The influence of television on children and adolescents

The influence of television on children and adolescents

Watching television is considered a very important hobby and has a great influence on all of us.


  • 1 The presence of television in our lives
  • 2 The dangers of excessive exposure of children to screens
  • 3 What parents should teach their children

The presence of television in our lives

It is a reality that children everywhere spend many hours in front of the television. Upon graduating from high school, they have spent almost the same class time as in front of the television. Just as television can distract, serve as a source of achieving good information in the fields of History, Geography, Science, Sports, etc., in the same way it can represent a harmful effect on the integral formation of these.

That valuable time, which runs in front of the television, is a very important time wasted for study, especially for reading, to carry out school tasks, deepen the scientific part, play and thus interact with equals, achieve greater and better family relationships and hinders social and personal development skills.

The dangers of excessive exposure of children to screens

Children collect a lot of information from television that is not always appropriate, healthy and that should not serve to achieve a bio-psycho-social integrity.

Very often we find in these teenagers and children with distortions between reality and fantasy, that is; when watching television, the mature person clearly distinguishes between fantasy and reality; what does not happen in the cases of children and adolescents, since they confuse the fantasy presented by television with the true reality of everyday life.

The children who watch too much television suffer greater risks of:

  • Do not devote yourself to reading, to research, to do your homework with effort
  • Be lazy and not engage in sports activities and therefore have an unwanted weight.
  • Be isolated beings, giving priority to television than to any other hobby.
  • Not having good relationships with their peers, their parents, siblings and relatives.
  • Have little social interaction
  • Good hobbies, such as walking with children of the same age, playing sports, learning new advances in computer science, etc., leave to the background.

In several studies it has been observed that excessive exposure to television is associated with a wide variety of negative health effects. These effects range from an increase in aggressive behaviors, through distorted sexual images, body image problems and self-concept, obesity or nutritional problems.

On the other hand, part of the hours that children spend watching television is subtracted from areas that are very important for their health and development, such as dream.

The increasing exposure to screens is having a very negative influence on the cognitive development of children and adolescents, especially in areas such as academic performance, language, attention and emotional self-regulation.

During the last years, the time spent in front of several screens, including television, video games, smartphones and computers, has increased dramatically. Numerous studies show that this trend has a strong negative impact on the cognitive development of children and adolescents.

In 2012, the German pediatrician Peter Winterstein conducted a very demonstrative and impactful study on children and early exposure to TV. For his study he asked almost 2000 children between 5 and 6 years old, all of them public school students, to draw a human figure. Then he analyzed these drawings based on the time children usually watched television, the result was as shown below:

As you can see, the poverty and loss of detail in the execution of children who watch television more than three hours Daily is very striking, compared to those who see it for a maximum of 60 minutes.

On the other hand, on television they regularly deal with topics such as aggression and violence, the presence of sexual scenes that confuse children and adolescents. There are subtle messages that against certain racial, ethnic and cultural groups. Easily influential boys may believe that what they are seeing is the common thing and because of this normal effect, what they see provides security and everything they can accept and assume for their lives as normal.

In this way television puts children in front of behaviors, attitudes, feelings and behaviors that can impress them and for them it is difficult to understand and elaborate for their healthy integral development.

But everything is not negative, for this there are parents who can make their children get the most benefit from television.

What parents should teach their children

  • Accompany your children to watch the programs and in this way stimulate dialogue with them when they are watching a program together. In this way they can capture what perceptions they have of reality and know them better. With this point in mind, watching television with their children will help parents know many things about their thoughts.
  • Being with their children in front of the television, they should emphasize positive values ​​such as friendship, collaboration, the interest that one should have in helping others and is the right time to correct that information that harms their good development.
  • Highlight personal values, professionals and family and look for somehow the relationship with the program you are watching.
  • Ask them make comparisons with what they are seeing and reality, to see if they have a good perception of it.
  • Select the appropriate programs at his age and level of development.
  • They should be clear about how much time their children should spend in front of the television and enforce this rule.
  • For the hours for study and homework, there must be clear limits, both of the site chosen to study the same as the posture and never allow to watch television during those periods.
  • Do not allow children to watch television for a long time.
  • Set limits when watching television and if necessary turn it off when they consider that your child should not be in front of the TV, respecting the time of homework, meals, family relationships and others.

Parents are responsible for providing their children with knowledge, guidance and judgment. of reality in front of the complex world of television. This way children and teenagers can handle television in a healthy and positive way, which can give them the best benefits.

Lilian Chartuni