By KATHLEEN SCHAEFER

CASA GRANDE HIGH SCHOOL, JUNIOR, 17

From toddlers gazing intently at bright screens to young kids spending their childhood pressing buttons on game controllers, the younger generation has become too dependent on TV and video games as a source of immediate entertainment. The violence and instant gratification of games and shows negatively affect the children raised with too much electronic entertainment.
TV shows, movies and video games frequently show violent images and scenes. This exposure to brutality either will frighten children or will encourage similar behavior from them. When they are young, children have difficulty distinguishing between reality and the fantasy world on TV. Seeing violence, even in mild forms, can generate a fear of the world around them.
The kids who are not frightened by the images become desensitized to violence and horrific images. TV shows frequently promote aggression; they contain heroes that are portrayed as role models for young viewers but contradict that image by instigating violence.
Video games allow children to experience the fighting themselves, encouraging them to slaughter, shoot, bomb and otherwise destroy their virtual opponents. When combined with the lessons about cooperation and friendliness that kids receive from their parents and teachers, this glorification of violence inevitably will give children conflicting messages.
The realistic graphics of video games and the clear pictures of the television not only emphasize the violence on the screen, but also limit the creativity of the children watching the shows or playing the games. With entertainment that can be accessed simply by pressing a button, a child’s need for imagination will dwindle: Entire stories, complete with images and sounds, appear without any effort or thought. Because children who are exposed to excessive amounts of shows and video games are not given the opportunity to learn how to entertain themselves or to develop an imagination, they become dependent on electronic entertainment.
TV also can distract children from activities that are crucial during their childhood. Because of the lack of time spent participating in sports or playing outdoors, obesity rates are higher in children who play video games or watch TV for multiple hours every day.
When movies remove the need for books, kids do not improve their language skill. When game consoles replace the desire for childhood crafts, they do not receive as many opportunities to increase their creativity. Because of its consumption of valuable time, use of unnecessary violence and hindrance to imagination, it is essential that limits on children’s exposure to TV and video games be enforced.

This article first appeared in Casa Grande High School’s Gaucho Gazette.