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In this digital age, it is observable that children nowadays are highly exposed to mass media and technology. This typically includes television programmes, games on smartphones, iPads, gaming devices and even social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram.
It is indeed true that mass media and technology does bring about tangible benefits for children such as providing entertainment, boosting academic performance with educational content, improves language proficiency and opens a gateway for children to learn about the world and social issues.
However, it is imperative for parents to be aware that along with these benefits comes many adverse effects as well, which may include any of the following: poor development of social skills, limiting learning capacity, instigating violent behaviour, imposing beauty ideals and even potentially causing obesity and vision complications.
As such, this write up will seek to thoroughly explain how these adverse impacts manifest and how parents can safeguard their children from such negative effects.
Potential adverse impacts of excessive exposure to technology and mass media
Poor development of social skills
It is undeniable that social skills remain one of the most important skill sets for any individual. This typically refers to one’s ability to communicate effectively, confidently and comfortably with others. Social skills are one of the most indispensable and crucial elements for one to possess throughout their childhood and adulthood. We require it in different social settings such as being in school, at the workplace, meeting a client or simply interacting with family members and friends. There is a concern however, that overexposure to technology and media from a young age may impede a children’s development of his/her social skills. How does this happen?
Firstly, when a child spends a significant amount of time on digital devices, watching TV or browsing social media, he/she will start to regard technological use as their primary source of entertainment instead of interacting with other children at the playground. Technology is able to provide so much entertainment to children such that they no longer feel the need to interact physically with others for leisure. This can manifest in an unhealthy daily routine, where the child starts to become withdrawn, rarely socialises with others and spends a huge bulk of his/her time on digital entertainment. The child lacks opportunities for communication and is unable to properly hone his/her social skills at this developmental stage. Not to mention, this undesirable behaviour may adversely affect the child’s relationship with his/her family and peers.
Genesis Childcare 1989 (Childcare in Tampines) provides guidance to parents on how to limit their child’s technological usage and properly nurture his/her social skills. Click here to find out how a childcare can affect a child's social skills.
Limits learning capacity
While it holds true that the many children television programmes and youtube videos are educational in nature and have the capability to provide rich learning opportunities (think Sesame Street and Blue’s Clues), there are also plenty of other programmes/content that are more ‘entertainment-based’ and less educational, i.e. SpongeBob Squarepants, Phineas and Ferb, Power Rangers etc.
Overexposure to online content that is primarily ‘entertainment-based’ can run the risk of affecting your child’s learning capacity. How so?
Firstly, during a child’s formative years (0-8 years old), he/she primarily learns through real-life, physical experiences - by touching and feeling things, observing and visually studying objects and even interacting with others. However, if a child spends much of his/her time on technological devices, he/she would be deprived of such experiential learning opportunities, ultimately limiting their learning capacity. In addition, excessive technological exposure for a child may serve as a major distraction from his/her studies, inducing ‘lazy’ and sedentary behavior. Studies have also shown that watching too much television can increase a child’s risk of developing ADHD and their ability to focus during studies (Romita, 2019). We understand that given the hectic work schedules of many working parents these days, it can be challenging to control and keep track of a child’s technology/media consumption.
Parents can rest assured that at our Tampines childcare, their child will be exposed to interactive games that stimulate critical thinking and interest in learning. Curriculums are specially curated to boost each child’s learning capacity to the fullest.
Genesis Tampines Childcare 1989 is Singapore's leading preschool and childcare Tampines. Our Preschool Tampines have over 30 years of experience in nurturing thousands of infants, toddlers and preschoolers. At our Tampines Childcare, we advocate that every child is unique and precious who needs to be loved and cherished.
Violent TV programmes may instigate violent behaviour in children
Studies have shown that violence depicted in mass media can potentially cause violent behaviour in children. This is because children are often too young to decipher right from wrong when viewing media content and lack reasoning competencies to make a judgement. Children also tend to imitate what they see in the media in real life. Let’s take a look at the recent phenomenally popular series - The Squid Game. It skyrocketed to a global hit and the series is well loved by families and viewers of different age groups. While a mere fancy to the series may seem innocent, a closer observation of the highly violent, gory and disturbing scenes of the film series raises concern on the potential adverse effects it can have on young viewers. Notable depictions include themes of suicide, murder, violent deaths, shootings, betrayal, exploitation and self-centeredness. The specific scenes of the conspiracy amongst the organization’s employees to harvest human organs from casualties for profit is clearly inappropriate for young viewers for its gore and blatant disregard for human dignity. Other highly popular blockbusters like the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) films, Jurassic Park film series and even Japanese anime films like Clash of the Titans do depict elements of violence that may be inappropriate for children. It is not always easy to foreshadow media violence in films. While it may not come as a surprise that movies like Jurassic Park or The Purge would contain violent elements, media violence may manifest more insidiously in other TV programmes. Happy Tree Friends is an apt example. At first glance, this children's TV programme appears to be cute, light hearted and child friendly. However, if parents spend a little more time sitting down with their child to spend another 8 mins into each episode, they will realize that each episode typically ends in a gory and disturbing twist, usually depicting the violent deaths of its characters - content that is not suited for kids. Media violence can also manifest in other forms such as video games, which are highly popular amongst children. Examples of violent video games include Grand Theft Auto (GTA), Friday the 13th, Resident Evil and Call of Duty (COD). As such, it is imperative for parents to monitor and control the type of media content their children are exposed to. Here at Genesis childcare 1989 (Childcare tampines), we offer tips to parents on how to effectively manage their children’s media consumption and educate the children on deciphering between right and wrong.
