Did you know that the average adolescent spends three hours each day watching television? As a society, we’ve grown to rely on technology to feed our appetites for entertainment.
With all of the television and reality shows, funny commercials, music videos, sports games, and movies that we can watch on our TVs these days, it’s no wonder that many households have more than one television in their homes. But “screen time” isn’t just limited to television watching anymore. With so many videos, movies, and programs available online (and in the palms of our hands), video media is even more accessible to adolescents. The end result? Even more TV time during the day.
Television and Health
Watching television often displaces other important activities that are important for youth to be involved in. According to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP), too much television can have a significant impact on kids’ physical and mental health.
Adolescents who watch a lot of television may experience a less fulfilling social life because they tend to isolate themselves in order to pay attention to what they are watching. They’re missing out on time that could be spent exercising or playing sports, which is important for maintaining overall health and high self-esteem.
Television and School
The AACAP’s studies also demonstrate that adolescents who watch more TV have lower grades in school than their non-TV-watching counterparts. This is because teens often replace their study and homework time with more television.
Some school psychologists believe that school performance is also affected by television because it causes students to lose interest in reading and in-classroom learning, having grown accustomed to the highly stimulating appeal that television offers.
Television and Social Behavior
Too much television has also been linked to behavioral issues in some adolescents. The prevalence of violence and adult language and content in media have led many to believe that it brings out more aggressive and inappropriate behaviors in kids. For instance, watching television may expose young audiences to content related to alcohol, tobacco, and drugs, as well as junk foods, violence, war, criminal activity, and other adult themes. All of this exposure has the potential to influence an adolescent’s life and the choices they make.
Television and Teaching
With so much TV-watching going on, teachers in all types of classroom environments must understand the implications that this has on students, as well as on the classroom as a whole. Educators can encourage students to manage their time appropriately so that they can prioritize academic tasks—and other healthy activities—over watching TV. Bringing awareness to the potential issues resulting from too much television can also influence students to learn how to avoid negative behaviors associated with too much TV.
American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Public Education. (2001, February). Children, adolescents, and television. Pediatrics, 107(2), 423–236. Retrieved from http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/107/2/423.full