By – Andrew Mejire Etoh
In today’s world children and adults have unprecedented access to media and technology content across various platforms ranging from internet, social media and television media. As technology continues to evolve, accessibility becomes a lot easier. Children and even adults are drawn to and even addicted to either TV, mobile smart phones, I pads or tablets so you can imagine the proportion of local and international contents and feeds they access on the hour. A few days back I had to babysit my neighbours 9 and 7 year old kids for a couple of hours, I imagined I could engage them with some friendly animations but they seemed unimpressed, the older one looked at me and asked, “uncle don’t you have any other thing to watch?” “Like what?” I asked curiously “Big Brother Naija” I was stunned
What could these little ones possibly want to see the TV reality show rated 18, so I pressed on “why do you enjoy Big Brother Naija? It’s not for kids” they both looked at each other and gave that all too familiar smirkish smile and I instantly knew they were already exposed to the adult activity that aired on the show. Co incidentally, the show was on display on TV in a barbing salon I went to that evening, and as you can imagine, every one (except me) had their eyes glued to the TV (I found it cute but strangely annoying) someone finally said, “I don’t understand the purpose of this show? It has nothing educative, no moral lesson what so ever” I reckon it’s just entertainment, so far they keep their ratings high, I had seen many comments about the show on social media either glorifying it or slamming it as glorified pornography. The point is exposure to educational or non educational on screen content greatly affects children’s learning and development. Research shows children and even adults pick up and learn a lot faster through visual stimulation. Children pick up habits, languages, slangs or behavior from on screen TV with explicit content. Studies also show, media exposure can greatly displace reading habit; children and even adults who watch more television tend to read less. Too much television and exposure to inappropriate content can be very detrimental to both children and adults. Researchers are on going on the effective approaches to infusing learning into television and digital programming. The exposure to the appropriate TV content with the right amount of TV hours can enhance learning especially when the characters and engaging and decently compelling so kids are motivated and learn and adults can be inspired as well and not just entertained.