Children are influenced by whatever they happen to see, hear or experience. Television is a medium that many children experience long before their first day of school. As such it is safe to assume that television does play a very influential role in children's lives.
Whether this is a positive or a negative influence lies solely in the hands of those who allow children to watch television. When television was first invented and then brought into the homes of consumers it was an oddity that stood little to no chance of becoming an influence in children's lives. Parents more often than not had no need to monitor their children's television time as the act of watching TV was typically a family pastime and was limited both by a lack of available programming and by other varied factors that did not involve the television. Back in the early days of television the influence upon children was almost negligible, as the television was more of an oddity than a luxury, or a necessity.
In more modern times, however, the television has become a far greater influence in the lives of children as the roles within the household have changed. For example, in a household where both parents work outside the home, or one parent remains home while the other goes to work, children are often set in front of the television as a means of keeping them occupied. While this is typically out of necessity, it is a practice that has caused the television to become an indispensable source of influence that children can no longer do without.
The dangers of allowing a child to watch too much television are various in their severity. Common among those dangers is obesity from remaining sedentary for too long, which can lead to chronic health problems. Kids can also develop antisocial behaviors from watching violent programs without supervision. It has even been noted that some children have developed the inability to socialize with others due to long hours spent alone in front of the television.
There are benefits to allowing children to watch television, however. In moderate amounts television can be educational as well as entertaining, and even in some cases inspiring. Movies that teach good morals and ethical behavior can be beneficial. Programs designed for kids can even help them to learn the fundamentals and basics that will aid them in their early years. Many kids' shows today are designed to teach mathematics, English skills, and even foreign language skills in some cases.
Many such programs are also geared towards teaching critical thinking skills that can help children with problem-solving techniques and higher levels of thought. In essence, television has become more kid-friendly throughout the years and is beginning to become a rather useful tool when taken in moderation. While the influence of television can be a wonderful thing it is also recommended by many to limit usage so as to promote better physical, mental, and psychological health among children.