The new media provide numerous opportunities for both the elderly and the young to learn in different areas such as creativity and imagination. However, researches done during the introduction of the media types such as television revealed that, actually, television had a negative impact on the creativity and imagination of young children. However, without the contemporary media available to people across the world, the concept of globalization would be real and information sharing would be hampered with. The new media provide unprecedented ways for people to learn from one another. Thus, various kinds of media can have both positive and negative effects on young people. This paper discusses the effects of new media on young children and illustrates the concept of displacement hypothesis.
Nowadays young children are able to access a number of new media types, including the Internet and social networks, with ease and without extensive expenditure. Therefore, the number of children using the new media has tremendously increased, hence provoking the need to investigate the effects these media have on children. This paper discusses the effects the new media have on children. It also analyses the study “The Impact of Background Television on Parent-Child Interaction” and assess whether this study supports displacement hypothesis.
Effects of New Media on Children
With the recent advancement in the media technology and the increased simplicity in its access, children spend more time utilizing these technologies than they study in class (Guernsey, 2007). Research indicated the rise in tendency by schools to provide students with assignments online, thus reducing the amount of time they are supposed to spend in class. In effect, the media define the lifestyle children get to internalize and adopt from the society. Children who are exposed to the new media for a long time may be influenced to start using drugs, engaging in sexual activities while some become aggressive and violent. Others develop eating and sleeping disorders, thus leading to health issues like obesity (Wood, 2012).
Overall, children who are excessively exposed to new media develop a self-image that is reflective of what they see in the media. As such, they might develop strange behavior; they hope it will help them to achieve the status of their role model in the media. In addition, Wood (2012) notes that studies have revealed that children who are exposed to the new media for a long period of time develop creativity and imagination redundancy. Such children cannot think creatively or employ their imaginative power to solve a simple problem as they resort to the media to seek for answers.
Displacement hypothesis is the assumption that children who spend more of their free time watching television while curtailing other leisure activities, like playing or reading, are likely to be less imaginative and creative in their approach to life problems (Calvert & Wilson, 2010). Eleanor Maccoby, Wilbur Schramm and their colleagues tested this hypothesis during the introduction of television in the households in 1951 and later in 1961. Recent studies related to the same issue indicate that children who spend more time watching television read less. Thus, there exists a general belief, although not proved through research, that a prolonged exposure to television is likely to cause a reduction in creativity amongst children.
The study ‘The Impact of Background Television on Parent-Child Interaction’, reported by Kirkorian et al. (2009), was an investigation of the hypothesis that background television affected the way children interacted with their parents. The study used 51 children aged between 12-36 months who were exposed to 1-hour free play while accompanied by one parent. The first half of the study involved a parent controlling a television program in the background while during the second half the child was not allowed access to television. The result of this investigation supported the hypothesis that parent-child interaction diminished greatly during the time the television program was on (Kirkorian et al., 2009). As such, the study proved that an early chronic exposure to TV was likely to have a negative development on the way children interacted with their parents.
The conclusions of this study support the displacement hypothesis, according to which young children become less interested in the environment around them, including their parents, when they are exposed to excessive periods of watching TV at a tender age. In addition, the study may provide a pointer as to the reason why children are likely to grow less imaginative and less creative.