At four years of age children switch to adult programming and by the time these youngsters enter kindergarten, the effects of routine and unconfirmed viewing are said to lead to decreased thoughts and attention spans, tetchiness and restlessness, low academic achievement, aggressive behaviors derivative of popular TV programs, and so forth (Mutz, D. C., Roberts, D. F., and van Vuuren, D. P. 1993).
Even the youngest children in America are growing up immersed in media, spending hours' whole day watching TV and videos, using computers and playing video games, according to a new study released today by the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Children's six and under spend an average of two hours a day using screen media (1:58), about the same amount of time they spend playing outside (2:01), and well over the amount they spend reading or being read to (39 minutes).
New interactive digital media have become an integral part of children's lives. Nearly half (48%) of children six and under have used a computer (31% of 0-3 year-olds and 70% of 4-6 year-olds). Just under a third (30%) have played video games (14% of 0-3 year-olds and 50% of 4-6 year-olds). Even the youngest children -- those under two -- are widely exposed to electronic media. Forty-three percent of those under two watches TV every day, and 26% have a TV in their bedroom (the American Academy of Pediatrics "urges parents to avoid television for children under 2 years old"). In any given day, two-thirds (68%) of children under two will use a screen media, for an average of just over two hours (2:05). (PR Newswire; 10/28/2003)
The revealed results of studies of the past two decades, then, have alerted parents and educators to such pessimistic effects of TV. More lately, however, researchers have examined the proportional effects of both unmediated and mediated viewing. Numerous now argue that mediated viewing that is, viewing which entails parental or instructional intervention counter acts the actually negative effects of unmediated viewing.
Jane Bowyer and Mami Komaya presented theoretical importance of mediated viewing that is in the reference to the work of Vygotsky (1978) and Rogoff (1990). Vygotsky's "zone of proximal development" is explained as the gap between a child's "actual level as determined by independent problem solving" and the higher level of "potential development as determined through problem solving under adult guidance or in collaboration with more capable peers" (Vygotsky, p. 86). According to Jane Bowyer and Mami Komaya in this framework, mediated viewing of television viewing creates a social milieu in which the parent guides the child through the zone of proximal development to solve the problem of understanding television contents. Active mediation also is an example of what Rogoff (1990) calls "apprenticeship," whereby "active novices advance their skills and understanding through participation with more skilled partners in culturally organized activities" (Rogoff, p. 39). In her view, the parent is an expert who