there’s a big fact about life that those programs don’t tell you; you can’t always get what you want. 
Despite this fact, some people still argue that children see the violence at home or out in the world, and what they see on television has no effect on their actions. Others say that television has a positive effect on its viewers because it shows how to help others in need, or portray other morals to its viewers. If children can pick up violence at home or out in the world and use the good morals in television, who says they can’t pick up the negative aspects of television as well? 
If they can know to help others by simply watching T.V. like people say, they can learn to be violent with television also. As you have seen, television has so many negative effects on you, and you may have never even known it.

Television has negative effects on its viewers of all ages, definitely causing more harm than good. 
Television can make its viewers more violent and unaware of the consequences of their negative actions. Over 61% of Americans watch at least 2 hours of television daily. It not only has effects on your child’s reading levels and grades, but also can cause them to get ADHD, shortening their attention span. Also, it is not only unhealthy because of it leading to poor diet and obesity, but it can hinder creativity and imagination as well.

 All of these factors are making people all around different than themselves. 
We are creating unreal people in ourselves and others. Take into consideration the young girl influenced by the movies she has watched; if she never viewed them, she may have acted like a normal child and had her own imagination and her own way of expressing herself; not somebody else’s way. 

So as you consider the effects being made on you as you watch your favorite programs, maybe you should ask yourself; without television, who would you be?
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