On exploring why children are the most affected through such media depictions which are also viewed by people of all ages, scientific research points out to the immature cognitive development in children which does not allow them to rationalize and discern the content viewed. In addition, children are exposed to these media influences at a time when they are still developing their moral values and beliefs and are hence unable to avoid these unwarranted influences (Earles et al, 2002). Watching sexually explicit material often result in young children engaging in sexual acts and can have a lasting impact on their sexual behaviors and attitudes (Grant, 2003). Exposure to increased violence results in children displaying more aggressive behavior both verbally and physically. The later type of violence can lead children to commit acts of murder and other forms of serious injuries which can have terrible consequences on the future of the child (Anderson et al, 2003).
The content viewed by young children on television can be considered as a precursor to what kind of materials they would view in future as it is, in most cases, the first form of media to which a child is exposed. And in today’s world there is increased sex and violence shown in television and though programs carry a disclaimer about the content to be viewed and restrictions on the age allowing children to view a particular content rests with the parents and others who view it with the children. In addition, children are spending a lot of time in front of the television and it could be worse if they had one in their bedrooms. Long periods of television viewing with frequent browsing of channels would cause them to view prohibited content (Grant, 2003). Both sex and violence can have damaging effects on the thoughts and attitudes of young children. There are different forms in which sexual explicit and violent material are showcased in television and other forms of media. Watching sexually explicit content can result in teenage pregnancy and also in the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases among youth. Apart from television, internet is also becoming frequently used which has lesser regulations on content viewing and in the absence of parental guidance would only result in children getting addicted to watching sexual content. Such content viewing can result in poor academic performance as children tend to get preoccupied with unnecessary thoughts bombarding them even while at school as young minds are unable to understand the implications of viewing such content. Once they are deviated, their future is at stake; hence restrictions need to be introduced at a young age on what can be viewed by children. Restrictions need to be imposed at home which is now facilitated through the use of filtering devices both for television and internet viewing that would prevent children from watching or downloading sexually explicit content (Grant, 2003). When children are exposed to violence from a very young age there is a good possibility that they would consider it be like any other form of normal occurrence like a verbal conversation or any other type of physical activity. More so when heroic violence is celebrated and rewarded they would only take them as role models and would want to imitate their acts. Media violence has also shown to promote aggressive thinking and emotions which could also lead to aggression in physical actions. When such a habit is forged early on in life, it is more likely that children would grow up to be more