In today’s society, children of up to less than three years are being exposed to several mass media forms such as video games and television. It has become part of their daily lives, significantly influencing their emotional, mental, and physical development. Mass media has dramatically influenced a child’s behaviors and perceptions of life. A child’s brain development is impacted by what they consume through media exposure, like beliefs and knowledge. On the other hand, their emotional development can also be influenced by constant mass media exposure since they learn how to control their emotions by what is portrayed in the media. Mass media also impacts their physical development since they get to encourage them to be more active. Mass media has negative and positive influences on a child’s development. Some negative impacts of mass media include exposure to violence and sexual content. The positive effects of mass media include learning new information, such as a new language, and helping them express their creativity. Mass media has greatly affected children’s emotional, physical, and mental development; it is vital to include it while raising younger children since it influences their behavior, values, and beliefs in their daily lives.
Types of Mass Media
Mass media refers to various ways in which information reaches the public. There are multiple types of mass media in the society of today, such as print media which include: newspapers, books, and magazines; broadcast media which includes television and radio; cinema media which includes movies; internet media which provides blogs and website and others, such as video games.
How Mass Media Affects a Child’s Mental, Physical, And Emotional Development
Mass media exposure negatively and positively affects a child’s mental, physical, and emotional development. Constant exposure to mass media on a child may positively impact their cognitive development by:
- Helping them improve their imagination. Mass media exposes children to imaginative content, stimulating their imagination and creativity. It also allows children to visualize better through the visual representation of ideas.
- Increasing their knowledge and skills. Mass media provides several informative tv shows that teach children about multiple topics, such as math and science. Children also learn about what is happening in the current world by reading newspapers.
- Developing critical thinking skills. Mass media provides children with multiple pieces of information, challenging them to evaluate it in their own opinions. Children also develop their thinking skills by debating and discussing current events with their counterparts.
Negatively, it may cause:
- Violent behavior. By engaging in violent content such as violent games and movies, children get to imitate violent behavior as a result resulting in them being more aggressive.
- Reduced attention span. Mass media reduces attention span in children since they interact less with other people. Social interaction is significant for developing social skills. Overstimulation may also cause a reduced attention span since they find It hard to concentrate on a single job.
- Sleep deprivation. Too much exposure to blue light interferes with the circadian rhythm interfering with melatonin production, the hormone responsible for sleep deprivation. Additionally, children get to spend too much time on their phones and computers, thus reducing their sleep time. (Anwar et al.,2020).
Some of the positive effects of mass media on a child’s physical development include :
- Encouraging them to engage in physical activities. Children are inspired to participate in various sports and activities by watching sports events. Also, several fitness apps encourage children to participate in several physical activities.
- Helping them to be active through programs and advertisements. Mass media provides information through promotions and programs about multiple physical activities, thus inspiring children to get involved.
- Educating children on the importance of healthy living, such as enough sleep and proper nutrition (Chun &Tan, 2019). Various websites offer information on the importance of healthy living and adequate sleep. By highlighting the negative impacts of inadequate sleep and other forms of healthy living, mass media encourages children to prioritize healthy living.
Its adverse effects on a child’s physical development include:
- Unhealthy habits like consuming junk food may eventually lead to health problems such as obesity and low self-esteem since it exposes the child to unrealistic psychical standards.
- Violent behavior through multiple types of mass media, like a movie, may finally lead to aggressive behavior since children tend to imitate what they see.
Mass media positively impacts a child’s emotional development by:
- Helping them learn about empathy Children get to understand various emotional perspectives making them more tolerant and understanding.
- Providing them with emotional support since they get easier access to mental health programs. Additionally, the media tends to depict several values and virtues like kindness, which help children have a positive outlook.
- Helping them cope with stress and other mental health-related issues due to the various forms of entertainment it provides (Zhu et al., 2021). By watching and engaging themselves in what they like, their anxiety and stress levels drop due to the increased production of feel-good hormones such as serotonin.
