Television Impact on Kids

     The media sector of television has become very vast and has various inventions that have gained popularity among its users. There is a television in just about everyone’s home in the United States.
     Jimy Tallal a television audience psychologist stated that by his research he found that there are seven reasons why people like watching television which is: relaxation, emotional engagement, time-waster, curiosity, companionship, water cooler factor, and anticipation (La times).
     This is an issue because the television stations want recognition for the positive impact on children.
     What is the impact on children? I believe that there is an overall negative effect on the children and their relationship with television.
     I will inform my peers about the history of television, who was the first educational television station, and how television affects our children.
     Television was developed by many investors, and engineers across the globe. The development overlapped with mechanical, and electronic principles. The television was a combination of sound and picture. This signal was sent from a television tower to a viewer’s home. Television was viewed for entertainment mainly, but it was viewed for other purposes as well. Television at its early stages was shown in black, and white. Colour televisions were invented in later years. The sets or monitors of the television started small, and gradually became larger as time went on. The quality of early television was not that great, because the mechanical television was at its basic stages. Television was a new invention, and new updates were made gradually as time went on.
     World War II stopped further development to the mechanical television model, so the progress of the television or growth was at a standstill.
     Advertising remained being aired by radio telecasting, and the progress of the war was reported on the radio also. The price of a television remained high as well; so the average person could not afford the new invention called the television.
     After World War II, the price of television dropped and the new invention was mass-produced. The nineteenth-century invention blossomed; advertising began to be one of the television station’s biggest profits. This gave way for the television to begin to be enhanced further, and more program ideas to be added.
     In 1934, television became all electronic; all the mechanical sets were of no use at this time. In 1941, the Federal Communication Commission licensed television stations to broadcast their signal into many homes by an assigned channel.
     Each television station was given a number to use and their frequency was spread out between each television station’s transmissions on the air. At first, some of the station’s frequency interfered with each other’s channel, so the Federal Communication Commission issued new numbers. The television broadcasting era became an immediate success. The world began to broadcast television signals from stations by an assigned channel.
     The first licensed public television station in the United States was WCET of Cincinnati, Ohio. WCET began broadcasting on July 26, 1954, from Music Hall, but with the help of the Cincinnati community and William H. Alders. WCET was governed by a board of trustees which were 53 member institutions. The Television station was assigned channel 48, operated on analog, and transmitted on 400-kilo watts of power. The station stood for The Cincinnati Educational Television owned by The Greater Cincinnati Educational Television Foundation.
Numerous television stations operated on VHF, but WCET operated on UHF because all the VHF channels were taken in the telecasting radius in the region. VHF meant very high frequency and UHF meant ultra-high frequency on the band to transmit television signals.
     According to The Federal Communication Commission, the major disadvantage of UHF is its broadcast range and reception, often referred to as line-of-sight between the TV station’s transmission antenna and customer’s reception antenna, as opposed to VHF’s very long broadcast range and reception which is less restricted by line-of-sight.
     So to view WCET’s programming, a viewer had to either buy a converter box or buy a television that allowed viewers to use both frequencies. At this time only 500 television sets could receive the signal. The first program was called Tel- A- Story which had an adult telling a story to several children. The television station aired one program every 15 minutes, but most of the programs were on five hours a day, five days a week schedule. There were other programs like news, sports, weather reports, and do- it- yourself shows, poetry workshops, jazz clinics, and business trends. From 1959 to 1960 there were over 30 hours of programming for the viewer to enjoy.
     WCET was Ohio’s first educational television station reaching more than 2 million residents, 470,000 students, and 37,000 teachers. WCET became closely tied to the Cincinnati Public Schools system; however, it was also broadcasted to living rooms all across the greater Cincinnati region. The primary mission was to provide high-quality educational programming. In school telecasts, productions go through the same process as WCET’s other productions, but the planning and production are handled by the Department of Instructional Television Services.
     In June 1976, WCET was serving over 180,000 students in more than 300 schools in southwestern Ohio. Many of the series that was produced for educational purposes began to be distributed through national libraries to schools across America.
