Effects of Watching Television on Adolescents

Prompt Rubric | Checklist The Effects of Watching Television on Adolescents An eighth-grade teacher has asked you to present information to her students about how watching television can affect adolescents’ academics and behavior. What important information should you share with this audience? Write an essay that will serve as the basis for the speech you will deliver to the students. Include important details from the selection “Television and Adolescents” to support your discussion. As you write, remember your essay will be scored based on how well you: develop a multi-paragraph response to the assigned topic that clearly communicates your controlling idea to the audience. support your controlling idea with meaningful examples, information, and references for the text. cite direct quotes and any information that has been paraphrased from the passages that you have read. organize your essay in a clear and logical manner, including an introduction, body, and conclusion. use well-structured sentences and language that are appropriate for your audience. edit your work to conform to the conventions of standard American English. Passage: Television and Adolescents Did you know that the average adolescent spends three hours each day watching television? As a society, we have grown to rely on technology to feed our appetites for entertainment. With all of the television and reality shows, funny ads and 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. But television shows are not limited to TVs anymore. It is now possible for young people to watch “TV” while they are on the go, using their tablet computers, laptops, and smartphones. This makes it even easier to spend time tuned in to favorite programs, thereby leading to increased TV time during the day. These factors make it very important to understand the varied effects that television-watching can have on young audiences. The content that is seen on TV can provide entertainment, persuade people to change their viewpoints on politics or current events, and educate audiences. Some TV shows, such as those about space travel, nature, or art history, are informational and inspire learning. However, while these programs can teach us new things and make learning fun, there are several downsides to watching too much television. Television often takes the place of activities that are important for kids to be involved in, such as sports, reading, homework, studying, and time with friends and family. When people watch TV, they essentially disconnect from others and remain stationary, thereby not having much social engagement or physical activity. According to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP), this can have a significant impact on children. For instance, kids who watch a lot of television may experience a more unfulfilling social life, because they tend to isolate themselves in order to pay attention to what they are watching. Kids who watch a lot of television are also missing out on time that could be spent exercising or playing sports, which are important activities for maintaining a healthy weight, overall health, and high self-esteem. The AACAP also says that children who watch a lot of TV have lower grades in school than their non-TV-watching counterparts. Lower grades and a decrease in school performance can be linked to students replacing their study and homework time with more television. Television may also affect school performance by making students accustomed to a highly stimulating environment, causing students to lose interest in reading and in-classroom learning. Such children may prefer to learn through more engaging mediums, such as computer games, shows, podcasts, or interactive digital modules, rather than traditional textbooks and lectures. Television could be leading a generation of kids to demand a more stimulating learning environment that matches the entertainment and engagement they experience from multimedia. Too much television has also been linked to behavioral issues in some young people. Violence and adult language and content in media (including television shows and video games) have led many to believe that television brings out more aggressive and inappropriate behaviors in children. For instance, television may expose young audiences to content related to alcohol, tobacco, drugs, junk food, violence, war, criminal activity, and other adult themes. All of this exposure can influence the choices young people make about the recreational activities they participate in, the food they eat, and the way they relate to and interact with their peers, parents, teachers, and others. Some young audiences even begin to mimic the aggressive or violent behaviors they witness in television shows and video games. Sometimes these behaviors are mimicked in a playful way, but sometimes they are mimicked more seriously and can lead to negative consequences. So while watching a television show may seem like a harmless and entertaining pastime, it is important to consider how television affects young viewers and the many aspects of their lives. Sources: American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. “Children and Watching TV.” Facts for Families 54 (December 2011). http://www.aacap.org/AACAP/Families_and_Youth/Facts_for_Families/Facts_for_Families_Pages/Children_And_Wat_54.aspx. American Academy of Pediatrics. “Children, Adolescents, and Television.” Pediatrics 107, no. 2 (February 2001). http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/107/2/423.full.

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