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Thursday, July 4, 2013

Essay on Effects of Television on Language Development

Essay on Effects of Television and Language Development
            Television remains as one of the most important source of education for individuals of every age. However, most the child experts and parents alike are noticing the effects of television on the child’s language development. Although some people believe that watching television is beneficial method of learning, the large number of studies and research seem to suggest otherwise.
            A recent study conducted by the National Literary Trust showed the effects of watching television with the child’s linguistic development.  The findings showed the children who are constantly exposed to television shows intended for adult audience displayed sub-par language skills during their pre-school years. Results of the research suggest that children who are often shown programs for general audience tend to verbally interact less with adults. In addition to this, these children also displayed lower expressive language skills as well a vocabulary. Experts posit that children who watch adult programs tend to show slow linguistic developments because they are unable to comprehend and understand the information that they are receiving.  This is primarily because the programs are both visually and auditory incomprehensible as their brains and cognition are still not fully developed (Bikham,, p. 101).
            Similarly, the current trends of pre-school children’s linguistic abilities have considerably declined over the ten years. Many scholars believe that this trend is a result of watching television. Child development experts suggest that prior to the 1950s, children have in fact excellent language skills. However, the advent of television as well as the fundamental changes brought by technology has made television the center of everyday living. More parents are unknowingly exposing their children to television programs that are not age-appropriate. This has then result to a decrease of verbal interaction between the child and the parent. Numerous early childhood experts underline that a parent‘s verbal interaction and participation plays a crucial role in the child’s language development. Research evidences show that low opportunities for verbal interaction during early years are connected with poor vocabulary and poor reading comprehension skills. Consequently, experts argue that a decreased and low verbal communication and interaction between the child and the parent during early years will persist even after the child begins his or her schooling (Close, 2004, p.24).
            The development of a child’s expressive language which is particularly evident in gestures and verbal expressions are likewise affected by heavy television viewing. Numerous researches show that children who are watching television for 19 to 30 hours per week are more likely to show low expressive language skills. Scholars suggest that heavy exposure to television with poor content is one of the main reasons behind the sub-par linguistic development of the child. Apart from this, many experts posit that children that who are often watching television do not receive ample and proper verbal interaction. This then hinders them from developing their language skills (Close, 2004, p. 25).
            Based on the points provided, it can be concluded that television and language skills of children are highly related. In fact, numerous studies have already shown that the language skills of a child which includes their ability to initiate verbal interaction with adults as well as their expressive language skills are affected by heavy television viewing. This remains as a reminder that parents must be fully aware of the negative impact of television to their children.

Bikham, D., Wright, J. and Huston, A., (2001) “Attention, comprehension, and educational
influences of television. Handbook of children and media. London: Sage Publications,
Chonchaiya, W. and Pruksananonda, C. (2008). ‘Television viewing associates with delayed
language development. ACT Paediatrica, 97, pp. 977-982
Close, R. (2004). Television and Language Development in Early Years. National Literacy
Trust, 3, p. 1-25

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