How Do Television, Picture Books, and Other Print Media Influence Children’s View of “Reality”?

Most of the children between three and four, especially when watching TV, get confused when they are asked to distinguish the real wimp from its appearance on television.

TV programs show “realistic” appearance of characters who are doing something or being involved in events that might be true, or not.  What is shown on television, preschool children (under age of 7) take it as real.

TV techniques require faster and less committed focus from children to form meaning from what it is shown on TV. It is, therefore, understandable when some researchers imply that children who often learned from TV programs tend to have less mental effort to learn from written text.

TV commercials and programs depict stereotypical social relations that children model through imitation. There are findings which advise adults to choose social patterns of human behavior from TV programs that reflect the upbringing values and objectives they have set for their children. Several studies have shown that the messages (especially the implicit ones) TV shows and programs convey are related to children’s aggressive behavior.

Especially concerning fact is that children who come from lower social standard families, spend abundant time with their TV especially along with their parents. Most of the time TVs are turned on just for a background noise, ignoring the fact that what children see should have often been monitored by their parents or guardians. On top of it, their parents usually don’t discuss with their children about what they have seen on the TV that day.

Parents are asked not only to choose TV programs that their children watch in the limited time period of the day, but to watch and discuss together the messages of the primetime.

The positive impact of picture books and books for children

Often what children read is pre-selected by adult experts based on a given objective or a set of objectives. Therefore, we may say that content and messages of print media are previously collected and taken into consideration. Children of preschool age, who often like to read, learn to read easily.

There is a question about whether fairy tales, who are brutal and scary, should be read to children. Some examples of such fairy tales are: Red Riding Hood, the Wolf and the Seven Goats, and The Matchstick Girl. In response to this question, psychoanalyst Bruno Bettelheim says that unreality shown in these fairy tales aids children to confront whatever internal conflicts they might have. Through a display of bad parenthood in some imaginary context of the fairy tale, children (with little guidance from their grownups) can confront and work out their negative experiences they have had with one or both parents.

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