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Electronic Media and Its Effects On Children - (A Case Study of District Matiari).

Byline: Dr. Rizwana Chang and Dr. Muneeruddin Soomro

Abstract

Children require proper attention and care throughout their growing age. They need proper food intake and acquisition of adequate guidance and knowledge to achieve the right way of life. The means, which are the main source of providence of knowledge, awareness and entertainment to the children of modern time, come through electronic media, which include Television, Computer, Internet, DVDs, and Videogames etc. Since the inception of the electronic media, there were great hopes and fears concerning their possible effects. The optimists believed that the media will provide education, knowledge and entertainment, while on the contrary the pessimists thought these means will damage the society in shape of wasting time and increasing the crimes and violence.

In today's society electronic media is thoroughly integrated into the fabric of life and overwhelmingly occupied both work and play of the youngsters. Even the substantial number of parents believes that electronic media don't help but hurt their children's learning.

In view of above description this research study is aimed at to find out the effects of electronic media on the attitude, behavior and learning of children, with special emphasis to discover the factors like time spending, influence on their life style and to know the opinions of the parents about the utilization of media by their children.

Introduction

Children are the future of society; they need and demand proper care and attention through out their growing age. For the proper growth they need food and healthy entertainment. Certainly education supports and provides proper guidance for the improvement of their way of life. The means which support and provide the guiding principles, awareness, know-how about healthy habits include entertainment movies, cartoons, talk shows, news which reach children through electronic media. Consequently, the media has too much effects on the life style of children and compel them to spend time on computer, internet, TV, Cinema etc.

When Electronic Media such as television began, there were great hopes and fears concerning its possible effects. The optimists believed that, it would educate children in the widest possible sense, giving them an opportunity to learn about science and human life. The pessimists worried that too much use of electronic media would damage the eyesight, also by showing too much crime and violence, it can damage the society by affecting the youngsters' behaviour in particular. If we can go about tracing the effects of electronic media on children, who are growing up with availability of different sources of media and compare them with other group of children, who are growing up in the same generation and in similar circumstances, they are living but without media access. The study identified that, the children who have unlimited access to watch television then, how much time do they spend on it? And what kind of program do they watch more?

Foreign serials and English movies dominate the television programs and cinema screens in developing nations. According to Hidetoshi Kato (1976) a UNESCO survey found that imported television programs occupy 84% in total broadcast time in Singapore, 78% in Malaysia, 64% in Hong Kong, 71% in Zambia, these programs are generally in foreign languages, but the youngsters get effects, from them in shape of fashion, style and behavior.

Mcluhan, assessing the impact of TV viewing in youngsters, observes that, the young people who have experience of a decade of TV watching have naturally imbibed an urge towards in-depth involvement, through which they adopt upto some extent the remote visualized goals and culture.

Graber, Mayo, Leader and Straubhaar Taleenup in the article on "the impact of television on children and its possible policy implications" describe that the T.V has emerged as formidable rival to the authority of parents over children and teachers over their pupils. The Lord Annon Committee in Britain noted "Television might in some ways be taking the place of the family or school in influencing children's out look". Television, movies, music and interactive games are powerful learning tools, and highly influential media which affect the children's behaviour and attitude. The average American child spends as much as 28 hours a week watching television and typically at least an hour a day playing video games or surfing the internet (Joint statement was given on the impact of entertainment violence on children on the platform of UNESCO, July 26, 2000)

The impact of media violence can dramatically influence children at all ages. Movies, television, video and internet have become the most powerful external sources of information about society. More than 40 years of research indicates that viewing violence on media can lead an increase in aggressive attitudes, values and behavior particularly in children.

Rideout Vandewater and Wartella (2003) state in their paper "The effects of electronic media on children zero to six", In today's society electronic media are thoroughly integrated into the fabric of life, with television, movies, videos, music videogames, computers have overwhelmingly occupied both work and play. The study further indicates that young children in the United States are using wide variety of electronic media. The study found that 74% of the underage children watch television, with the average of two hours and fifty minutes. The age group of four to six years old watch television in their bedrooms, upto 3 hours on average. Despite these data more parents believed that television mostly does not help rather hurts their children's learning.

Kinds of Electronic Media

The Electronic Media includes the devices like Television, Cinema, Cable Communication, Videogames, Computer, Mobile etc.

