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by Karina Putri (120912103) English Department, Faculty of Humanities, Airlangga University


Television is one the most influential media in this global era. Its existence, of course, brings great effects, both positives and negatives, to the society, especially to its most innocence members children. The aim of this study is to find out more about the bad effects of watching television to children. The method used to collect data is direct observation to 40 children whose age are between 4-10 years old that live in kampung Sawahan Baru, Surabaya, while the method used to analyze data is qualitative approach. There are some media theories such as Cultivation Theory, Social Action Theory, Media Dependency Theory, and Agenda Setting Theory used in order to strengthen the data analysis. The result of the study shows that watching television really has bad effects to the children, including the physical effects, social effects and academic effects. To conclude, as we can see that television brings great bad effect to children, television viewing should be limited. The ones that responsible for doing this action are the parents. Parents should take strict action in order to limit the impact of television as much as possible, so that children are free from those harmful effects.

Keywords: television, bad effects, children, watching TV, Surabaya

INTRODUCTION We are living in a world of science which is creating wonders for us. Television is accepted as a great scientific invention of this era. What it has contributed to society today would have appeared to be a fairy tale for our ancestors. Since we had television, the universe seemed to be smaller: information from every part of this universe could be informed through out the world in just a moment. Nobody can deny this fact. Television has successfully attracted people from all age, social status, and nations to stand in front of it for hours. It never sleeps, from dawn to day to night and back to dawn again, it continuously provides us

many of its programs (informational, educational, entertainment, etc) which brought many advantages and positive effects to our life. The optimistic view above could not be absolutely true. Some researchers said that television is bad and has more negative influence (than the positive ones) especially for children. Studies by George Gerbner, at the University of Pennsylvania, have shown that children's television shows contain about 20 violent acts each hour. They also showed that children who watch a lot of television are more likely to think that the world is a mean and dangerous place. Another studies done by Huesmann have shown that young girls who often watched shows featuring aggressive heroines e.g. Charlies Angels, Wonder Woman, The Bionic Woman, etc in the 1970s, have grown up to be more aggressive adults involved in more confrontations, shoving matches, choking and knife fights than women who had watched few or none of these shows. There are also still so many negative effects of watching TV that has not been explained yet, thats why this paper exists: to find out more about the negative effect of watching television toward children. This paper presents the result of a study of the bad effects of watching television to children in a kampung in Surabaya including the physical effects, social effects and academic effects.

METHODS This study makes 40 people (children) that live in Sawahan Baru, Surabaya whose ages are between 4 - 10 years old as its object. The limitation of taking sample on certain circumstance is applied in order to gain more accurate data and to avoid the widespread study. Data and information are collected through daily observation to the object and the family. The research approach or technique of data analysis that is used in this study is qualitative approach.

Qualitative approach is designed to provide researcher with the perspective of target audience members through immersion in a culture or situation and direct interaction with people under study, include observation, focus, and groups. The hypothesis is generated during the writer collecting and analyzing the data. In this paradigm, researcher becomes the instrument of data collection. And the result may vary greatly depending upon who conduct the research (Weinereich).

THEORIES Here are some theories used in this study to strengthen the data analysis: Cultivation Theory (Gerbner, 1973). Cultivation theory focuses on the long-term effects of media consumption and posits that eventually, depictions of various cultural elements influence a viewer's perception of them in the real world. The implication is that consumers are taught how to think about the world through depictions in the media. A particularly vivid example is "mean world syndrome," which is a consumer being convinced that the world is more dangerous or deadly than it may actually be due to constant bombardment of violent content in the media. Social Action Theory (Anderson & Meyer). Social action theory is a rejection of the magic bullet theory, with the assumption that audiences are anything but passive or blindly accepting, but use their own interpretations of implicit messages within media to form their views and influence their actions. This is similar to the magic bullet theory, except that it contains the understanding that people understand, react to and interpret symbols and other figurative constructs. Media Dependency Theory (Ball-Rokeach & DeFluer). Media dependency theory begins with the assumption that people use media for personal needs: the need for

