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Is Child Behavior Influenced By Different Entertainment Systems?

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The entertainment has been around for centuries, and many millennials have been raised with cell phones, Wi-Fi, and cellular apps. If you were to enter an elementary school, many students of the upper grade level own a cell phone. When I was in elementary, I had no phone, but I had a coloring book and reading books to fill the void in my hand. In recent events, children own a phone and different social media sites, the most used sites being Snap Chat, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

As the internet developed, people relied on other types of entertainment – making them rely less on one sole source. Several low and high income communities had simple toys and entertainment systems such as playgrounds and radios. Cellular telephones make children to focus on one screen instead of their surroundings like in past years. In the past, numerous children relied on each other and their surroundings to entertainment themselves while their parents will either work, clean, or had time to relax. These children used their imaginations to create new worlds, and they were socializing with others in the same age range. Different games were invented to pass the time, such as hop scotch, Tic-Tac-Toe, and hide-n-seek, while they waited before school and after finishing their school work. When a child socializes with his or her peers and uses their endless imagination, their behavior will improve and develop as they grow in a healthy environment. Even though misbehaving children would exist in the past, the percentages of misbehaving children are increasing as the years progress. Now that children have easier access to the internet, their behavior is are affected and influenced by what they see on smartphones screens.

In the past, the child’s behavior was being influenced by other means before the internet was created. By the 1950’s, television had come out and was part of the main entertainment for both children and adults. At first, it was adults that were entertained with the news that was broadcast from NBC, CBS, and ABC – to name a few. After broadcasters realize that children could be entertained by the television, they created cartoons and small shows that would help gain the child’s attention. The television became huge and was in the majority of households as well as one of the main ways to pass the time. As the years progress, new entertainment systems came through such as the MP3 Player, DVD Player, and VCR Player. The mentioned electronics further became an influence in the child’s behavior in both positive and negative ways. On the positive side of the effects in the child’s behavior, the children will be learning how to respect and behave in certain areas and know when it is appropriate to play. On the negative side of things, the child will not interact with others during their leisure time and will be focused on the television screen.

In a similar fashion, video games became the second phenomenon, and it influenced child behavior. In the beginning, the videogames was a home device that consisted of two sticks on each side of the television screen as a small, white dot moved back and forward between the two. Children were continuing in communicating, but they were passing the time indoors instead of outside. This affected their behavior when videogame companies developed violent genres for older children and teenagers. A few years later, girls and boys were a target in the gaming company’s eyes causing children from all ages to stay inside. As new gaming technology was created and various genres were made, less and less children were outside. While parents during that generation thought it was normal and sociable gatherings, older parents from past generations believed the games were rotting their developing brains. I agree with the older generation’s point of view in that videogames and television are somehow killing children’s imaginations, making their brains develop longer time, and their behavior to change in certain aspects.

Years later, the internet was born and the inventor being Bill Clinton. He created a brand new way to entertain people and caused the era of the internet to begin. Slowly, but surely, the internet developed to different forms and gaining new abilities such as music downloading, typing a research paper, blogging, and searching for information. By then, everyone, both young and old, had the desire to obtain this spectacular invention. With the new techniques being created, almost no one could resist the temptation of the internet. It wasn’t until 2005 when YouTube was created to watch online videos whether it was for humor or for music. During this time, cellular phones were being innovated from flip phones to smartphones. The change created a way for the internet to be incorporated in the smartphone giving it the ability of a computer. Currently, we can take any smartphone with us anywhere we go and enjoy our easy access of entertainment and socialization, but not all new things can have a joyful ending. Smartphones were becoming a dangerous poison to children who were raised around it, and various effects were being discovered. Some of these effects were the habit of always using it, the tendency of imitating the influencers they see, and gain characteristics of their role models.

Currently, parents start to utilize the accessible entertainment systems to substitute as a “babysitter” to take care of their children. By this point, many parents have started to complain about how their child are becoming introverts and not going outside as much as before. While they blame the new technology, it is actually the parent who do not limit the amount of time their children are in front the screen. Both types of parents can blame the new technology, but they are far from the truth. The limitation that a parent provides can actually help the child to develop separate from the movable and addictive technology. If the child were to have no limits what so ever, they are more likely to depend on their phone than themselves and others. Yes, having access to the internet can be helpful at time for both the parent and the child, but it does contain some consequences.

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To illustrate, if you were to take a quick look of your surroundings, you will quickly notice how the majority of the people passing by own a smartphone and are consistently utilizing it. Many parents carry a tablet or an extra phone just for their child to use when they start to cry “bother” them. In my personal experience, I have witness this first handedly with my younger siblings. They were raised in a much later generation where Wi-Fi had already been developed and being installed in households around the United States while I was raised during the flip phone era. The difference between us is that my younger siblings depend on the internet as if it were a living necessity rather than a luxury. While I played and socialized outdoors with our neighbors in our small neighborhood, the younger generation stayed indoors and used the available internet. This says a lot about the new generation in the millennial era as time passes I’ve noticed how attached students and children are with our mobile phones and are willing to do anything to gain it back. Their behavior can cause danger in schools, neighborhoods, and communities as they can have quick mood changes that are caused when they feel a threat in the ownerships of the smartphone.

