Montessori Society AMI (UK)

Is TV all bad for young children?

5 Dec 2016 6:38 PM | Anonymous

Question:

I am aware that screen based entertainment is not good for young children, but my children do watch television occasionally (if anything to give me a bit of a break!). I have noticed however that they do learn a lot from the documentaries they watch. My son has learnt the names of different types of animals from the programmes and I have heard from others that children have also learnt different languages from watching television. Can watching television really be that detrimental to their minds?

Answer:

Children have absorbent minds, and they will undoubtedly learn things from watching television. As they take in their environment, so the sights and sounds they are exposed to will become part of them as they grow and develop. The concern here is what television takes away from the child.  Due to the innate one-way communication flow of television, the state of the child in front of the television is trance-like, not a concentrated one.

By watching television, the child actually loses his capacity for attention because of the constant bombardment of different and changing images on the screen, which assumes that the person watching has a short attention span.  It is also worth thinking about what kind of activities your child is missing out on in the meantime. Purposeful activity is the key to developing concentration in young children, and through the exercise of showing and encouraging repetition, we as parents can nurture this incredible potential. An awareness of the negatives of screen-based entertainment cannot be forgotten, and if there are times when all else fails and we switch on the TV, we need at least to maintain a realistic picture of the consequences of our actions.




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