Malaysia’s Bullying Epidemic

The Consumers’ Association of Penang (CAP) finds the state of bullying in Malaysian schools to be very disturbing. The bullying phenomenon has reached a point where it can now be considered a social epidemic.

It would seem that if we do not find a way to tackle this problem immediately, our society is going to turn into a violent one.

However, as with all problems, before we can work towards eradicating it we must first determine the causes or the contributing factors of the problem.

If we consider that children are greatly affected by the actions or inactions of their parents (the people who most strongly influence them in their early years), then the main contributing factor to bullying in Malaysian schools is most likely the lack of parenting in families nowadays. 

This situation is brought on by the demands of the materialistic mentality of our society.  CAP has always been against this way of life which is dictated by consumerism – where people are willing to forsake everything, even the precious time with their children, so that they may buy the latest gadgets and gizmos.

This way of life and thinking makes it so that both parents have to work to ensure they can make enough money to fulfil their excessive “wants” (in a two-parent family).  People should live simply and focus just on their “needs”.  If they did then only one parent would need to work and the other would be free to love and nurture their children.  This would be the ideal way of child rearing compared to the norm of parents leaving their children to be raised by impersonal caretakers.

Besides that, our educational system’s approach to inculcating moral values in children leaves much to be desired and is probably another cause for the rampant bullying that is happening in our schools.  Children are taught Islamic Studies, Moral Studies and Civics Studies as part of the curriculum in schools.  However the way children are taught these subjects is just to promote scoring “As” on exams and not to shape a moralistic human being.

It would be more beneficial if our formal education system actually made children practice good moral values as part of the syllabus instead of just teaching them “how to be a moral person”.    

With the gravity of the situation in mind, CAP ask that the Malaysian Government set up a Commission of Inquiry to examine the problem in detail and to determine what remedial actions can be taken to address the problem of bullying in schools.

Letter to the Editor, 9 June 2016

We need a value-based, not a market-based schooling system

The Malaysian Education System does not need just a marginal review but a complete change from market-centered schooling to value-based and nature-centric education.

Let us see this illustration. Once there lived a farmer with a few chicks on his farm. The mother hen would go in search of worms and the baby chicks would follow. The self search with a proper guidance gave them self confidence and self satisfaction. When there was a danger from any source, they learnt to evaluate it and take appropriate measures. They grew hale and hearty. One day a foreigner suggested the farmer, “This is the old-fashioned way of rearing the chicks. I will show you a modern and scientific way. Conduct a running race, whichever comes first grow them and sell them as egg-producers, the ones that come next sell them as meat-producers and the ones that come last cut them and sell them as fertilizer.” From then on the chicks compete with one another grew selfish, timid and powerless.

The existing educational problems stem from the choice of wrong purpose of education. The market-centered and job-oriented schooling system caters to the demands of the marketplace at the expense of social and individual needs. The curriculum is set by the needs of the market which are not necessarily good or useful to the creation of a harmonious society. Students are taught to compete, not cooperate. Getting ahead at all costs brings out the worst values in parents, teachers and students. Remember that focusing on the top student depreciates the 49 other students as failures. This perpetuates inequality and prevents equal access to educational resources.

Referring to the article: “Academicians want Review” (Sun, 12 Dec 2011), the politicians may conveniently not want to understand this critical outlook as they vehemently backs the job-oriented schooling system. They would prefer “constant reviews by a panel including foreign experts” and “special team to ensure that the teachers teach according to the syllabus”. They will buttress the system by organizing “vocational skill training for low performing students” arguing “80% of the Malaysian workforce is unskilled” without probing the reasons for such situation. We will be surprised if Datuk Dr. Wee Ka Siong, the Deputy Education Minister accepts for the call for a full review of our education system.

We strongly agree with the Malaysian Association for Education’s support of Prof. Dr .Abu Bakar Nordin’s calls for a overhaul of the present education system.

