The Media and Our Children

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Television and the media that it displays can bring about physical, mental, emotional, and intellectual implications. The negative ramifications and influences of television on children can result in permanence if the problem is not solved while they are still young. The more time that a child spends in front of the television, the less time they spend participating in anything else. Of all the things shunted aside and neglected for the sake of the television, exercise is often at the top of the list. The most favored activity while watching television, however, is eating sugary and starchy snacks. As such, obesity has become an increasing concern in young children due to the amount of time spent watching television in comparison to the time spent exercising or playing. Children that watch over four hours of television on a daily basis are more likely to weigh more than children who spend less time in front the television (Bryant amp. Thompson 128). When children combine constant immobilization with continuous eating, they risk gaining an excessive, unhealthy weight. Unhealthy weight gain for a child carries with it the potential of other health consequences, such as diabetes, heart strain, which can lead to heart failure, and health complications as the child reaches adulthood (Liebert amp. Sprafkin 94). While some of these health issues can be prevented and even reversed if the weight is lost in a safe and timely fashion, if it is not taken care of, children can experience them for the rest of their lives. Media exists as entertainment, providing children with many shows and movies to exercise their imagination and to simply entertain. Unfortunately, there are just as many shows and movies that are not made for children but are just as easily accessible given the ease of using the television and navigating through the various stations and programs. Quite a lot of this media consists of graphic violence, sexual activity, and great quantities of drugs and alcohol. The younger that children are, the more impressionable and influenced they are by the things that they are subjected to by media. The graphic images and ideas that are presented to children can leave a lasting impression or negatively influence the way they view the world and respond to issues in their lives. A startling correlation has been found between media violence and aggressive behaviors and children displaying violent acts and behaviors (Kelemwork 29). As children witness these negative and often dangerous behaviors in the media, they feel that they are being condoned. Children become more willing to participate in these actions because they saw them on television, and then they apply them to situations in their own lives where they see fit. Instead of talking out their problems or seeking help from an adult, they allow the anger that they have learned to become solutions. Similarly, children engage in the risky behavior that is so openly displayed in media, such as promiscuity, drug and alcohol abuse, and rebellion against authoritative figures. If children see these activities in the media, yet nobody is there to explain the difference between right and wrong, fact and fiction, the children are apt to experience the actions for themselves.