The New Way of Usage of Television and Electronic Media Essay Example

Television and electronic media usage have increased greatly over the years. Almost every household has at least one TV set and several electronic devices. The role of electronic devices and TV use has been an interest to many scholars and still is a concern to academics, policymaker, and pediatric organizations.  Early television and media exposure has become an important issue due to parents commonly using television, media games, and interactive books as tools to educate their toddlers. 

There are many recommendations against the use of screen media for children younger than 18 months, and for toddlers over the age of 2. These recommendations were established on previous research that suggested that television viewing was associated with increased negative outcomes such as emotional and behavioral issues in children.  Despite the support that linked early TV use practices to cognitive and behavioral development, excessive TV exposure is not always associated with social, cognitive, and behavioral outcomes among toddlers. There can be many underlying issues such as excessive television viewing, adult programme viewing, and unattended TV viewing which can anticipate social difficulties and conduct problems in toddlers. The aim of the study was to investigate the effect of television on socio-emotional development in children. The purpose of this study was to find any links between TV viewing practices during toddlerhood and future social difficulties and conduct problems.

The data for the study was obtained from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Birth Cohort, the ECLS‐B.  The ECLS-B was intended to provide parents, teachers, and researchers detailed information about children’s early experiences with the focus on development, health/care, and education during the developing years from birth (approx. 9 months) to kindergarten. The criteria used in the study included three independent variable (a) the amount of television viewing; which was tested by asking two questions involving the hours of TV watched both on weekdays and weekends , (b) what the child was watching; which was tested by asking parents and caregivers whether the child primarily viewed adult or children's content when viewing TV, and  (c)  unattended television viewing; which was examined by asking parents how often a week they or another family member (e.g., the father,brother..) watch TV together with the child, how often the play along with the child, and how often they play games and activities with the child after the TV programme was done.

When the children reached kindergarten, the data on their behavior and social relationships were collected.  The results revealed that TV viewing during toddlerhood appeared to be related to peer interactions more than behavioral problems. To be exact, the results indicated that the likelihood of problems with social interactions at school between peers may be reduced when family members watch children content with the toddler and make it an interactive experience. On the other hand, when toddlers engage in unattended TV viewing and/or view adult content, their social development during early childhood may suffer negatively. This research highlighted how there are limitations to prior studies that failed to detect potential factors that can result in developmental factors.

The first limitation includes what content toddlers are watching which are considered “child content” whether it is attended or unattended. An example can be a toddler watching content aimed for children aged 6-7 rather than watching content aimed for their age group. Another limitation of the research is the fact that it does not account for how children view TV. Some children can be active and engaging viewers and others can be passive viewers. Another limitation includes the collection of television data being too old (i.e., 2006-2007). Due to the rapid development of technology and age of the data, it did not account for modern portable electronic devices such as smartphones and tablets.  The author acknowledged that future research is needed in order to expand on the present study by exploring the “content and context” television viewing over time which can influence social development in children as they advance in school.

With the new findings from the research, there are certainly ways to apply the knowledge learned here to the real world. The findings are consistent with the idea that television is usually the cause of many problems in children however, it can become the solution. When toddlers and young children are using electronic media, parents can help reduce the risk of social issues by simply engaging in “attentive viewing” with their toddlers. This can also help establish a more appropriate and useful usage of in electronic media than merely limiting the amount of television the toddler views. In order to promote child development in a digital world, parents can benefit from gaining knowledge from health care provider on appropriate screen usage for their toddlers and children.



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