Children’s responses to different television genres, and the medium’s effects on their speech development are questioned by two long-term U.K. research projects.
The Broadcasting Standards Council has funded a study, ‘Moving Images,’ to be published this month, which examines children’s emotional responses to television, particularly negative responses to news, drama and films. The author, David Buckingham, focused on horror, tragedies, soaps and factual news and children’s television literacy.
A separate 10-year study from the London Speech, Language and Hearing Centre concludes that too much television is stunting the language development of pre-school children.
Dr. Sally Ward, the country’s leading speech authority found that the background noise from television prevents children, across all social groups, from learning to talk as early as they should.
‘They got very fixed on the colors and flashing lights,’ she says. A controversial conclusion to the report declares that babies under one year should not watch television or videos at all and children of two and three should watch for no more than an hour a day.
On a brighter note, Ward discovered that parents who were taught to turn off the television and talk to their children could repair the damage.
However, unless action is taken before the age of eight, children are ‘usually in special education’ and ‘educational failures,’ she says.