information, the need for personal reflection, the need for social interaction or the need for entertainment. While media can supplement these needs and provide them to some degree, many theorists believe that it is harmful to individuals to rely on media for these complex and important needs, as it results in a manipulated intellectual diet. Agenda Setting Theory (McCombs & Shaw). Agenda setting theory follows from study of news media, in particular. Its main thrust is that media outlets create context for the tone and content of conversations about issues and events in various ways. This is not just limited to the way news is reported, but by what news sources choose to report on. Focusing viewer's attention on one or a few issues is the way media controls discussion.

RESULT AND DISCUSSION Children who live in Sawahan Baru and watch TV more than six hours in a day shared at least these three same bad effects of: Physical Effects Almost half of the children in Sawahan Baru are overweight, some of them nearly to obesity. From the observation done for this study, the children are more likely to stay at home doing nothing except watching television. Being glued to the television screen makes the child obese. Furthermore, children tend to consume snacks while watching the television. The basal metabolic rate drops considerably since the child is inactive. In about fifteen percents of the children has problem with their eyes. One of them, a five years old girl, should wear eyeglasses to get clear sight. This poor eyesight problem is mainly because of the artificial light or radiation emitted from the television screens and the uncontrolled watching distance (too close). More than a quarter of the children do not get adequate sleep: a six years old girl can still awake until 11pm. This condition makes them tired and irritable during the day, which

affects schoolwork and life in general. Stay up late at night to watch TV seems to be the main factor, but exceed imagination or nightmares that occur after watching TV also have contribution to this problem. Social Effects Television is not only a media that inform, educate, and entertain people but also a media in which children learn about gender roles and stereotypes (children, with their innocence, tend to imitate what they seen on TV). Consider about violence, sexual, racism, and other actions that should not be watched by children are relied on TV and watched by children without supervision from older people (parents), what would be happen to the children? Here are some social problems occurred because of the imitation process: Almost three quarter of the children behave badly. Bad behaviours in this case including rude in words, disrespectful to other people, etc. Almost half of the children act violent. They are involved in fighting, act like a gangster, treat their weaker friends badly, etc. Some of the children sexually mature before the time. They learn sexual behaviour and attitudes from TV as well: the girls like to dress up like a mature woman; they talk about dating and kissing, etc. Beside, the passivity of watching television could lead to lack of social interaction with other people (outside their circumstances). The lack of social interaction make children can not develop their selves and may lead to other problems such as less confident, crowd phobia, excessive nervous, etc. This condition is also happened to some of the children in Sawahan Baru: instead of playing outside with friends, they prefer to stay at home; they often cry if they are told to do something connecting/interacting with other people (outside their families). Academic Effects

Cartoons, quizzes, drama series and other programs are relied in all television channels for 24 hours. Those varieties of programs and the full day broadcasts make children ignore their responsibilities of studying and doing homework. They also make some brain development activities such as reading a book or solving a problem seems boring. Many children today spend so much time watching television that there is no time left over in the evening for studying. This bad habit can carry over to academic problems in school. This study proved it: almost three quarter of the children finding difficulties in class, most of them are not good academically (do not have academic achievements), and three of the children ever left classes.

CONCLUSSION As we can see that television brings great bad effect to children, television viewing should be limited. The ones that responsible for doing this action are the parents. Parents should take strict action so they can limit the negative impact of television as much as possible. They should set rules as to what should be watched and what should be avoided. They also need to remember "the rule of the real": that real life is always more powerful. A real conversation is always better for children than watching one on television. Parents don't need to go to the extreme of keeping their children from watching television completely; they just have to keep in mind moderation and attention is best. Alternative to television should be provided, for example if a parent starts spending more time with the child, reads books with him or her, indulge in creative games and indoor crafts, there is every possibility that the child will start shunning television for the better means of entertainment provided.