Media today has crossed all boundaries and its constant evolution over the last few decades has led to strong influences upon families, cultures, societies and nations all over the world. Media has the power to influence the minds and impact change that it desires. Media is used to convey information and market ideas and services of companies. As much as it is a useful tool and much of a useful commodity for adults who have to survive in the world of today which is a thriving notion of information search and awareness, the not so mature, children of today have had much to suffer due to the lack of control over excessive media exposure given to them throughout their childhood and as a result they end with several deficiencies and inabilities that haunts their personality development. There are positive influences as well, which basically are differentials between the children of today and the children of a few decades back, but the majority of negative influences have, nonetheless, superseded the positive ones and thus, presenting media as a highly dangerous ornament for the children during their years of personality development.
'All work and no play make Jack a dull boy.' Every kid during childhood hears parents telling this statement so as to stimulate energy and enthusiasm onto the child to go out and play and consume the energy in a useful way that maintains a certain amount of activity on a regular basis.
Having less in-house activities in earlier times ensured that playing outside was the best leisure time for the children. But now, with television staring them down at their faces, offering them numerous channels and programs to choose from and catering to their various interests, children have no option but to stay at home and not bother going out at all (Rollins, 2004). They think, it is better to have fun at home and not waste energy outside and sweat for fun. This however, does not go for the sports lovers and athletic children who play outside no matter what. But the situation is quite so for the majority of the children and as things work out perfectly well for the athletic children, for those who turn into couch potatoes, they head towards obesity. Sitting in front of the TV all day, lunch, homework, dinner, everything in front of it, while sitting or lying down, can only mean induction of loads of fat and flab onto the body. This is the most visible affect of media which is quite common in adults as well who find TV that best leisure activity during the day (Rollins, 2004).
When the body slowly becomes accustomed to sitting around all day, it becomes inactive and causes obesity. Along with the body becoming inactive, the brain also becomes inactive. Staring at the television and consuming the images gradually slows down the brain activity, activity that revolves around thinking, reasoning and judging. Watching the television excessively consumes the brain's energy and leaves less of it for the children to use in their homework or studies, thus making them far less creative than they were before (Perse, 2001).
This excessive watching can not be altogether disregarded as bad, however, as it increases awareness of the children regarding many things. For example, National Geographic has influenced many children to become nature lovers, and Discovery Channel evoked curiosity to think of science's value in our lives. Also, the children of today are far more aware of the troubles of the world and the issues such as global warming than the children of for e.g. 1970s or 1980s, due to the numerous informatory shows aired on television (Sternheimer, 2004).
But alongside the information that media imparts to the children who get influenced to believe it and follow it, the flip side of this influence is materialism, which is infused onto the children via subliminal advertising. Fancy cars, watches, celebrities etc all influence children to believe that whoever wants to earn fame and popularity has to have possession of various brands and commodities. Media has infused the notion of class differences even more onto the lives of the children who tend to now judge others based on what brand they wear or follow what types of movies they watch and what type of songs they listen to. As much as people of the modern times talk of equality and a racism free world, media through its abundance of advertisements that all are centered around materialism portray the very inequality elements of class, status, race and color. For example, children who possess perfectly working play stations now ask for X Box 3, and the reason being only that the latest is available (DeGaetano, 2004). It is the media that influences this unneeded want. This very materialism deviates then the children from more productive and constructive shows and information aired on television for e.g. on Discovery Chanel, and also from real life role models, such as inspirational heroes whom they showed be listening more of.
Their heroes due to the media have become the celebrities and models, which is obviously not a desirable direction for the children.
Television was the biggest invention of the 20th century and brought a revolution in how communication was done before. The most prominent advantage was the abundance of information that it has allowed to be passed on to the viewers. But with time, the information delivered through television became incumbent of several negative influences upon the children who are receptive to almost everything that they see on it, where some is useful for them, mostly are highly destructive for them, which only makes the parents' job to supervise and ensure that they do not lean towards excessive television watching (DeGaetano, 2004).