The Benefits of Educational Television
As parents, we hear that we should not let our children watch much television. We hear about how television viewing desensitizes our children to violence, introduces them to sexuality and profanity, encourages a sedentary lifestyle and weight gain, limits and reduces their comfort with social interactions, and does not stimulate their intellect. While all of these can be true, none of them has to be true . . . provided that we carefully select the programs that our children watch and the amount of time that our children are allowed to watch them.
Young children should not view graphic shows of any sort (i.e., medical dramas, racy shows, programs with violence or profanity, etc.). However, educational programs can be very beneficial for children. They can both educate and entertain children. Actually, children watching these programs may be so entertained that they may not even perceive that they are being taught. The shows can foster a healthy curiosity, a love of learning, and teach a variety of mnemonic devices that children can use in a host of other learning opportunities.
Below is a list of quality television programs (some available in re-runs only) and related websites.
- “Growing Up” on Animal Planet
- “Too Cute” on Animal Planet
- “Blue’s Clues” on Nickelodeon
- “Beakman’s World” on The Learning Channel and CBS
- “Sesame Street” on PBS
- “Bill Nye the Science Guy” on PBS
- “Reading Rainbow” on PBS (or, more correctly, “Reading Rainbow 2″ is coming soon)
- “Barney and Friends” on PBS
- “The Electric Company” on PBS
- “How Do They Do It” on Science Channel
Of course, this list is just a sample of the educational television programming available for children. The following television networks (or family of networks) provide a host of other excellent programming as well: Animal Planet, Discovery Channel, Disney Channel, History Channel, Nickelodeon, PBS, Science Channel, and The Learning Channel.
With so many educational programs available, our children should watch and learn for hours on end, right? Well, perhaps not. Because children need variety, physical activity, sun light, social interaction, etc., television viewing (even quality television viewing) should be limited to an hour or 1.5 hours daily.
By carefully selecting the programs that our children watch and the amount of time that our children are allowed to watch them, we can access the benefits of quality television viewing and minimize the risks of television viewing.
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