The world of media has completely changed in the past few years. It is due to a massive progress in the field of the internet and digital media platforms. This wave of change has led to a new form of media, which is basically digital. Along with all this, the content of media has also changed and evolved in a magnificent manner.
This change has a deep effect and impact on a child’s mind and psyche. We must understand that the influence of media on child development is not just one direction-based rather it hampers the child in two ways.
It influences not just their mind and thoughts but also the way they use media and its different sources. If you wish to understand how a common form of media, i.e., television impacts young mind, then you can go through our article Role of TV in Child Development.
To understand the concept of media, let us first understand what is media?
What do you mean by Media?
Media is a very popular form of communication. It is the means of spreading, storing and delivering information to the people through different sources. The term medium or media refer to the ways or options through which information is passed. Some popular forms of media are radio, television, newspapers or the latest, i.e., the internet.
In modern age, media comes in many different formats like print, digital and electronic. Books, magazines, newspapers comprise print media. Television, radio, movies, cell phones, etc. comprise the electronic media and last but not the least is the digital media. The internet and various kinds of software and online programs come under the category of digital media.
Now, let us see what role does media play in child development?
What is the Role of Media in Child Development?
Media plays various important roles in the development of a child’s life. It helps them understand language, academics and different types of social-emotional skills. It teaches and gives a lot of information and knowledge to the children. It helps them groom and become more confident.
Let us try to understand the role that media plays when it comes to child development.
Different forms of media help the children learn different educational games, programs and apps. These games, programs and apps teach the children how to excel in the field of academics and learning. This helps them progress and grow in their life.
2. Learning of Language
Media plays a major role in teaching a language to young kids. All the programs that are shown, heard or content that is read is written in a language, so while going through that, the child gets to learn a language.
3. General Awareness
Media promotes general awareness among young kids. It helps them become more aware of things around them. This helps them learn about things, places and people around them and become more aware of their surroundings.
4. Helps in Expressing Views/ Creativity
Media is the source or medium by which all (young and old) can express their views. It helps them bring out their creativity. Through various platforms like radio or the internet, even children of today are able to express their point of views and bring out their creative thought process.
5. Health Awareness
Media gives knowledge on physical and mental health to kids. Those children who concentrate on such information are more well-aware of different types of health issues. Some such issues are teen depression, obesity, etc.
6. Helps in Overcoming Hesitation
Some kids are very shy and introvert. For such kids, social media platforms act as a medium to speak and interact without any hesitation. It helps them develop social interaction and they are able to talk more freely. This form of communication is important for making new relations.
7. Build self-identity
Good and interesting content on TV and other online platforms assists children in creating and identifying self-identity. Like, a program that talks about social equality might inspire a kid to follow the same ideology in his life.
8. Avenue to Stay Connected with Peers
All the forms of media can help young kids to connect with their peers. In this situation, social media plays the most important role. It helps the kids connect and regularly stay in touch with their friends and peers.
9. Virtual Empathy Leads to Children Becoming Considerate
Children tend to become empathetic when they see emotions coming from people in the virtual world even if they cannot see those people. This makes them more considerate and kind towards the others.
10. Development of Imagination
Media in all its forms enhances the imagination power of the young children. They tend to think and imagine about various things that they see and hear. It develops their thought process and imagination powers.
11. Inspiration to Young Kids
Online stories, motivational encounters on the internet, print, and social media act as a source of inspiration for teenagers and other young kids. These stories teach them to be good and do well for the betterment of the society.
Recommended Reads: Does Internet Cause Ethical Dilemmas in Children and Teenagers?
Negative Impact of Media on Child Development
The influence of media on child development is undoubtedly vast. We just read about the positive influences of media on child development. However, there are highs and lows of everything. So, now let us try to find out the negative impacts of media on child development. Some of them are as follows:
- Physical and mental health issues: Regular usage of the various media sources can lead to physical and mental health issues in children. They tend to develop various kinds of physical and mental illness, like obesity, depression, fatigue, drowsiness, etc.
- Lethargic in nature and behaviour: Habitual sitting or lying down in one position while using the various media sources tends to make children lethargic both in health as well as behaviour. It is bad for their health as well as attitude as it makes them mentally and physically weak.
- Instill wrong perception in children: Sometimes social, digital and electronic media tend to bring a news or information out in such a manner that it gives out a wrong thought or perception in the minds of young children.
- Develop wrong beliefs: At times, by mistake, media tends to propagate wrong kind of beliefs, which are harmful for the innocent minds of children. Such beliefs tend to hurt them and at times form wrong impression in their minds, which might have far-reaching effects.
- Violent and rash behaviour: At times because of social media children start behaving irrationally. They develop violent attitude and it tends to behavioural anxiety and irritability. This situation can be avoided if parents begin to spend more time with the children and pay attention towards them.
- Get addicted: The worse influence of media on child development is young children becoming addicted to it. They tend to spend all their time on social media platforms or watching TV or on the internet, which is very bad for their eyes, mind and over all physical and mental health.
Recommended Reads: Positive/Negative? Internet Influence on Kids
What can Parents do to Protect their Child from the Bad Effects of Media?
Parents get very worried when they see their children misusing anything. It could be social media or any other form of entertainment. Parents always want the best for their children. So, they keep on trying to find out ways by which they can protect their child from the bad effects of the media.
Following are some of the simple steps that they can follow to safeguard their children:
- Parents should be aware of their child’s choices. They should know what kind of movies, shows or games does their child like and why.
- Parents should also keep a tab on the child’s media activities. Like, which sites or program does the child regularly frequent and are they appropriate for his age or not. Also, if you know the role that TV plays in child development, you can go through our article Role of Television in Child Development.
- Parents should openly discuss the positive and negative of the media with their child.
- At times, parent should also become firm and set rules and limits about the screen time regarding all the media sources for their children.
- Also, one of the best ways to protect your child from the negative effects of social media is to keep all the digital media equipment of the house in a common space where all can see and watch it. It is also a good idea to have common passwords.
Recommended Reads: Duties & Responsibilities of Parents towards Their Children
The use of digital and social media among adults is as common as it is among the teens of today. The media of today is more complicated to understand and quite fast-paced and the role of media in child’s development is increased by leaps and bounds. It is bound to guide, teach and make children more confident and outspoken.
In all this, family or parents play a very important role as they act as guide while teaching the child how to navigate the world of media and find out what is best for him. If you want to understand the role of family in child development, you can read our article Key Role of Family in Child Development.