In the United States of America, most children spend nearly two to four hours watching television. This habit is bound to change as the underage grow older. Children are usually the target consumers of the media. They get excited and are constantly interested in various contents. The reason is that the media gives them access to the contemporary world and cause wonder and excitement in their lives.
A varied range of media materials offer diverse information to the youngsters
The media has grown to a great fighter for the heart and the mind of the children as opposed to all the other factors. It has gained the status of the youth’s second parent as children spend most of their time with the media rather than with their parents. Diverse television programs play a major role in the shaping of behavior. Owing to the fact that there are a lot of information and interesting aspects of various types of the media, they influence the general perception, views and behavior of children.
Children television shows are connected to gender stereotyped systems in many ways. There has been considerable strain to abolish gender stereotyping in television shows for minors. Television takes a lot of time to deliver amusement to younger children. Every morning there are programs for children of all ages. The staging of gender roles exerts a key influence on youngsters’ lives in a lot of ways. For instance, in Sesame Street being an educational program presented far more male than female personalities. Boys are the core members as they do things and exercise respected responsibilities whereas girls act in the background (Kimmel, 2000).
Another children television program that has gender stereotyping is the Power Rangers. The program has been seen to encourage gang behavior in which the underage proclaim themselves the good rangers and therefore feel that it is right to harm other youngsters who are believed to be bad ones. Children are seen to imitate the ‘power rangers’. It promotes excessive aggressive play which is hampered by inventive, accommodating deeds as minors are considered to emulate the fighting of the power rangers in their play and, as a consequence, many conflicts explode (Humez, 2003).
Piaget observed that children recognize perceptions and reasons unlike at different stages. On each stage, the underage are assumed to believe and ideate in a dissimilar way. The stages he focused on, and their estimated ages when they arise, were: the sensory-motor stage (from 0 to 2 years), the stage of pre-operations (from 2 to 7 years), the stage of physical actions (from 7 to 11 years), and the epoch of reserved actions (from 11 to 12 years).
Piaget stated children's cognitive approaches which are used to resolve problems, reveal the relations connecting the child’s present developmental stage and experience in the world. The focal point of this theory is on the function of environmental aspects in shaping the intellect of children, particularly on a child’s capability to learn by watching programs such as the Power Ranger and Sesame Street and their subsequent behavior (Shaffer & Kipp, 2009).
Kohlberg's bases his theory on 3 stages of moral growth
The first stage is the preconvention stage in which a person is concerned with the cost of their actions, the second is the conservative stage whereby a person's choice is founded on society's perception of right and wrong, and the third stage where judgments are founded on individual standards (Craighead & Nemeroff, 2004).
According to an article published in 2008 on Developmental Stages and Milestones of Child Development, children acquire new abilities and growth on top of old abilities and developments from phase to phase; each phase is collective. A child is capable of running bases in a match of baseball in the center childhood stage because they were first able to walk close to the end of their childhood phase (Oswalt, 2008).
The entrance and exit from the range of developmental phases are more inclined to take place at particular ages. Often, a child's phase of development can be outlined by a child's age since children usually experience the same phases at the same ages. On the other hand a child's age offers a hint as to his stage; however, it does not conclude it. Every child grows at his or her own pace. These are the responsibilities and skills that the children master that can accurately define what stage they are in. Due to this fact, dissimilar children of similar age can be estimated to be at distinctive growth stages.
The media has a number of impacts that have educative role in the underage development. It is an influence that adds value to their lives and helps them to learn a lot about life and environment in general. Moreover, it provides with the information that the youngsters would not have gotten easily from other sources and in an interesting way.
The media offers children an opportunity for learning
There are some programs and shows that have continued to offer educative values to minors such as the Sesame Street, Blue’s Clues, Barney and Teletubbies. Programs on the Discovery, National Geographic and Animal Planet are informative as the teenagers get to know more about animals that they have never seen, places that are interesting and unusual things people do in other places. Through these programs the youth visualize animals and places and gain an understanding of the theories that are often incomprehensible at classrooms.
Pro-social behavior learning envisages learning of positive aspects of behavior from another person. There are a lot of programs that are designed to help children learn a lot about the social behavior, namely helping others, sharing other societal values. The programs help children understand how to tackle problems that they encounter in the outer world like in the community and at the schools. Minors watching the art aspect in the Sesame Street get the idea of practicing the same using crayons during their art classes. These pro-social programs have been proven to have a positive change in youths behavior, especially when playing, therefore increasing their altruism. The younger children are also bound to adopt good behaviors because they are usually easier taught than the older ones (Roberts & Foehr, 2004).
Despite having positive effects, the media has a number of bad influences on the underage. Such effects are acquired by the youths as a result of constant uncontrollable access to the media.
Children are always bound to acquire new modes of behavior and traits not from their parents but from role models that they constantly watch in the media. Due to this imitation, they have body deformations and eating disorders. Most young girls think that they should be on diet because most magazines and television programs show thin girls whose body shape could be inherited from their parents. Youngsters, therefore, tend to copy everything from their favorite models and characters. As a consequence, girls force themselves to starve in order to be thin. This is said to start at the age of eight because there are a lot of role models in cartoons such as super heroes and characters in video games which influence children.
In conclusion, the media has a lot of positive and negative effects on children
The preset world has seen technological advancement and changes which have increased the minors’ exposure to the mass media. It is the responsibility of the parents to ensure that the underage watch the right programs. All these negative aspects can be overcome through proper supervision and monitoring of what the youths watch and have access to in the media.