We need to take a complete U-turn and shift to a value-based and nature-centric education where children would learn voluntarily and joyfully about themselves, the society and the nature in order to live harmoniously among them.

Thus we recommend a new education system with the following principles:

1) The goal of education should be the learning of a harmonious life and the creation of a harmonious society.
2) The syllabus of education should be for learning life skills, including social and emotional skills besides skills for earning a living.
3) The pedagogy should be of participatory one and not one of reward and punishment.
4) Educational infrastructure and facilities should be made equally accessible to all.
5) Evaluation systems should be made holistic and helpful and not of grading, judging and grudging.
6) The training of teachers should be of shaping human personalities and not of creating machines.

The New Education System

Based on the aforesaid principles, we envisage a new culture-based, child-centered and value-based Cluster Schooling System where:

• Every neighborhood would have equal and essential infrastructure for every child to get equal and just share of learning facilities. Parents and Children do not need to search for better options as there would be equal opportunities everywhere.

• The syllabus will be one and the same throughout the nation and would reflect on learning harmony in life. It should be communities based and environment friendly. A judicial combination would be there in learning human values, life skills, perspectives, attitudes, information, intelligence and creativity. It will be rooted in our own culture and not glorify a foreign culture at the cost of our own.

• The child-centered or learner-centered teaching-learning methodology would be followed from primary school to university. It will be based on self-enquiry and self-discovery giving self-confidence and a higher worth of self-image. It will be based on group learning and team spirit. It will not have its base in stiff competition and in selfish motives.

• The evaluation of learning is a must but should not be of grading and degrading the learners but of one that would prepare the children to understand the individual character, intelligence, skills and attitudes and also to know the socialization process undergone. It should not be based on fright and panic but of freedom and delight.

• The teachers are like the acting parents who gently guide the learners towards self-discovery for peaceful community living along with Mother Nature.

Let us look at the root cause of the problem and solve it rather than indulging in tangential issues and coming to wrong conclusions.

Let the chicks have freedom of life. Stop the torture instantly.

Changing education paradigms

alt

This animation was adapted from a talk given at the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures & Commerce (RSA) by Sir Ken Robinson, world-renowned education and creativity expert and recipient of the RSA's Benjamin Franklin award. He is an author, speaker, and international advisor on education in the arts to government, non-profits, education, and arts bodies. The videos of his famous 2006 and 2010 talks to the prestigious Technology Entertainment and Design (TED) Conference have been seen by an estimated 200 million people in over 150 countries. In this talk from RSA Animate, Sir Ken Robinson lays out the link between 3 troubling trends: rising drop-out rates, schools’ dwindling stake in the arts, and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). An important, timely talk for parents and teachers.

TV retards your child’s development

"A 'good' brain for learning develops strong and widespread neural highways that can quickly and efficiently assign different aspects of a task to the most efficient system… Such efficiency is developed only by active practice in thinking and learning which, in turn, builds increasingly stronger connections. A growing suspicion among brain researchers is that excessive television viewing may affect the development of these kinds of connections."
Jane M. Healy, Ph.D, author of Endangered Minds: Why Children Don't Think And What We Can Do About It.
 
WANT your child to grow up into budding geniuses in maths, language or music? Or maybe you just want him or her to do well in school, or to become an intelligent, thinking adult. If so, keep them away from television.
Watching TV can make a child less intelligent because TV is an IQ killer, a brain freezer, creativity strangler, thought inhibitor, time stealer, sleep disrupter, playtime plunderer — and more.
Numerous studies have found that the actual act of watching TV is even more dangerous and potentially damaging to the brain of the developing child than what's on TV.
How does TV harm the brain and affect a child's learning skills, and what can parents do about it? Read on — and be warned.  