Mass media negatively impacts a child’s emotional development by:
- Exposing them to violence. By watching and engaging themselves in violent TV shows and games, children tend to imitate what they have seen hence making them more violent and aggressive.
- Increasing their anxiety and stress levels. By watching traumatic events like violence, their anxiety and stress increase. Also, by comparing themselves to other people online, children feel the need to strive for perfection, thus making them more anxious and stressed.
Importance Of Limiting The Amount Of Mass Media A Child Consumes And How Excessive Exposure Impacts The Child
Limiting the mass media a child consumes is vital since it significantly affects their emotional, physical, and mental development. Constant exposure to mass media may affect their emotional, physical, and psychological development. Excessive exposure to mass media may impact the child in the following ways: negatively impacting their physical development since constant exposure may decrease their physical activity, which may lead to health issues such as obesity and expose them to unrealistic standards that may mess up their self-esteem. It may also affect their emotional development by making them more violent and aggressive and increasing their stress levels. Mentally, excessive mass media exposure interferes with mental skill development, like attention (Ye & Jiancheng, 2020).
How Mass Media Paints Parents
Mass media ads and commercials typically paint parents as loving, understanding, caring, and nurturing people. It makes children believe that their parents perfectly balance their work and personal lives. It teaches children to be responsible, caring, and dedicated people in the future. However, it may be hard for parents to live up to unrealistic mass media standards, thus putting pressure on them.
Short-Term And Long-Term Effects That Mass Media Has On A Child
The short-term effects of mass media on a child include:
- Behavioral and mood Changes: Children exposed to mass media, such as TV shows, movies, and video games, may experience changes in their behavior and mood. They may imitate the behaviors and attitudes they see on screen, leading to a shift in their behavior.
- Reduced Attention Span: Children who spend a lot of time-consuming mass media may have a shorter attention span, affecting their ability to focus and learn in school.
- Aggressive Behavior: Children who watch many violent TV shows or play violent video games may become more aggressive and have a greater likelihood of physically or verbally aggressive actions.
The long-term effects of mass media on a child include:
Substance Abuse: Children who are exposed to portrayals of substance use in mass media, such as drinking and drug use in movies and TV shows, may be more likely to engage in substance abuse in the long term.
Body Image Concerns: Children and teenagers who are bombarded with images of idealized bodies in the media can develop body image concerns and negative self-esteem.
Adoption of Lasting Behaviors and Beliefs: For example, exposure to gender stereotypes in the media can influence childrens beliefs about what is appropriate for boys and girls.
Reasons I Chose This Topic
I picked this topic because I have a seven-year-old daughter. I have always struggled with what is too much and how, if used correctly, the media can be a good thing. So not only will this benefit me education-wise, but it will also increase my knowledge as a parent.
Mass media negatively and positively impact a child’s physical, mental, and emotional development. Some positive effects of mass media include encouraging children to participate in physical activities, making them more creative, providing them with mental health support programs, and encouraging them to live a healthy lifestyle through proper nutrition. Some of its adverse effects include sleep deprivation, reduced attention span, and increased mental health-related issues such as stress, depression, and anxiety. It is essential for parents and guardians to fully understand the impacts of mass media exposure to regulate the adverse effects it has on a child.
Anwar, A., Malik, M., Raees, V., & Anwar, A. (2020). Role of mass media and public health communications in the COVID-19 pandemic. Cureus, 12(9).
Chun, T. (2019). Analysis of the Effect of Preschool Dance Teaching on Children’s Quality Cultivation Based on Mass Communication. Recuperado de https://www. semanticscholar. Org/paper/Analysis-of-the-Effect-of-Preschool-Dance-Teaching-Chun/4ab9aa22f51bc87275c6de038fc3eb14a8f040f0.
Ye, J. (2020). Pediatric mental and behavioral health in quarantine and social distancing with COVID-19. JMIR pediatrics and parenting, 3(2), e19867.
Zhu, C., Huang, S., Evans, R., & Zhang, W. (2021). Cyberbullying among adolescents and children: A comprehensive review of the global situation, risk factors, and preventive measures. Frontiers in public health, p. 9, 634909.