Monitoring – Keeping a watchful eye

Watching

Question do you have any clues about the entertainment offered to people today?  Do you have an idea on how it affects everyday life?  Media is given to us in many forms.  It has been said that we become the books we read and the people we associate with.  Now also television, the internet, and mass or social media and gaming have such an influential impact on us.   However neutral these items are they can influence us in either a good way or a bad way.

It is a tool to be used for an intended purpose

When things are used appropriately as well as safely it brings many benefits, but when it is used outside of its purpose it causes abuse. Good whole-sum entertainment is just that. The opposite which is bad entertainment is also true. It is plenty of debate on what is harmful versus what’s not harmful. Many researchers have studied the effect that television and other media have on people, especially children.  See American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry on how the repeated viewing of violent content on television may affect a child.  And they also give some tips on how you might protect your child.

Television itself is entertainment and a source of information and news, that is its purpose.  It is neutral to its many audiences. The industry says it the individual responsibility to choose the viewing on their television.  That being said the American  Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry suggest the following concerning children:

  • Pay attention to the programs your children are watching and watch some with them
  • Set limits on the amount of time they spend with the television; consider removing the TV set from the child’s bedroom
  • Point out that although the actor has not actually been hurt or killed, such violence in real life results in pain or death
  • Refuse to let your children see shows known to be violent, and change the channel or turn off the TV set when the offensive material comes on, with an explanation of what is wrong with the program
  • Disapprove of the violent episodes in front of the children, stressing the belief that such behavior is not the best way to handle a problem
  • Help with peer pressure among friends and classmates by contacting other parents and agreeing to enforce similar rules about the length of time and type of program the children may watch

The American  Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry also suggest that parents can also use these measures to prevent harmful effects from television in other areas such as racial or sexual stereotyping.  The number of time children watches TV, regardless of content, should be moderated because it decreases the time spent on more beneficial activities such as reading, playing with friends, and developing hobbies.

Healthy Development

Attention should always be placed on children during their development because so much that can affect them. Electronic devices do not qualify to be a babysitter for your children, in most cases, they are not healthy for the development of a child.  Remember they are neutral. They don’t differentiate between who uses them. what may be appropriate for an adult is not necessarily appropriate for a child. I firmly believe that behavior is learned, which makes it very important, to monitor all media children see.

 I also believe that a lot of poor behavior would be eliminated, if certain media is kept from children that may agitate them during their growth and development.  Pay attention to parental discretion is advised.

Facts and TV Statistics

From Parent Television Council; a non-partisan education
organization advocating responsibility entertainment.

The New Media
  • A new study in the Journal of Pediatrics says the average eight-year-old child spend eight hours a day on media. A teen typically more than 11 hours of media a day.
  • In 2011, 36% of teens had a smartphone.  In 2014, it grew to 79%.
  • Nearly 43% of kids have bullied online.  1 in 4 says it has happened more than once.
  • Only 1 in 10 kids report bullying to their parents.
  • More than 58% of children surveyed (aged 3-18) frequently communicate online with someone they’ve never met in person.
  • 37% have received a link to sexually explicit content
Television

1949: 2% of US homes had television’
1955: 64%     1968 93%
2007:  more than 98% of US homes have at least one television set.
Cable TV
1970: about 7% of homes had cable television.
2008: about 60% of US homes have cable television.

The Numbers
  • Children Watching Violent Broadcast TV Shows Exposed to Guns or Bladed Weapons Every 3 Minutes.
  • The most violent shows on broadcast TV have essentially similar levels of violence as the most violent cable TV shows, rendering untrue the popular assumption that broadcast TV is a “safer” media environment for children.
  • 2/3 of children in the United States have television sets in their bedrooms.
  • Children watch about 28 hours of television a week.
  • Children spend more time watching television than time spent in school.
  • Children spend more time watching television than any other activity except sleep.
  • Television reaches children at a younger age and for more time than any other socializing institution except the family.
  • More and more homes have multiple TVs, meaning children have greater opportunity to view programs without parental consent or supervision.
  • By the age 18, a U.S. youth will have seen 16,000 simulated murders and 200,000 acts of violence. American Psychiatric Association
  • In a national opinion poll conducted for TV Guide (8/2/03), 57% of TV viewers said they notice an increase in the offensive material on television lately.
Video Games
  • 75% of American households with more than one child have video game equipment.
  • Approximately 40% of families with preschoolers own video game equipment.
  • 97% of teens ages 12-17 play computer, web, portable, or console games; 50% played games “yesterday.” Pew Research Center 

As time has passed the increase in uses of these devices has penetrated over 90% of US homes.  You may find helpful rating information and or education at the Parent Television Council.

Usefulness

Televisions, Tablets, Laptops,  Gaming, and other media can be helpful.  It all about the choice of how we used them.  This is especially true of how a child is allowed to use them.