According to a table created by Rong Wang, Suzanne M. Bianchi, and Sara B. Raley, about eighty seven percent of parents living in households use the internet by themselves while sixty eight percent of parents utilize the internet with their child ( et al. 4). The table shows how differently a teenager’s response is from the parent’s response to three different questions that were asked in a survey. This further supports the statement that parents are the ones that are at fault for their child’s development for not putting limits to the daily use of the different entertaining systems. Due to the development of Wi-Fi and Smart Televisions, internet use has increased over the last decade and most of the family members are using it as well. As the parent uses the internet for entertainment, the child will see them and believe that they also have the liberty to use it freely; thus, this creates a habit that will be difficult to break. Since the parent is one of the most important role model in a child’s life, the child will mimic the parent’s mannerism. Be that as it may, if, for whatever reason, the child turns most of his or her attention to the small LED phone screen, they will begin to impersonate the figure in the screen rther than the parent. As everyone knows, monkey see, monkey do.

In a similar fashion, teachers have also complained about child’s behavior throughout the years. In an article written by Rachel A. Karchmer, she interviews various teachers and thirteen had stated that the internet had influenced their behavior in class as well as their work (Karchmer 2). All the teachers and their colleagues had different experience with the internet and how they utilize it in their classroom. Some of them believe that the internet can help them during the class session, but others believe that the technology is a waste of class time and a distraction (Karchmer 2). I do not blame these teachers for having mixed opinions on the internet, for there are some positive consequences of having various entertainment systems. Some of these include playing games with friends, family bonding time at home, and meeting other peers with the same interest of music, movies, or books.

Although many believe the internet is not to blame for the child’s development and behavior, it is still associated with the parenting abilities that older millennials have gained in this period of time. Still few people argue that the internet actually help the child’s behavior by the different online social media that are available. This may be true, but the internet can also corrupt a child’s mind and their mannerism. Influencers that have poor behavior are a pair of brothers named Logan and Jake Paul. They have become powerful YouTube Influencers just gaining their celebrity status four years ago in 2015. Most of their videos on YouTube consists of burning random appliances, doing dangerous stunts, and creating harmful pranks. The brothers’ audience is for all ages due to the variety of music videos and the censorship of inadequate diction. Young and older children watch these brother, who now have separate YouTube accounts, and think that their actions are approvable by everyone that watches them. While children may think it is normal and humorous to do these types of things they see in the brothers’ separate YouTube accounts, it could be dangerous I the child were to try it at home. Furthermore, the stunts that the brothers do have caused chaotic news reports and numerous police arrests. No parent wants their child to become a risky and unpredictable adult all due to the videos that they have seen in the past. The YouTube Company, which is Google, have tried to dilute these types of videos, but more and more are uploaded every day from children and teenagers around the globe.

On the other hand, YouTube also contain useful videos such as facts, documents, and educational movies that teach and entertain children and teenagers. The site can help them with the students’ homework from all the core classes as well as their electives in junior high school, high school, college, and in the university. Teachers also know this for there is a school friendly site named “Teacher Tube” where you can search for educational techniques and lectures. YouTube can also be used to find artist’s music, concerts, and live stream, in which the fans can interact with each other and with the artist.

In a similar fashion, the internet can be used for communicating with distant relatives, close family members, loved ones, and tutors. Malesky and Peters defines “social networking site (SNS)” as a “linked collection of Web pages that allow members to communicate with one another” (Malesky & Peters 2). Different social media sites were created for the sole purpose of socializing and greeting new people for across the globe. This may seem good, but it can also hurt a student of any age. There are numerous of social media sites where any person can communicate with a friend or a stranger. This may sound good and a great innovation for the world, but there are predators lurking in the shadows that prey on the vulnerable. There are some positive of using social media such as to communicate with teachers, instructors, and other students. On the other hand, in SNS, you can never tell who is being truthful and who is misleading the users.

Works Cited

  1. Karchmer, Rachel A. “The Journey Ahead: Thirteen Teachers Report How the Internet Influences Literacy and Literacy Instruction in Their K-12 Classrooms.” Reading Research Quarterly, vol. 36, no. 4, 2001, pp. 442–466., doi:10.1598/rrq.36.4.5.
  2. Malesky, L. Alvin, and Chris Peters. “Defining Appropriate Professional Behavior for Faculty and University Students on Social Networking Websites.” Higher Education, vol. 63, no. 1, 2011, pp. 135–151., doi:10.1007/s10734-011-9451-x.
  3. Wang, Rong, et al. “Teenagers Internet Use and Family Rules: A Research Note.” Journal of Marriage and Family, vol. 67, no. 5, 2005, pp. 1249–1258., doi:10.1111/j.1741-3737.2005.00214.x.

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