Without a doubt, television is the central and principal form of communication in many people’s lives. This form is most often exposed to a child who instantly becomes accustomed to its presence. Children are televisions largest audience, as Morris shows, “Children aged two to five look at the TV tube on an average of 28.4 hours a week; those between the ages of six and eleven average 23.6 hours a week”. Television has played an important role in many children’s lives and its viewing has been a favorite activity for many of them. The effects of television on children have been disputed. Some people have said that viewing time has a negative impact on children. Other people, however, feel that the early educational television productions for children help tehm learn.
These important questions on the topic of children’s television viewing in its early beginnings continue to be debated in society. The creation of children’s television shows in the 1940s and 1950s offered children pure entertainment and very little smart education. According to Palmer, “there were a few shows that did teach children values and morals, but the true educational television shows for children did not appear until the late 1960s(28). Not only educational shows, but public television shows, dialogue, help in increasing a child’s vocabulary and in improving he/she speaking skills. Therefore, parents should encourage their children to watch more public television today because public television helps children to read.
Television supports reading, which in turn to improves language ability. Good programming improves reading and can increase thinking. The Himmelweit confirms, “Television in the long run encourages children to read books; a conclusion that can be reinforced by evidence from libraries, book clubs, and publishing companies” (Postman 33). Dr. Hemmelweit stresses this point; “Book reading comes into its own, not despite television but because of it”(33).
Television has as both an entertainer and an educator for children. Neil Postman supports television for its valuable contribution to language development in children, saying, “Long before they have learned to read, or for that matter, even begun to master their language, children may accumulate, through television, a fund of knowledge that was simply inaccessib...
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...ducational television programs finally came about. These shows succeeded in intellectually educating children while also entertaining them. They have positive affects on children of all races and social status. Those who viewed it gained more knowledge over those who did not. They offered educational and beneficial programming that helps in improving a child’s vocabulary and by encouraging their reading. These programs also taught children moral values. Because public television teaches children the basic knowledge and the valuable facts of life, parents should encourage their children to watch more public television.
Lesser, Gerald S. Children and Television. New York: Random House, 1974.
Lystad, Mary. “20 Years on Sesame Street.” Children Today. 1989: 20-22
Moody, Kate. Growing up on Television. New York: Times Books, 1980.
Morris, Norman S. Televisions Child. Boston: Little Brown, 1971.
Palmer, Edward L. Children in the Cradle of Television. United States of America: D.C. Health, 1987.
Postman, Neil. Television and the Teaching of English. New York: Appleton-Centery-Crofts, 1961.
Schneider, Cy. Children’s Television. Chicago: NTC Business Books, 1987.
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