To Watch Or Not To Watch Essay — страница 2

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the parents who do not intervene and replace their child s television time with quality family time. If children spend their time mostly watching TV and playing video games, then the NCES statistics make some sense. Watching television is a passive experience. The viewer simply sits on the couch and stares at the screen. There is little thought and little physical movement. When discussions of how television affects children arise, it often centers around what is being watched and if it is watched at the right age. “Again and again parents describe . . . the trancelike nature of their children’s television watching. The child’s facial expression is transformed. The jaw is relaxed and hangs open slightly; the tongue rests on the front teeth. The eyes have a glazed, vacuous

look. There is certainly little indication that the child is active and alert mentally,” states Marie Winn in her book, The Plug-In Drug. When a child learns to read and write, he must access the opinions developed in his brain. As he reads, the child creates pictures in his mind and uses imagination and points of reference to put the story together. “Television images do not go through a complex symbolic transformation. The mind does not have to decode and manipulate during the television experience.”(Winn, Pg.43) Watching television and playing video games do not force ca child to develop skills in word recognition, decoding, vocabulary, spelling or high-level thinking. Winn makes a direct connection between television watching and inadequate writing skills. She notes

that reading and writing are simply ignored by a generation raised on television. A study released in November of 1999 revealed that most children between the age of two and eighteen years old are exposed to an average of six and a half hours of daily media exposure, of which television is the most dominant. The average child spends about twenty eight hours a week watching television, which is twice as much time as they spend in school. The study, sponsored by the Kaiser Family Foundation, shows that 88% of all U.S. households have two or more television sets; and 53% of all children have a TV set in their room. “Today’s youth have access to more media with more channels or outlets within each medium. This offers more content, more vivid than even the most ‘outlandish’

mid-century science fiction novels once predicted,” states the Kaiser report.( Roberts, Pg.31) The Kaiser Foundation report also notes that while the average child spends six and a half hours each day with some type of electronic media, exposure to print is extremely low. On the average, two to four year olds and eight to thirteen year olds spend around fifty minutes a day reading. Children fourteen to eighteen years old spend only thirteen minutes a day with print. Parents should pay more attention to how their children spend their free time. There is a relationship between reading, writing, and how much time children spend doing these activities. Overall, children should be happier when they are involved with doing something other than simply watching TV. The television set

controls the household, not the other way around. Do children come home from school and do their homework, or just play video games with their friends all night? How much time, today, do most children spend on their homework or on being creative? If the problem is too much media in children’s lives, then what can be done? It should be understood, that shutting out the media is impossible. The world in the new millennium and beyond is one of video screens and computers. In the age of hyper-media, reading and writing skills are suffering. “In the television experience a viewer is carried along by the exigencies of a mechanical device, unable to bring into play his most highly developed mental abilities or to fulfill his individual emotional needs,” explains Winn in her book.

Children lose something valuable and personal when they don’t read. As Winn supports in her book, children are interacting with a video machine and not with themselves. This is something parents can control. Parents are the only answer to solving this problem. Children read and write in school, however, when they leave school they become rulers of the video world. “American youth spend more time with media than with any single activity other than sleeping,” stated the Kaiser report. Parents must learn to control the house s intake of media and support reading, drawing and quiet activities. For the most part, parents may be unaware of how the large amount of media exposure effects their child. In order to change the decrease in reading and writing skills, parents may have to