     The educational television station CET is the first to be licensed in the region of Ohio but was not the first to be licensed in the nation of the United States. The first educational television station was KUHT on June 8th, 1953 in Houston, TX. According to the Federal Communication Commission on average, children spend about four hours a day watching television. Sixty-eight percent of eight to eighteen-year-olds have a television in their bedrooms; sixty-three percent of households the television is on during mealtime.
     In fifty-three percent of households of seventh to twelfth graders, there are no rules about watching television. Fifty-one percent of households have television on most of a twenty-four-hour day; therefore, children on average watch almost one point five hours more per day than children without a television in their bedrooms. Watching television is replacing activities that a child usually would be doing in their life. Excessive television viewing can contribute to poor grades, sleep problems, behavior problems, and obesity.
     According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, a parent should not place an infant or toddler in front of the television. The concern is that targeted programming for children harms the development of the child’s brain. Television can discourage and replace reading; reading helps healthy brain development. A child who watches a lot of television spend less time reading and being read to, this can cause a child to less likely be able to read.
     According to the research studies of Georgia Better Brains for Babies, children learn language through experience.  When adults read to children, neurons connect and a vocabulary builds.  When adults and children read a favorite book, again and again, connections in the child’s brain become stronger and more complex.
     Talking about the story also contributes to brain development. As adults discuss the storyline with children, even more, new words are introduced. Vocabulary increases and children start to learn the process of conversation. Watching television or listening to a recorded story does not have the same benefits of live conversation. The interaction in give and take conversation is the key experience that wires the brain to develop language.
     The Department of Education states that language skills are best developed by reading and interactions with others in conversation or play. All television shows education or commercial replace physical activity in a child’s life. The metabolic rate goes lower while watching television than just sitting doing nothing. According to the research study by Dr. Elsie Taveras of Harvard Medical School children who sleep the least and watched television instead had a better chance of becoming obese. The study required real-time information from mothers of children from six months old till two years old. The researchers found that five hundred, and eighty-six of the children slept an average of twelve hours or more a day.  Three hundred and twenty-nine of the children slept less than that, but seven percent of the longer sleepers were obese by age three. Seventeen percent of the children who watched two or more hours of television a day became obese by the age of three. The Family Education Network argues that watching television while eating junk food with no physical activates leads to obesity.
     The Kaiser Family Foundation found in their studies that television viewing is associated with altered sleep patterns and sleep disorders among children. The study found that infants and toddlers who watch television have more irregular sleep schedules.
     According to the research study done by the American Academy of Pediatrics testing children from twelve months to thirty-five months of age for irregular naptime and bedtime schedules, hours of television watched daily and other factors. The results from two thousand and sixty-eight children were thirty-four percent of all the children had irregular naptime schedules. Twenty-seven percent had irregular bedtime schedules, and the television viewing hours were nine hours a day for twelve-month-olds. One point six hours for children from twelve to twenty-three months, and two points three hours for children twenty-four to thirty-five months.
     The Canadian Pediatric Society argues that parents should only allow one hour of television per day for children from ages 2 to 5 years old. But the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no television for children under two years of age. Children from the age of two to five imitate aggressive behavior after watching shows like cartoons.  In conclusion, television has an extremely negative effect on anyone who watches it; children are affected the most. The educational television was thought to be positive at the beginning of its creation, but studies have proven it is not an overall success. Yes, it is a technical world but our brains are still biological and it needs to be exercised.
     Newton N. Minow, from the Federal Communications Commission, says,” Children will watch anything, and when a broadcaster uses crime and violence and other shoddy devices to monopolize a child’s attention, it’s worse than taking candy from a baby. It is taking precious time from the process of growing up.”
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William West I Manuel

Based out of Cincinnati, Ohio. University of Cincinnati alumi in the studies of Electronic Media. Graduate of King University with a bachelor's degree in business.

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