Television came into existence in 1923 with the invention of the Iconoscope the electric television tube. This was soon followed by invention of kinescope, the picture tube, the Electronic camera and TV receivers. By 1930, NBC had setup a TV station in New York and BBC had one in London (P.K. Ravindranath Broadcast journalism 2004)

The satellite communications came in full swing in 1962. Two international satellite systems became operational i-e intelsat and intersputrile, the first in 1965 and other in 1971. (P.K. Ravindranath Broadcast journalism 2004)

Modern electronic communication involves people, watching for hours screens i-e TV screen and computer screen. Nowadays many electronic screens have been invented which joined the existing line up, such as the screen of Cell Phones, Personal Digital Assistants, Laptop and Palm top Computers. Mass media have become increasingly mobile in nature and smaller in size as far as the device is concerned.

With the experiments of John Logie Baird in Britain and C.F Jenkins in America which invented Television in 1925 and it was successfully transmitted which brought the revolutionary trend.

Cable TV network began moderately in the 1950 and as a device it was used to bring conventional and regional television programs in the in the areas that could not other wise avail and watch those programs through regular TV telecast because of limited coverage.

The Television systematically developed during 1930s, after World War II. It quickly grew in popularity and replaced radio as the main source of information and entertainment. Television was fully developed in 1960s, and in this era its telecast become more professional. The television network began in 1967, and Cable TV grew slowly side by side during the same decade.

The emergence of the internet created a new channel for machine assisted mass communication innovated by, e-mail and chat rooms, which are the main examples of machine-assisted communication. The world wide web brings the internet in to the realm of mass communication. The internet brings down the cost of mass communication at lowest level, which can be easily availed by almost every body. A single individual can create and maintain a web site for paltry amount and get well- informed and duly benefited by this types of electronic media. (The Dynamics of Mass Communication 2006)

Objectives of the Study

The main objectives of our study is to find out the effects of Electronic Media on the attitude and behavior of children, particularly the emphasis of the study is to discover the factors like, time spending on watching television, and other electronic devices like computer, internet, video games, DVDs etc.

It is further required to elaborate, factors responsible for the freedom and access of the children towards electronic media, such as parents' profession, nature of job, size of family, backgrounds to which they belong.

It is to find out, if there is a significant impact of Electronic Media such as net work programs viewing of television, cable, video in terms of time spent by their children.

Area Covered by the Researchers

The study covered the area of district Matiari with special emphasis on the towns like Nasarpur and Hala etc.

The selection of cities was done by the personal judgment in accordance with the availability of resources and time.

Methods of Sampling:

Sampling has been made from the non-randomly selected towns of District Matiari i.e Nasarpur having the population of about 30,000 and also from city Hala having the population 70 thousand for this purpose. 200 children were selected, on random basis from both of these town (Nasarpur & Hala), having the ages between 4 to 12 years, from whom the data was collected through structured questionnaire. Also interviews were taken from their parents, who were in a better position to describe about the time spending by their children on electronic media and its effects on their behavior, knowledge and sentiments. For the conduct of research non-probability, convenience sampling has been deployed. The convenience sampling has been used for the purpose to select those children who were expected to have a better understanding as well as have access, clear concept and mature attitude towards electronic media.

Procedure of Data Collection

The data was collected from the respondents by the students master's class with the duly constructed questionnaires and before conducting thorough study, pre-testing was made, through which 20 children of the specified group were questioned and also feasibility and practicability of the desired research work was tested accordingly.

Construction of Questionnaire

The questionnaire consisted of 21 questions, divided into two parts. 1st part was required to be filled by the answers given by children and 2nd part was regarding the responses of their parents. Specifically the questions were asked from the parents about their respective children, the reason behind that was to make the data accurate and reliable by its relevance and efficacy.

Collection of Data by Survey Method

The surveyors who were the students of master's program of Department of Mass Communication and Institute of Commerce. The students were given required training for two weeks then they were sent to collect the data from the area under study. Researchers asked the questions with the help of the questionnaire and collected the following data.

The first part which was for the children, here the percentage of responses are mentioned below.

Section of Questionnaire for Children and Percentages of Responses:

Q.1. How much time do you spend on watching television and working on computer?

(a) 1 to 2 hours (66%) (b) 3 to 4 hours (32%) (c) 5 to 6 hours (0%) (d) More than this (0%)

Q.2. How much time do you spend on using different electronic media such as, TV, Computer, VCD and Video games?

(a) TV (67%) (b) TV / Computer (21%) (c) TV/Computer/VCD (4%) (d) TV/Computer/Videogame (8%)

Q.3. Which are your favorite Programs?

