College of DuPage Nursing Student Anwar Suarez wrote for Healthy Lombard that a myth exists that television and the media are like invisible zombies eating away at the minds of children. Or, how nothing beneficial comes from the media and television “rots the brain,” If this were true, however, parents would be constantly and desperately looking for ways to save their children from the negative effects of the media.
Parents of course, have a desire to protect children from harm and see them grow up to be physically healthy and mentally strong, as the development of a child’s brain is extremely important and should be fully nurtured. Toys like colorful blocks, children’s books, and other visual stimulants help to develop a child’s mind. Television and other forms of media, contrary to popular belief, may also offer an education and quality input to children.
What is going on in the outside environment is vital to a child’s development. Staying indoors behind a screen all day is not ideal for development; physical or psychologically. It is possible, however, for children to reap some rewards from watching informative and visual stimulants on television, or online. This is especially true today when television has evolved to be more than just a big electronic box in the living room. Television, and other forms of programming are now accessible on smartphones and tablets and available at any time. Television can be utilized as a valuable resource if parents take advantage of the many benefits it has to offer today.
As generations of children change on an ongoing basis, educational formats have also changed. Educational shows such as, Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood and Sesame Street to the more recent shows, Super WHY! and Blue’s Clues, have been essential to some extent, in developing the mind of children who view these shows. Literacy has been a dominant theme of public-television programs since 1969 when “Sesame Street” pioneered that genre in its first episodes (eduationweek.org, 2020).
Also in the year 1969, Fred Rogers, better known of as Mr. Rogers from the series, Mr. Rogers Neighborhood, spoke before Congress to discuss funding for public television programming. More importantly, the heightened awareness of educational programming on television. Fred Rogers reviewed how he would address and education children on such topics as talking about feelings and how to properly manage them and feature the skills of important relationships with others (YouTube, 2015). Watching Mr. Rogers speak before Congress and listening to his conviction as to why educational programming is so important for a child’s development is inspiring in and of itself.
Since the days of Sesame Street and Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood, many young children have benefited from watching educational programming on television, and possibly from learning online from different media sources. As parents, it is vital to provide children with an appropriate amount of time for media and choosing quality programs.
In a recent article by Shelly Pasnik, Director for the Center of Children and Technology, children benefited from online learning, but it was essential for the parents to be involved. In the study, parents who watched a show like, PBS’s Peg + Cat which teaches early math skills, with the child resulted in better retention of content than when the children watched the show alone. They conclude that the more parents were involved and used the strategies, the more likely it would be for kids to experience the benefits from media (childmind.org,2020). So next time the negative effects of media are publicized, it may be helpful to realize that these tools can be utilized to benefit a child’s mind; it will not necessarily be eaten away by the invisible zombies of television and online media. If parents remain involved in what the child is watching, they may both find media useful for the development of the child.
- Juliann Garey is a journalist, N. (2020, July 08). The Benefits of Watching TV With Young Children. Retrieved November 13, 2020, website
- Manzo, K. (2019, February 21). Studies Support Benefits of Educational TV for Reading. Retrieved November 13, 2020, website
- Deibler, D. (2015, February 08). YouTube. Retrieved November 12, 2020, website