How Television Affects Children

It was the next generation that was changed most by technology. In the 1950s, television entered the home becoming part of almost every family. It was not simply a tool. it entertained, educated and babysat the generations to follow. Society took its biggest leap either forward or backward, depending on your viewpoint, after the public adopted what was to become the family friend. I’ve always been told that each generation is progressively more violent, less active (lazier) and suffers from an increasingly diminished attention span. I have determined that the advent of television is the cause or certainly exacerbates these personal and societal deficits and it all starts with the viewing habits of children.
Studies vary on the exact amount of television children watch per day but it is commonly accepted that it is a large percentage of their lives outside school and sleep. While mesmerized in front of the T.V., children are exposed to many hours of violence, drug use, and sex as well as to influential, sophisticated and enticing commercials. Research regarding the behavioral outcomes of television advertising found that it is a significant factor in determining the specific items children request. From the time of television’s inception, no one has doubted that this medium would generate its operating revenues from advertising. However, advertising directed specifically toward children was not prevalent until the 1960s. It was at this time the networks discovered that to remain financially viable, they would have to find additional advertising audiences outside of the adult prime-time audiences that the advertisers had previously catered to (Adler, 1980).
Allen Kanner, a psychologist from Berkley University warns, Advertising to kids is like shooting fish in a barrel (Cooper, 2004). Kanner is one of 60 psychologists who have voiced their concerns to the American Psychological Association (APA) regarding television advertisements.