A new study from Indiana University suggests television can decrease a child’s self-esteem. The study found this to be true especially with white girls or African-American girls and boys. The opposite was found to be true for white boys. A large amount of children spend their time in front of the TV instead of turning to different activities. The study stated the reason behind the decrease in self-esteem is children end up comparing themselves to the images and people they see on TV.
TV these days typically depicts white males in positions of power with important jobs and a glamorous lifestyle. Females are depicted in a completely different way where they have more simple lifestyles and tend to have more sexualized images. Messages to females often have the theme “you are what you are because of how you look.” Black males are often seen as the criminals. (c) Can Stock Photo” src=”https://wasatchfamilytherapy.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/girlwatchingtvoptimized.jpg” alt=”” width=”269″ height=”179″ />
These images decrease self-esteem because children get the idea they really have nothing to aspire to. To children, TV is reality. A counter argument was made that these images and messages were available on other forms of media as well but the study found the majority of kid’s media usage today is still the TV.
Here are a few tips to counteract the negative effects of TV.
- Limit the amount of time spent watching TV – especially when the kids are out of school.
- Watch TV together, as family time. When these types of images come up, it can stimulate conversation about what is real life vs. TV life.
- Avoid the TV altogether! It’s summer! Take advantage of the opportunity to spend time together doing other activities besides watching TV
- Involve kids in wholesome activities promoting positive messages like Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, or the YMCA and just spend more time together as a family.
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