TV's effects on the developing brain

 
According to a University of Chicago study, reported in the Journal of Comparative Neurology, the first 3 years of a child's life are important for brain development as this is the time when various parts of the brain are "wired".  
In fact, the time lost from birth through age 5 cannot be made up for in later years. Certain aspects of brain development only occur during certain ages, and a child who misses out on the appropriate stimuli during this period may be disadvantaged from then on.
Optimal learning of different skills that will benefit children for life should take place during this time when the brain is being wired, scientists say.
An infant, for example, can recognise music it heard during foetal development. Newborns can do simple math long before they can speak, and foreign languages are more easily learned in pre-school or primary school than in secondary school.

How the brain is "wired"

"Wiring of the brain" refers to the explosive burst of the connections between the various synapses of the brain cells after birth.  
Synapses are the telephone lines that enable brain cells to communicate. Trillions are formed during the first 2 years of life. It is believed that they are overproduced to guarantee that enough are available to form neural networks for vision, speech, thinking, emotions and other mental capacities.
Some parts of the brain (eg: the visual cortex) are wired rapidly in the first year of life and need little coaxing other than exposure to people, objects and movement to develop.
The auditory cortex, which processes sound, explodes with new connections after birth and maintains this high level of activity until about age 12. Many experts now believe this is the best time for learning music and foreign languages.
The prefrontal cortex, which is involved in processing higher thoughts and motivation, undergoes an initial growth spurt after birth, but it does not appear to be fully developed until early adolescence. This may be the best time to teach such things as calculus.    
The great explosion of synapses after birth enables the brain to learn how to make itself work from the experiences it encounters.
Synapses that are not activated by sounds, touch, sight, smell or taste are discarded.  Nearly half of the connections eventually are pruned away when they are not incorporated into neural networks.

Play — for brain development

Appropriate mental stimulation during this time plays an important role in helping the developing brain reach its potential. But we need to realise what children are able to learn at different ages and not cram them with information they are not ready to handle — especially not by exposing them to TV.
Some of the most important types of stimulation include talking to an infant from birth and reading to the child. The brain also develops through play — something that TV watching deprives children of.   
TV has been reported to bring about the death of spontaneous, imaginative play, which is necessary for the development of neural pathways in early childhood that are required for healthy brain development.  
That is why limited play experience can cause developmental abnormalities which may not be reversible.
This was clearly demonstrated in a study done by Marian Cleeves Diamond, a professor of neuroanatomy at the University of California at Berkeley, who pioneered brain research in this area 30 years ago.    
Diamond studied the brain size of caged rats that were given toys to play with, and compared them with those of rats that were without these stimuli.  
She found that the rats in the "enriched" environment had heavier and larger brains when autopsied and showed the increase nerve branching that allows the cells to communicate better with each other.
An "enriched" environment, says Diamond, is an environment where a child's language skills and creativity are challenged by playing with toys, reading or talking.    
Unconstrained, active play is also important to a child as it provides a release for the natural, effervescent energy of childhood, and is said to help children fine-tune their emotions.

Damaged & delayed speech

ACCORDING to a 10-year study of babies and toddlers by Dr Sally Ward, a leading authority in the US on the speech development of young children, television was a "very important factor" in delaying the speech development in the 1 in 5 children found to have problems.

The study found that the background noise from televisions stop children from learning to talk as early as they should.
 
At 8 months, they neither recognised their names nor basic words like "juice" and "bricks". At 3, they had the language of 2-year-olds.
All the evidence showed, said Dr Ward, that children whose language was below standard at the age of 3 could be set back for life.
 
"They are likely to be educational failures in all sorts of ways. They will go to school with depressed language levels and the whole educational progress is held back."  
Although children may hear new words on a TV show, this is not the same as speaking. A child rarely develops proficiency with speech simply by watching TV or by getting older.  
If they are watching TV, they aren't spending time talking. Children generally start to talk by speaking single words, then progress to short sentences, then to groups of sentences.
A child who spends time watching TV loses the time needed for conversation, and may well find difficulty becoming articulate and fluent, and be less able to speak and write in complete sentences than the child who, it seems "just never stops talking".
Reading to a child, and speaking to a child directly, aid the development of speaking skills.  

