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Link Between Television Screening Time and Language Development in Children

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Psychology
Wordcount: 1246 words Published: 18th May 2020

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  1. Introduction

 Language development is an important cognitive skill/brain process and is the ability to learn how to speak and use proper vocabulary to communicate with other humans. The factors that affect how fast a child develops and learns a language rely largely on their surrounding environment, in other words, the sociocultural factors that affect them. Sociocultural factors, which are the values and customs that a society hold, play a big role in developing children because they affect how the child grows up and how they adapt and interact with their environment. For example, a child who grows up playing popular violent video games may be more likely to get involved with crime than a child who grows up reading novels in a society that values education. With televisions becoming more relevant in the world, children are more prone to watch television and other sources of media to educate themselves. Although many people view television as an alternative teacher to a child in their early stages, many fail to see whether or not the child actually benefits or instead receives negative effects from it. Some studies have even argued that television has caused delays in language development. Television’s growing popularity and over-reliability in the world brings up the question “To what extent can television screen time cause the deprivation of language development in children under the age of 2?”.

Television, being a major source of media use, has increased in use over the years. Over the century, households containing 1 or more televisions have increased to nearly 80%. Research has also shown that adults are offering there kids any type of media to educated themselves (Cingel, 2013), thus, increasing the reliability on technology. Television programs have also increased in variation, even offering shows that teach children the alphabet and how to speak, such as Dora and Super Why!. Parents are starting to make their children watch TV at younger ages, although studies have shown that children should be limited to or not be exposed to TV until the age of 2 (American Academy of Pediatrics 1999). Research has also reported that the age of 9-months is the average for children beginning to watch television. (Linebarger et al., 2005). Many theories have also advocated for social interaction instead of television use for a child’s language development, such as Vygotsky’s sociocultural theory of cognitive development. The investigation will focus on television program’s that are and aren’t directed at children and will also conclude the extent that child-directed television programs are any different in terms of deprivation of language to their non-beneficial counterparts. By investigating the effect that television has on a child’s language development, we are able to see whether or not television is really beneficial for kids during the cognitive phase of language-learning.

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 The investigation will focus on television’s effect on childrens’ language-development by implementing Vygotsky’s social development theory on the research and results used. Vygotsky’s theory emphasizes that in order for a child to develop and gain linguistic abilities, they require social interactions with their peers. With television becoming a world-wide instructor for language-learning, there are likely to be less interactions with parents(Vandewater, 2006). By looking at 2 year old kids and under, we are able to see the effectiveness of television because this is the stage where kids start to take in words and create meaning for them.

2. Vygotsky’s Social Development Theory and Application

 Vygotsky’s Social development theory ties in well with the debate on whether television causes language delay because it is able to stress that social interactions, as well as tools/technology, are important for linguistic development. Vygotsky’s theory implies that every child has an inner circle, which is what knowledge they already hold. The theory then states that there is an outer circle, or zone of proximal development, which is what the child can learn with the help of a more educated peer, which the theory states as The More Knowledgeable Other. The theory assumes that when the More Knowledgeable other helps the child, the child, in time, will be able to perform the cognitive ability without help, thus, expanding teh inner circle. The Zone of Proximal development can be adjusted with the help of peers or the use of tools, such as television.

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 The theory ties in well with language development because it explains that children will be able to develop more language by communicating, or interacting, with peers. Television, on the other hand, seems to be a major obstacle to this theory due to the dampening of social interactions between a child and their parent(Vandewater, 2006). With less interactions, the child will not be able to develop, or increase their zone of proximal development and not be able to increase their language ability. By looking at whether or not television effects the development of language, we will be able to also test this theory and also conclude whether or not social interactions are really the one-way answer to this cognitive ability.


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