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The influence of Media and Young Children

The influence media plays in development in youths is a controversial topic. Critics claim that television, video games, social media and the internet can have detrimental effects on emotional, mental, physical and social growth (Martorell, Papalia, & Feldman, 2014).  Advocates of technology cite that media improves motor skills, cognitive awareness and allows children to engage with people of other cultures outside of their society and provides access to a wealth of information beyond the confines of their localized environment. Additionally, critics also claim media increases aggressive behavior and has the potentiality to expose children to vulgar or unsuitable material not appropriate for either their developmental level or moral development.

Furthermore, some parents choice to make television and other technology a surrogate caregiver and in doing so deprive children of nurturing and social interaction that plays a vital role maturation (Martorell, Papalia, & Feldman, 2014).

In regards to potential health risks television and electronic devices emit blue radiation that studies have proven prolonged exposures can cause damage to the eyes and disturb sleep. It is wise either to limit the time spent using such devices or to take frequent breaks when using devices to curb such effects and to not sleep with television or computer monitors on. Additionally, people who engage in excessive use of technology and do not have a regular fitness plan or engage in physical activity are prone to obesity, coronary disease, a higher degree of stress and a host of complications depending on the risk factors of each individual and the influence of genetics and association of environment hazards.

While video games improve motor skills and cognitive awareness in children over the age of three (Martorell, Papalia, & Feldman, 2014), certain content may increase aggressive behavior depending on stress level and temperament and prolonged exposure can decrease social interaction skills.

Additionally, prolonged exposure can limit cognitive development and memory skills. Studies have found a dependency on media has caused the average concentration rate to drop to around 6-8 seconds because of media in most people. In addition, a decline in literacy rates and syntax errors in speech and writing may be the result of texting and social media.

Sexual predation and bullying are often first initiated over social media and the internet. However, predators in general will seek out children in any environment frequented by this group. Thus, in the case of media the best safeguards is to have access to passwords, to use content filters, and check the posts and interactions of youths to protect from unwanted activity. Most, televisions and audio visional equipment are equipped with content filters and password protection for settings. Additionally, computers, cellphones and tablets should be protected with content filtering software, anti malware protection, password protection and if the devices are in the bedroom of youths cameras should be disabled or covered up with electrical tape when not in use to stop from unwanted spying as these accessories can be enabled remotely by hacking.

How much is too much media time?  After conducting a review of the effects of media, “The American Pediatric Committee on Public Education discourages the use of television by any child under the age of two, rather the committee encourages in cognitive and social activities such as talking, sing, and reading (Martorell, Papalia, & Feldman, 2014).”  The data found toddlers spend an average of approximately of 2 hours watching television alone. Yet Youths in general spend more time engaged in the use of media than sleeping spending between 6-9 hours fixated with technological devices. The average child should sleep about hours a day, attend school for approximately 8 hours and engage in physical activity or exercise for about an hour a day. Furthermore, all people benefit from positive social interaction or quality time of approximately 3 hours a day and additionally children’s time will be spent on completing homework and helping with family chores for about hours daily, this would only leave 2 hours for media related endeavors. Granted time management and the amount of sleep could allow for an increase in media time as well as the time spent exercising may be decreased to around 30-45 minutes; however, the time spent for media engagement would still be approximately hours.

Does media have a positive or negative correlation in development? The correlation depends on the frequency of exposure, the type of content, the temperament and personality of the individual as well as how the family interacts and perceives media in general.

A further suggest is to use all forms of media as an educational tool and a form of group dynamic model. By including the whole family in the media education process and using the same methods one would use when reading such as, “introducing the theme and asking follow-up questions, encouraging the participants to explore the depth of the content matter,  and/or describing the relevancy to one’s own thoughts, feeling action, situation or circumstances.  Finally, discuss any social values and Virtues, or Spiritual truth, gained in the message. Knowledge and wisdom can be gained that will lead to growth through the media experience. Additionally, this fosters development of listening and communication skills as well as cognitive and social development (Martorell, Papalia, & Feldman, 2014).”

Although, individuals possess innately unique abilities, traits, and talents and learn at a different duration and frequency.  Most cognitive, emotional, social, physical and spiritual development occurs within a normative range. The theories of Piaget, Erikson, and those of Vygotsky are considered as baseline by some and questioned by others; observation of children and people in general couple with one’s own experience as well as Biblical Scripture confirms that life develops in stages (Eccl 3) (Martorell, Papalia, & Feldman, 2014). Yet, Life also is an ongoing process (Ps 51, Rom 3-8, Rev 20).

What is most evident from all studies conducted is prolonged exposure poses significant risk to physical, cognitive, emotional and social development and detracts from social interaction and nurturing (Martorell, Papalia, & Feldman, 2014).  Both nurturing and social engagement coupled with genetics form the cohesive bond of necessity in maturation in all stages of development and through ones temporal lifespan as we trudge the road toward the Narrow Gate toward Eternity with and in Oneness with our Creator.

“He changes times and seasons; he deposes kings and raises up others. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning (Dan 2: 21 NIV).” Thus, God, initiates maturation, and eliminates bullies and Authoritarians, bullies and those whom to bring discord to society. This is done so by the Gift of Wisdom and Knowledge given to the mature and wise people who know and teach his ways. These parents, mentors, and leaders pass down experience, knowledge and wisdom to the children and students of future generations for the purpose of his discerning virtue and truth and the prosperity of all people and the fulfillment of God’s Divine Purpose through his various plans for each person given in stages throughout all Eternity and our life cycle within creation.

In God, Christ and Spirit,

Trent Rindoks

Word Count # 1126

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References

Martorell, G., Papalia, D. E., & Feldman, R. D. (2014). A Child’s World: Infancy through Adolescence (13th ed.). New York: McGraw Hill Education.

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