(a) Cartoon (47%) (b) Science (5%) (c) Drama (38%) (d) Advertising (6%) (e) others (4%)

Q.4. Which is your favorite electronic medium which you use more often?

(a) TV (65%) (b) Computer (25%) (c) Video Games (7%) (d) Movies (3%)

Q.5. Why do you like that? Give reason?

(a) Contents (77%) (b) Graphics (22%) (c) Timing (0%) (d) Video Games (1%)

Q.6. How much do you like that medium?

(a) More (70%) (b) Less (30%)

Q.7. What do you learn from your favorite medium?

(a) Action (31%) (b) Language (24%) (c) Behavior (28%) (d) Nothing (17%)

Q.8. Which programs help you in your studies?

(a) Science (6%) (b) Quiz Shows (13%) (c) None (81%)

Q.9. Do you feel any change in your mood after watching certain scenes?

(a) Anger (30%) (b) Humbleness (30%) (c) Patriotism (11%) (d) Joy (9%) (e) None (20%)

Q.10. Where can you conveniently and often use your favorite medium?

(a) TV lounge (32%) (b) Bedrooms (55%) (c) Friend's home(3%) (d) Neighbor's home (10%)

Section of Questionnaire for Parents and percentage of their responses:

Q.1. How much time do your children spend on electronic media during one day?

(a) 1 to 2 hours (57%) (b) 3 to 4 hours (35%) (c) 5 to 6 hours (5%) (d) More than 6 hours (3%)

Q.2. Where do your children prefer to use that media?

(a) TV lounge (35%) (b) Bedroom (56%) (c) Friend's home (0%) (d) Neighbor's home (9%) (e) Elsewhere (0%)

Q.3. Which electronic medium, do you feel is beneficial for your children?

(a) TV (25%) (b) Computer (55%) (c) Videogames (20%) (d) Movies (0%) (e) Video Games (0%)

Q.4. Which type of programs are liked by your children the most?

(a) Informative (44%) (b) Linguistics (6%) (c) Sports (6%) (d) Others (10%)

Q.5. Do you feel any change in your children's behaviour, which has been adopted by him from any particular program?

(a) Language (12%) (b) Dressing (7%) (c) Behavior (47%) (d) Thinking (13%) (e) Nothing (21%)

Q.6. Do you want that certain things of different programs should be adopted by your children?

(a) Yes (41%) (b) No (16%) (c) Sometimes (43%)

Q.7. Do your children persist to possess any new fashion after watching on screen?

(a) Yes (32%) (b) No (25%) (c) Sometimes (43%)

Q.8. Does your child ask you any question regarding any exposure presented for adults?

(a) Yes (50%) (b) No (11%) (c) Sometimes (39%)

Q.9. Do you consider electronic media as a baby sitter?

(a) Yes (40%) (b) No (7%) (c) Sometimes (53%)

Q.10. Do you apply any rules on children for watching that media?

(a) Yes (30%) (b) No (30%) (c) Sometimes (60%)

Q.11. Does watching electronic media affect their studies?

(a) Yes (28%) (b) No (49%) (c) Sometimes (53%)

Data Tabulation:

Survey from the children respondents along with the percentages of their responses:

Q.1. How much time do you spend on watching television and working on computer?

(a) 1 to 2 hours (66%)###(b) 3 to 4 hours (32%) (c) 5 to 6 hours (0%)###(d) More than this (0%)

Q.2. How much time do you spend on using different electronic media such as, TV, Computer, VCD and Video games?

(a) TV (67%)###(b) TV / Computer (21%)###(c) TV/Computer/VCD (4%) (d) TV/Computer/Videogame (8%)

Q.3. Which are your favorite Programs?

(a) Cartoon (47%) (b) Science (5%) (c) Drama (38%) (d) Advertising (6%) (e) others (4%)

Q.4. Which is your favorite electronic medium which you use more often?

(a) TV (65%) (b) Computer (25%) (c) Video Games (7%) (d) Movies (3%)

Q.5. Why do you like that? Give reason?

(a) Contents (77%) (b) Graphics (22%) (c) Timing (0%) (d) Video Games (1%)

Q.6. How much do you like that medium?

(a) More (70%) (b) Less (30%)

Q.7. What do you learn from your favorite medium?

(a) Action (31%) (b) Language (24%) (c) Behavior (28%) (d) Nothing (17%)

Q.8. Which programs help you in your studies?

