Television and childhood education|
The mass media may be a particularly effective way to reach preschool children and their parents in communities in which poor socioeconomic condition is prevalent and to educate them. After the family, television is probably the most important influence on child development and behavior. Children spend more time watching television than other activity except sleeping. Low income children spend more time in front of TV than others. Television's influence on children is a function of the length of time they spend watching and the cumulative effect of what they see.
Television can also promote pro-social behavior. Television can exert its strongest pro-social influence in the area of learning and cognitive development. "Sesame Street" has created demonstrable increases in children's abilities with simple arithmetic and the alphabet as well as the pro-social attitudes of racial harmony, cooperation, and kindness. In fact, some studies conclude that young disadvantaged children achieve better in school if they watch one to two hours of television per day, although more than this is detrimental to academic performance at all ages.
Academician group, consisting of programmers, pediatricians, psychiatrists, teachers had made broadcast of "Sesame Street" in 1989. This program was designed to improve educational and instructional benefit to pre-school Turkish children. The preliminary study of "Sesame Street" was carried out in 1991 to investigate the impact of program on preschool education. The proportion of "Sesame Street" watching among studied 147 children was 95 %. Among study population, 88 % of children enjoyed "Sesame Street" and wanted to turn on for "Sesame Street". 37 % of them watched alone and 52 % watched it with family and 9 % with friends. Following watching "Sesame Street" 53 % of children had started to count numbers and 26 % had started to pun and 65 % had learned the names of geometrical figures. 34 % of children improved their vocabulary.
Television may be a cause as well as a solution for many serious childhood problems. Excessive viewing of television has also been linked to aggressive behavior, violence, childhood obesity. Because of the amount of time children spend in front of television set, television exerts a so called displacement effect, pushing aside more active pursuits like playing outside with friends or reading books.
Television is a powerful medium and powerful influence on the life of children. With respect to television, there is much than can be done, as physicians, as citizens, and as parents.