Not allowed to think

A CRUCIAL element of thinking is extrapolating from what you know and figuring out how it applies in a new situation. School requires this, TV does not.

A highly active child will remain inactive while watching TV because that is what the medium requires. Both mind and body are passive.  Needless to say, a child is also not allowed to think when watching TV.  
A child who doesn't think doesn't learn. And a child who doesn't learn cannot excel academically.
Kate Moody explains why TV is a thought terminator in the book Growing Up On Television: "The picture on the TV changes every 5 or 6 seconds, either by changing the camera angle or cutting to an entirely new scene. One researcher refers to these events as jolts per minute, noting that as time is cut up, the brain is conditioned to change at the expense of continuity of thought."

Less creative

TELEVISION leaves little scope for the imagination. So says Dr Patti Valkenburg and Dr Tom van de Voort of the Centre of Child Media Studies at Leiden, Holland, who have reviewed all the research carried out over 40 years — with disturbing results.  

The studies they reviewed looked for differences in the creative imagination of children from homes with television compared with those from homes without.
Tests ranging from teachers' assessments to games of "just suppose" were carried out.  Of the 17 studies analysed, covering many hundreds of children aged from 3-16, not one produced evidence that television boosted creativity.  
In contrast, 10 of the studies showed that television was linked with a significant reduction in creative imagination.  
After analysing decades of international research, the two psychologists have failed to find a single study backing the idea that television stimulates children.

Unable to concentrate

RESEARCH done by Jane Holmes Bernstein, a neurologist at Children's Hospital in Boston, found that teachers reported it was significantly more difficult for learning-disabled children who watched television to listen and pay attention for extended periods than it was for their peers who did not watch television.

Research conducted at the US National Institute of Mental Health concludes that extensive exposure to television may promote development of brain systems that scan and shift attention at the expense of those that focus attention.
Such decreased attention span is due to the pacing of the TV programme or movie, which determines that a child will watch one image for 3 seconds, another for 7 seconds, another for 5 seconds, and so on. Since the images change rapidly, so does the shift of the child's attention.
The determined length of a TV programme before a commercial interruption can also condition a child to a "commercial break" attention span. The Wall Street Journal (10 February 1994) relates the experience of professional story teller Odds Bodkin who performs before some 10,000 people a year, most of them children. After about 7 minutes, he says, restlessness sets in as the children's inner clocks anticipate a commercial break.    
A child's internal control of the attention span diminishes as he or she becomes a mere spectator when watching TV. When this happens for, say, 4 hours a day throughout early childhood, the likely outcome is an uncontrolled brain.
This was demonstrated in an experiment by Jennings Bryant, a professor of communications at the University of Alabama.
Bryant exposed pre-schoolers to 4 weeks of Sesame Street, MTV: Music Television and network shows in concentrated doses and found the children who watched MTV more distractible, less vigilant in their tasks, and more aggressive in their play than children who watched the slower-paced shows.
The ability to mentally focus, attain and sustain concentration over a period of time is an internal process developed in early childhood.
A well-developed attention span can develop if we give our children mentally challenging activities on a regular basis.

Disturbed sleep

Besides bestowing children with a short attention span, TV watching can also cause disturbed sleep which further impairs concentration.
A study done at a paediatric sleep disorders clinic at Hasbro Children's Hospital in the US, has found that children who watch a lot of television are more likely to resist going to bed, have trouble sleeping or wake up more.
Lack of sleep could affect your child's alertness and concentration in school and can interfere with the completion of homework assignments. These could in turn, affect your child's grades and ultimately, his or her academic achievement.

