Tuesday, October 18, 2011

How Television Benefits Your Children


You don't see a lot of ads like this any more. While it may have sounded promising 50 years ago, the fact remains, television has gotten a bad rap for the past 30 years. Much of it is warranted.

Television itself isn't bad for kids. The programming is bad. But it doesn't have to be that way.

High Definition TV is great and quite a bit of the HD programming is awesome. The Discovery Channel has some beautiful and educational shows. A&E and PBS both have responsible programming and National Geographic is right there too.

Unfortunately, many kids are glued to shows featuring the Khardashians or cartoons that offer little educational value. I'm not knocking their entertainment value for their intended audiences, but they don't offer many "benefits" for children except for "cred" with their peers.

Sesame Street was groundbreaking when it came onto the scene and has offered educational television time for many kids. We need more shows for older kids.

TV time is decreasing for many kids as their time is now shared with texting and computers. But television is still engaging, with bigger screens and better quality visuals adding to the allure. If somebody finds a way to create "Extreme Education" and pump it across the country, maybe TV will find its way back into the "beneficial for children" slot that was promised so many years ago.

It's not that difficult to find good shows for kids to watch. The effort comes in getting them to watch the good shows.

The benefit from watching good shows? Kids will remember what they see on TV better than they will remember what they heard in class or read on a blackboard. It's more engaging, and content rich. 30 minutes of TV time can present much more information than 30 minutes in a class. Maybe we should create class instruction for television and pipe it into all the classrooms around the country. We might just have better engagement and more consistent teaching.