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The Impact of Background Television on Parent Child Interaction

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These activities are considered to be extremely important for the social and cognitive development of the child. Through this paper, an effort is made to understand the relationship between background television and parent child interaction, as well as the consequences thereof. Impact Of Background Television On Parent – Child Interaction Effects and Relationship Research For most American households, television has become an integral part of daily life. It has been observed that most family time is spent in front of the television rather than on constructive activities which might have a more positive influence in the long term on the intellect as well as social and emotional development of children. In keeping with this trend, the exposure of very young children to television programs has increased tremendously in recent years. This effect has been noted in children as young as one year. Although infants and toddlers ordinarily pay little active attention to television programs directed toward adults (Schmidt et al, 2008: Schmitt, Anderson amp. Collins, 1999), it is possible that exposure to adult television programming may have a significant developmental effect. The main purpose of this writing is not to assess the direct impact of television viewing on children but to attempt to understand the impact of background television on the nature and quality of parent child interaction, particularly in the case of toddlers who are in a critical stage of development. Several studies in this field have revealed that children in the presence of television, irrespective of the nature of program, tend to display shorter attention spans and lose interest in play more quickly. It has also been demonstrated that television programs aimed toward adults tend to distract parents. as a result the quantity and quality of time spent interacting and playing with their children is significantly diminished. Through this paper an attempt has been made to understand the effects of background television on the parent child interaction, as well as the on the cognitive and social development of toddler children. Experiments conducted with the target group in a controlled environment have been incorporated in order to assess the outcomes and understand the relationship between television programming directed toward adults and the development of young children. Method In order to assess the purpose of the study, that is to measure the effect of background television on parent child interaction, a group of very young children between the ages of 11 and 37 months along with their parents were enrolled in the study and observed during a one hour period. During the first half of the observation period the television was kept on with the adult’s choice of program and in the second half the television was not made a part of the experimental environment. Participants The participant group comprised of 51 unrelated children in the age group ranging from 16 months to 19 months and one parent. Information about the socioeconomic status with respect to education was also collected from the parents in order to get some information about their background. It was discovered that 25% of the parents were high school diploma holders, 45% were undergraduates and the remaining 30% of the parents were university graduates. Research Design The research design adopted for this study was a 3 (age of child: 12, 24, 36 months) x