Attention Deficit Disorder

THE frenetic pace of television, with its rapidly changing sound and images, may overwhelm the nervous system of some young children and lead to Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) — previously known as Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) — characterised by consistent inattention, hyperactivity and impulsive behaviour, or combinations of these 3 behaviours.

There is enough research to suggest that prohibiting children under 5 from watching too much TV will lessen the chance he or she will develop ADD.
According to Healy, the fast-paced, attention-grabbing "features" of children's programming — eg: rapid zooms and pans, flashes of colour, quick movement in the peripheral (ie side) visual field, and sudden loud noises) deprive a child of practice in using his own brain independently (as in games, hobbies, social interaction or just "fussing around").
Such features were modelled after advertising research, which determined that this technique is the best way to engage the brain's attention involuntarily.
"I have talked to many parents of children diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder who found the difficulty markedly improved after they took away television viewing privileges," she says.

Lowers academic performance

WATCHING a lot of television may make it difficult for children to learn to read, to keep their attention focussed, and do well in school. When children spend hours watching TV, they are not engaging in important learning opportunities such as playing, reading, writing, studying or socializing. 

 
Across the US, teachers are reporting an epidemic of attention deficit disorder, failing academic abilities, language difficulties (which extend to reading comprehension as well as oral expression) and weak problem-solving skills — all of which have been associated with watching TV.   
   
As far back as 1977, warnings have been sounded that television viewing turns children into passive, incommunicative "zombies" who cannot play, cannot create, and cannot even think very clearly.
According to a 1994 report from the US Department of Education, academic achievement drops sharply for children who watch more than 10 hours a week, or an average of 2 hours a day of TV.
A 1980 study by the California Department of Education which studied the TV habits and test scores of half a million children, found that there is a direct correlation between the amount of time a child spends watching TV and their scores on standardized achievement tests — the more TV watched, the lower the scores.

Poor reading ability

"WHEN children commit time looking at TV, they're not spending time reading. When a child reads a novel, he has to self-create whole scenarios, he has to create images of who these people are, what their emotions are, what their tones of voice are, what their environment looks like, what the feeling of this environment is.  

These self-created scenarios are important, and television leaves no room for that creative process… Brains are designed to meet cognitive challenges. It's just like muscles: If you don't exercise them they wither. If you don't exercise brains, they wither."
— Dr Jerre Levy
A bio-psychologist at the University of Chicago, and an authority on the brain's hemispheric development       

ACCORDING to Jane M. Healy, Ph.D., an educational psychologist and author of several books on children and the brain, too much television viewing can lower academic performance, especially reading ability.

Reading requires depth or processing, but a child's "2-minute mind", acquired from too much TV watching can easily become impatient with this effort required in reading.
Watching TV is a one-way communication. The child becomes passive and is not allowed to think and this freezes the brain. On the other hand, when a child responds to the sights, sounds, feelings, smells and tastes around him , new connections called synapses are built in his brain.  
The synapses form pathways that are necessary for reading comprehension, analytical thinking, and sustained attention and problem-solving.   
      
When a young child doesn't have the thinking done for him and the images displayed in front of him, his brain must go to work to create a picture using his imagination. This results in new connections as the brain analyses and solves problems to complete its understanding of a concept. The more work the brain does, the more it becomes capable of doing it.
With TV, a child doesn't imagine much because the images are already there for him or her on the screen. When the time comes to draw upon creative thinking skills in school and other settings, the connections in the brain required for the tasks aren't available. The child has no prior experience for imagining what a scene in history the teacher is describing looks like or what an angry crowd in the scene might sound like.  
The child has to scramble to make sense of what she is hearing from the teacher, but there is no pathway in her brain for coming up with an image to inform understanding.

Stunted language skill

WATCHING television can also lead to poor language skills. According to Healy, the visual nature of television blocks development of the left part of the brain that is important for learning language skills.  