(a) Science (6%) (b) Quiz Shows (13%) (c) None (81%)

Q.9. Do you feel any change in your mood after watching certain scenes?

(a) Anger (30%) (b) Humbleness (30%) (c) Patriotism (11%) (d) Joy (9%)###(e) None (20%)

Q.10. Where can you conveniently and often use your favorite medium?

(a) TV lounge (32%) (b) Bedrooms (55%) (c) Friend's home(3%) (d) Neighbor's home (10%)

Section of Questionnaire for Parents and percentage of their responses:

Q.1. How much time do your children spend on electronic media during one day?

(a) 1 to 2 hours (57%)###(b) 3 to 4 hours (35%)###(c) 5 to 6 hours (5%)###(d) More than 6 hours (3%)

Q.2. Where do your children prefer to use that media?

(a) TV lounge (35%) (b) Bedroom (56%) (c) Friend's home (0%) (d) Neighbor's home (9%) (e) Elsewhere (0%)

Q.3. Which electronic medium, do you feel is beneficial for your children?

(a) TV (25%)###(b) Computer (55%) (c) Videogames (20%)###(d) Movies (0%) (e) Video Games (0%)

Q.4. Which type of programs are liked by your children the most?

(a) Informative (44%)###(b) Linguistics (6%) (c) Sports (6%)###(d) Others (10%)

Q.5. Do you feel any change in your children's behaviour, which has been adopted by him from any particular program?

(a) Language (12%) (b) Dressing (7%) (c) Behavior (47%)###(d) Thinking (13%) (e) Nothing (21%)

Q.6. Do you want that certain things of different programs should be adopted by your children?

(a) Yes (41%) (b) No (16%) (c) Sometimes (43%)

Q.7. Do your children persist to possess any new fashion after watching on screen?

(a) Yes (32%) (b) No (25%) (c) Sometimes (43%)

Q.8. Does your child ask you any question regarding any exposure presented for adults?

(a) Yes (50%) (b) No (11%) (c) Sometimes (39%)

Q.9. Do you consider electronic media as a baby sitter?

(a) Yes (40%)###(b) No (7%) (c) Sometimes (53%)

Q.10. Do you apply any rules on children for watching that media?

(a) Yes (30%)###(b) No (30%) (c) Sometimes (60%)

Q.11. Does watching electronic media affect their studies?

(a) Yes (28%)###(b) No (49%)###(c) Sometimes (53%)

Data Tabulation:

Survey from the children respondents along with the percentages of their responses:

Q.1. During a day How much time do you spend on watching television and working on computer?

1 to 2 hours###3 to 4 hours###5 to 6 hours###More

66%###32%###10%###2%

Q.2. Which electronic medium do you use in your daily life?

TV###TV/Computer###TV/Computer/VCD###TV/Computer/Videogames

67%###21%###4%###8%

Q.3. Which are your favorite programs that you watch on those different media?

Cartoons###Science###Drama###Advertising###Other

###47%###5%###38%###6%###4%

Q.4. Which are your favorite electronic media?

TV###Computer###Video games###Internet

65%###25%###7%###3%

Q.5. Why do you like that medium?

Contents###Graphics###Timings###Other

77%###22%###0%###1%

Q.6. How much do you like that medium?

More###Less

70%###30%

Q.7. Can you notify one thing you learn from that medium?

Action###Language###Behavior###Nothing

31%###24%###28%###17%

Q.8. Which program did help you in your study matters?

Science###Quiz Shows###None

6%###13%###81%

Q.9. Do you feel any particular feelings after watching a scene or program?

Anger###Humbleness###Patriotism###Joy###Nothing

30%###30%###11%###9%###20%

Q.10. Where do you avail the facility of that medium? Specify the place.

TVLounge###Bedroom###Friend's Home###Neighbor's Home

32%###55%###3%###10%

Section for Parent's respondents

Q.1. How much time do your children spend on electronic media during a day?

1to2 hours###3to4 hours###5to6 hours###More than

57%###35%###5%###3%

Q.2. Where do they feel convenient to utilize that medium?

TV Lounge###Bedroom###Friends Home###Neighbor's Home###Elsewhere

35%###56%###0%###9%###0%

Q.3. Can you tell us any particular electronic medium which remains fruitful for your child/children?

TV###Computer###Video Games###Movies

25%###55%###20%###0%

Q.4. Is there any one program or segment from which your child learns a new and better thing?

