Everyday there is a massive flow of various information that children are subjected to. This information flow gives the children knowledge, entertain them and most directly affect their behavior. In many cases, those sound and visual images that appear in the media, have a pronounced promotional nature – they encourage the viewer or listener to become the consumer of a product or services. Some information products (films, computer games, music) are themselves commodities available on the market on demand. School-age children are the most active consumers of these products, so the vast majority of commercials is addressed specifically to children of school age. Parents have to exert much effort to at least partially control this information flow and to keep the situation under control.
TV is the most powerful mass media: it is one of the main parts of lives of millions of children. Cable TV has almost become a child sidekick, who entertains them daily and provides various information.
Nearly every family in America has at least one television, and that about half of U.S. households have two or more TV sets. It was found that a school-age child spends two to four hours daily watching cable TV. For many children watching television has become the main entertainment to which they pay almost all their free time. Children spend much more time watching TV than playing with their friends, family, school.
Sociological studies have shown that for the years of schooling a child spent watching TV from 15,000 to 18,000 hours, and the time spent at a school desk is only 11,000 hours. Thus, there is nothing surprising in the fact that television has a great influence on the image of a child’s life, it forms a scale of spiritual values. It has a significant impact on the mental and physical health of schoolchildren, the nature of family relationships. Very often the child choosing his social role is influenced by what he saw on television. Educators and psychologists have hot debate on whether television is a harmful social phenomenon, but they have not come to a consensus. Nevertheless, there is an undeniable fact: the hours spent in front of TV, the child could devoted to other, much more useful pursuits.
One should not underestimate the harm that television causes to the physical health of the child. Succumbing to the charm of the virtual world, children spend less time outdoors, spend less ti;e for the physical activity, and as a result have their physical condition deteriorating.
Studies suggest: children who spend a lot of time watching cable TV have overweight much more often than their peers. While watching television, children often eat high-calorie snacks, which contain a lot of fat, salt and sugar. As a consequence of reduced appetite in children, they do not have dinner at the family table spending even less time with their families.