 
A recent conference of speech therapists in London revealed that television restricts and limits children's abilities to speak and understand English.  
According to one therapist, "One in 5 children under the age of 5 suffers language problems because many parents use television as an automatic babysitter."
Language skills are best fostered through reading and active two-way participation in conversations and play activities, not by watching TV.

Math misfits

A 1994 US Department of Education report on plunging academic achievement cites excessive TV watching as one of 3 factors that account of nearly 90% of the difference in the average performance of young school children's mathematics scores.

Another study found that 6th and 12th grade California students who were heavy TV viewers scored lower on math achievement (as well as reading and written expression) tests than students who viewed little or no TV.
 
 

 

More arguments against TV

Excessive TV watching can also lead to a wide range of physical, psychological and social problems. Here are 17 more arguments for the elimination of television.
 
HYPERACTIVITY INDUCER

THERE is mounting evidence that the rapid movements of sounds and images on TV is a major cause of hyperactivity. The worst thing one can do for a hyperactive child is to put him in front of the TV set.

The physical energy which is created by the images, but not used, is stored in the child's body. Then when the TV is switched off, this suppressed energy bursts outward in aimless, random, speedy activity.  
"I have seen it over and over again in children. They are quiet while watching. Then afterwards they become overactive, irritable and frustrated," notes Jerry Mander in Four Arguments For The Elimination Of Television.
In the highly acclaimed book, The Plug-In Drug, Marie Winn refers to the writings of Dr Matthew Dumont (Harvard Medical School) that support this view.
 
Dumont suggests:
  • Hyperactive behaviour in children is related to the rapidly changing TV scenes.
  • The behaviour of the hyperactive child represents an attempt to recapture the flickering quality of television. (Television flickers at an average rate of about once every 3.5 seconds. The average child — ie an American child – in the crucial formative years of birth through age 5 watches over 5,000 hours of TV.  That may be too much for a young child's neurological system.)

EPILEPSY TRIGGER

ACCORDING to some reports, the hypnotic fluttering of coloured spots on vibrating lines that compose a TV screen's picture has a proven damaging effect on the brain.  In severe cases, it has been accused of triggering epileptic seizures in children.

Early discoveries about the biological effects of very minor stimuli by W. Ross Adey and others, and the growing incidence of TV epilepsy among those particularly sensitive to flicker, have shown that whether we consciously note the flicker or not, our bodies react to it.

MORE PASSIVE THAN LYING IN BED

BODY metabolism (and calorie burning) is an average of 14.5% lower when watching TV than when simply lying in bed, says a Memphis State University study.

In another study conducted by the Stanford University School of Medicine (reported in JAMA, 27 October 1999), it was concluded that reducing television use may be a promising population-based approach to prevent childhood obesity.
If your child is too fat for no good genetic reason, it could not only be because of inactivity from sitting in front of the TV, but also because he or she has picked up the wrong dietary habits from advertising that promotes unhealthy food.   
   
"Living with television means growing up in a world of about 22,000 commercials a year, 5,000 of them for food products, more than half of which are for low-nutrition sweets and snacks," says Dr George Gerbner, Dean of the Annenburg School of Communications at the University of Pennsylvania.
Childhood obesity could lead to chronic diseases in adulthood, like heart disease and high blood pressure.

POOR RELATIONSHIPS

TV is also a relationship rotter. It not only isolates the child from the environment, but also from family, especially parents.

Parents are the developing brain's first and most important influence. The waking hours babies spend in front of a TV robs them of the time for parent-child interaction and their own playtime — 2 activities crucial for the development of intelligence and imagination.
Too much TV watching can also turn a child into a social misfit as he or she is deprived of interaction with their peers.  
Studies have found that children who watched less TV tend to have more interests and participate in more activities where they can learn to get along with other children (as well as family members).
Studies have also demonstrated that children who watch too much TV become less patient, less settled and less able to appreciate the concept of delayed gratification.

NEARSIGHTEDNESS

WATCHING too much TV can also cause eye fatigue, which might interfere with a child's concentration on schoolwork. That is why eye doctors normally advise against sitting too close to the TV screen.