Information Games Language###Others###Nothing

14%###6%###8%###10%###62%

Q.5. Have you observed any changes in your child after seeing any particular program?

Language###Dressing###Behavior###Thinking###Nothing

12%###7%###47%###13%###21%

Q.6. Do they want to apply that thing in their daily life after watching that program?

Yes###No###Sometimes

41%###16%###43%

Q.7. Do your children incline to possess any new fashion after watching it on screen?

Yes###No###Sometimes

32%###25%###43%

Q.8. Does your child ask you any question regarding any exposure presented for adults?

Yes###No###Sometimes

50%###11%###39%

Q.9. Do you consider screen media as a baby sitter?

Yes###No###Sometimes

40%###7%###53%

Q.10. Do you apply any rule on children for watching that medium?

Yes###No###Sometimes

30%###30%###40%

Q.11. Does watching screen media affect their studies?

Yes###No###Sometimes

28% 49%###23%

Demographic Information

There were 200 respondents from them 46% were boys whereas 54% were girls.

Boys###Girls

46%###54%

The responding children were divided in three parts according to their ages. The first one group was 4 to 6 years, which makes 37% respondents. Second one was of 7 to 9 years, the respondents of this group were 34%, whereas the third group was of 10 to 12 years, which makes 29%.

Age Groups###% Respondents

4 to 6 years###37%

7 to 9 years###34%

10 to 12 years###29%

Gender in Age Groups:

Here the researchers divided the children by gender wise percentage along with their ages. From 4 to 6 years the boys were 19% and the girls were 18%.

From 7 to 9 years the boys were 16% and the girls were 18%.

Whereas, from 10 to 12 years the 8% were boys and 21% were girls.

4 to 6 Years group's gender wise percentage:

Boys###Girls

19%###18%

7 to 9 Years group's gender wise percentage:

Boys###Girls

16%###18%

10 to 12 Years group's gender wise percentage:

Boys Girls

8%###21%

Conclusions:

* The electronic media has dramatic and powerful influence on the children's minds at all stages of their childhood life.

* 66% children spend 01 to 02 hours daily on watching television or using other source of electronic media.

* 67% and 21% of the children use television and computer respectively, which shows that TV and Computer is most common media to be used by the children.

* From among the programs like cartoon are watched by children, without having any quest to acquire any knowledge and education from that programs.

* It is observed that the majority of the respondents witness actions of the characters and try to imitate them in their practical life.

* It is inferred that 81% of the children think that media is not providing any substantial help to them in their studies.

* The mood and behaviour of the children change by continuous watching certain TV programs, which show the sentiments like anger or kindness.

* The overwhelming majority of the children use electronic media in their own bed rooms.

* The parents are of the opinion that the majority of children have access and interest in watching television and computer.

* The parents rank computer on the top slot which they think is beneficial for their children's education and learning.

* The parents opine that the TV programs have effect on their children's behaviour.

* The parents think that their children adopt new fashions after watching certain characters on television.

* The parents always compel their children to utilize the electronic media upto a scheduled time not more than that.

* The majority parents feel that over use of electronic media affects their children's studies adversely.

Recommendation:

* The Government should frame rules and regulations to curb the programs showing violence and crime.

* The parents should not give free access to their children to utilize electronic media for long hours.

* The parents should not allow their children to utilize the electronic media in their private bedrooms, but also keep vigilant eye on them while they are using the media at any place.

* The ads which are having vulgarity or showing the showbiz heroes smoking cigarettes be curbed or be telecast after mid night if necessary.

* The parents should provide the selected CDs of informative and educational programs to their children, this can increase their knowledge and intellect.

References:

1. Mcluhan, Marshall, understanding Media, Rout ledge and Kegan Paur, London 1964.

2. Joint statement on the impact of entertainment violence on children congressional public health submit UNESCO July 26, 2000.

3. Debbie Richardson, M.S child development Assistant Specialist, Ok lahoma State University (May 2004)

4. Rideout vandi water and wertella (2003). The Effects of Electronic Media on Children Age Zero to Six. United States (U.S.A)

5. P.K Ravindranath (2004) Broadcast Journalism Authors Press Delhi 2004. pp. 6-7.

* Both authors are working as Assistant Professor, Department of Mass Communication, University of Sindh, Jamshoro and Assistant Professor, Institute of Commerce, University of Sindh, Jamshoro
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