Children and the amount of television they watch has always been an ongoing issue. Just like video games, many people suspect that both provide an easy access to violence and unfamiliar concepts. Is that all television is? Mindless violence? Or can some programs actually educate our youth? Many children’s programming nowadays implement an educational process called “prosocial.” Prosocial programming use shows that intend to teach children life lessons, and specific morals. One of the most popular stations for this kind of programming is PBS. PBS hosts a numerous amount of diverse educational programming, such as one of their highest-rated, The Magic School Bus. Aimed towards school-aged children, this show uses the aspect of prosocial education to exemplify the importance of teamwork, respect, friendship, and fun.
However, unlike prosocial programming, educational programming is strictly that, educational. These programs are implemented to teach children the idea of numbers, letters, words, etc. While focused towards a much younger audience, these shows have a direct objective to teach a specific lesson. A great example of this is, Sesame Street. Sesame Street uses many different characters in order to instill in kids various curriculums. Characters such as Count Von Count, teaches kids the important of numbers and counting, while Telly Monster, another character, teaches the importance of shapes, and sizes.
Although prosocial and educational programming can vary in regard to what and how they teach particular a lesson, they can be quite similar as well. Several shows aired on the cable television network Nickelodeon such as, Blues Clues and Dora the Explorer use a combination of the two programming styles, to both educate and apply social skills.
Provided with the idea the television is in fact schooling our youth in various skills and lessons, it shouldn’t be a replacement for teachers or parents. Human interaction is quickly becoming one of our societies biggest problems. With the Internet, smart phones, and television surrounding our lives, there’s no need for human interaction anymore when we can just communicate through technology. We continue to start our children out with technology at a younger and younger age each day, and that I fear is worse than the programming itself. So while television isn’t in fact the root of all evil for our children to watch, it is still better in limitations and moderation.
Are television programs programming our youth to be socially impaired?
“Idiot box”, the well known nickname for the all-American television set. For years people have been slandering television and the problems said to have come along with it. Violence, obesity, and explicit content are some of the most commonly addressed controversial issues when dicussing the cons of TV. One of today’s growing concerns with television is the “fact” that it is breeding a generation of childen who do not know how to communicate properly. Although I do not exactly agree with this statement, I do believe that there is a such thing as “too much of a good thing”. Watching television alone does not cause children to be incapable of social interaction, in fact there are plenty of informational channels dedicated to teaching our youth the importance of education and even social interaction; it is when hours of watching TV are paired with countless hours of internet browsing and electronic usage a problem occurs. Instead of spending time outdoors, more and more children prefer being cooped up in the house all day, doing nothing but tweeting about what they saw on television with their hi-tech phones. Back in my day, children would have rather spent time with their family and friends opposed to communicating using devices; the sad thing about that is.. I am only 20 years old. It is evident that there is obviously a problem that needs to be addressed, unfortunately blamming the TV set for our youths social dilemmas is not going to do the trick.
Television should be entertaining….as well as add educational value
When I was growing up I was a part of the pro social television watching. I would watch educational shows after school when I got home and probably pick up a thing or two from those shows. At the time I really didn’t look at it as a learning tool, I mostly was just entertained with what was going on and how the characters were interacting. If I learned something from the show it was subliminal and it helped maybe later when I was in class. We as a country should ask ourselves some questions on this issue. For example, are kids any smarter than they were back in the 1950’s before television was a big part of our social culture? Or, do children show or have better critical thinking skills? Also, are the children in today’s society more socially adept than others time periods? In my opinion, maybe television should be an entertainment tool. Maybe we as adults, older siblings, guardians, parents, and friends of parents shouldn’t expect television to be educational, but add educational values that can be picked up while being entertained. The US has steadily declined in comparison to other countries when it comes to education but kids in the US have the tools and the great access to television and technology, so watching these educational shows can help out as well as add to positive entertainment. Overall I really think that children can extremely benefit from watching educational shows like Sesame Street, Blues Clues, Dora the Explorer and Reading Rainbow. Television should to me just complement education and social development. But overall its up to the parents, because they are the one’s who have to monitor what their child is watching in order for it to work in my opinion.