 
Contrary to popular belief, our eyes are not active during TV viewing. In fact, the eyes move less while watching TV than in any other experience of daily life.   
Although doctors say watching TV does not ruin your eyesight, some researchers have argued that nearsightedness is a "product of civilisation". (TV is one of many products of civilisation.)  
This was illustrated in a study in the late 60s of eyesight among Eskimoes in Barrow, Alaska, who had been introduced to the joys of civilisation around World War 2. The incidence of nearsightedness in those age 56 and above was 0%, in parents aged 30 and above (8%), and in their children (59%).

INCREASED SPENDING

IN The Overspent American, Harvard economist Juliet Schor points out that the more TV a person watches, the more he or she spends.  Her research shows that each additional hour of TV watched per week lead to an additional US$208 (about RM790) of annual spending (for adults). As those surveyed watched 11.5 hours of TV per week, this cost them more than US$2,300 (about RM8,740) a year in unneeded expenditures.

Today's children raised on TV, and influenced by TV advertising, could grow up having unnecessary wants too.     

PROMISCUOUS BEHAVIOUR

THE many messages on TV that promotes alcohol consumption and promiscuous sexual activity are also a cause for concern. American teenagers for example, see an estimated 14,000 sexual references and innuendoes per year on TV, yet only 150 of these references deal with sexual responsibility, abstinence or contraception.

PARENTS, TEACHERS & FRIENDS LOSE TO TV

ACCORDING to a hypothesis, if a pre-schooler watches 3 hours of TV a day, by the time he or she is 18, they would have spent more time in front of the television set than they have spent in school, and far more than they have spent talking with their teachers, their friends or even their parents.

In the US, it has been found that by age 5, youngsters have amassed at least 5,000 hours of TV viewing. That's the equivalent time it takes for an adult to earn a 4-year college degree!
By first grade (equivalent to Std 1 here), most children have spent the equivalent of 3 school years in front of the TV set.
According to an AAP study in 1990, by the time today's child reaches 70, he or she will have spent an approximate 7 years watching TV.

MURDERS IN THE LIVING ROOM

TV teaches children bad values. For example, it contains substantial amounts of "irregular driving" — squealing brakes, speeding, screeching tyres and property damage. In such scenes, death and injury are (unrealistically) infrequent and legal penalties rare.

Parents wouldn't invite a stranger into their home to demonstrate an actual murder, but for many youngsters, the terror on the screen might as well be taking place in their living room. As most young children have difficulty distinguishing reality from fantasy, this might affect them psychologically.
Violence on TV doesn't teach children about the world. In fact, TV actually has 10 times as much violence as real life.
 
Even cartoons can be harmful.  Statistics show that most cartoons have between 25 and 100 acts of violence in one episode. (One study has found that children who watched more cartoons were rated by their teachers as "unenthusiastic about learning".)
 
Almost 70% of the programmes developed for children contain incidents about human injury or killing.

INJURY HAZARD

A UNIVERSITY of Alabama study in 1998 has found 73 incidents of TV falling on children, of which 28 died. The research covering data from 1990 to 1997, showed the injured children — newborns to 11-year-olds — commonly suffered a blow to the head.

Such accidents happen because young children tend to climb up the stand to reach the TV set — because they are attracted by the colours and sounds.

TV post-mortem

  • Ban for children under 2American Academy of Pediatrics
  • Less than 1 hour a day of TV for very young children; 2 hours or less a day for early school-aged children Canadian Pediatric Society
  • No TV for children at all until age 5LimiTV, a non-profit North Carolina corporation that educates parents, teachers and children about the harm of excessive TV watching.
  • "No television" policy among parents of children under 12Recommendation by specialists in remedial teaching
  • TOTAL BAN for everyone — Jerry Mander, author of Four Arguments For The Elimination Of Television