Imposing unrealistic beauty standards on young children
TV programmes often impose unrealistic beauty ideals on young children through the portrayal of its main characters. Disney princesses, well loved by young girls all across the globe, are often portrayed as slim figured, pretty faced characters with doll-like features. The phenomenally popular Barbie is always portrayed as a white blonde with unrealistic body proportions, instigating young girls to become self conscious of their skin color and body. Within this decade, it is observable that Korean-Pop (Kpop) music has taken the world by storm, some labeling this phenomena the Korean (Hallyu) wave. Once again, Korean girl groups members are always portrayed as slim, light skinned, picture perfect features, along with thick makeup and a specific fashion style. As Kpop becomes increasingly popular among a younger audience (children), there rises the concern that such pop culture may cause young girls to become increasingly unconfident of their self image and feel pressured to look a certain way to be considered ‘beautiful’. What is often less talked about is how Kpop idols undergo highly strict diets and regimes just to achieve the ‘ideal figure’ as portrayed on screen. Young boys are also not spared from the pressure of the media’s beauty standards, where superheroes like Superman, Batman, Captain America and Aquaman are all portrayed as tall, handsome and chiseled looking men in both comics and live action movies, insinuating that it is essential to possess these traits to be considered ‘desirable’ and to be ‘idolised’ by others. Hence, with the immense pressure children face today to look a certain way, it is imperative for parents to educate children on being comfortable in their own skin and realising that beauty is diversified and comes in many forms other than what is portrayed in the media.
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There are also multiple health implications that excessive screen time may impose on children. The first would be the increased risk of contracting myopia - a visual impairment where one can see nearby objects clearly but his/her vision of objects further away are blurry (Mayo Clinic, n,d). Studies have shown that excessive smartphone usage imposes a 30% higher risk of contracting myopia and when combined with high computer usage, this risk increases to 80% (Anglia Ruskin University, 2021). In addition, too much screen time and media exposure can also raise a child’s risk of becoming obese. This can manifest in two ways. Firstly, when children become addicted to technological devices like TV and video games, there is a tendency for them to have a sedentary daily routine, where they spend much of their time with digital devices instead of running around at the playground or engaging in sports. Hence, the lack of physical exercise for these children cause them to gradually become obese, which then gives rise to the risk of contracting cardiovascular illnesses such as heart problems. Next, it is evident that broadcasted media today is flooded with advertisements. Children's TV channels often feature fast food adverts like Mcdonalds or KFC and even candies/chocolates. These food advertisements may stimulate young viewers to consume more of such foods, which once again, can lead to obesity overtime. Here at Genesis childcare 1989 (Tampines Preschool), we provide guidance to parents on safeguarding their child’s health. We also guide the preschoolers on cultivating good media consumption and eating habits, as well as preparing healthy and nutritious meals for them.
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Guidance tips on effectively managing your child’s exposure to technology & mass media
With the potential adverse impacts of technological devices and mass media on children, it is indeed crucial for parents to keep track of and control their child’s screen time and mass media consumption. The following are some guidance tips for parents to effectively cultivate healthy media consumption habits for their child.
Setting Limits on Screen Time for Children
Parents need to establish limits on the amount of screentime for their children. According to The American Academy of Pediatrics, children under the age of 2 should avoid media consumption and preschoolers and school aged children from the age range of 2-12 should be limited to no more than 1-2 hours of screen time per day (Healthy Children.org, n.d). On weekends, the limit can be increased slightly to 3 hrs. This will ensure that the children will be able to reap the benefits of media consumption without exceeding unhealthy limits and suffering from the negative effects. An effective way to enforce this limit is to create a schedule for the child and to stick to it, where the child is only allowed to watch TV or play games within a specific timeframe, such as after lunch or dinner. Under the circumstance that both parents are working, they will have to entrust this role to their domestic helper (if any) or the child’s caretaker.
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No using of technological devices during meal times and social gatherings
It is imperative for parents not to allow their child to develop an undesirable habit of having their eyes glued onto their smartphones or iPads during meal times at home, at a restaurant or even social gatherings amongst family and friends. These occasions are meant for family and friends to interact closely, foster closer bonds and nurture relationships. As such, parents must ensure that their child communicates and actively interacts with others during these occasions instead of using their digital devices and being in their ‘own world’. Doing so will not only provide ample opportunities for a child to develop communication and social skills, but also educate him on the importance of nurturing relationships and forging close bonds with others. The right way to enforce this practice is not to simply just confiscate the child’s digital devices during such an occasion without any explanation, but to patiently and gently explain to him/her your rationale for doing so - the need for communicating with others and expressing basic respect and courtesy to the other parties involved.
Choosing the right TV shows/films for children
Parents need to ensure that their children are exposed to only age appropriate media content. The best way to go about is to be observant of the TV programmes/films' age ratings. Films with ratings from G to PG 13 are considered acceptable for children to watch with parental guidance given where necessary. On the other hand, children should not be allowed to watch films with the following age ratings: NC16, M18 and R21. In addition, parents should introduce their children to movies that teach viewers good morals. An example would be the highly popular animated movie Zootopia. More than just a family friendly film featuring cute animal characters, the movie educates and encourages young viewers to challenge societal stereotypes, pursue one’s dreams and stand up for what is right. The Pixar movie ‘UP’ also educates viewers to let go of past grievances and move on, and open one’s heart to new people that cross paths with us in spite of bad past experiences with specific individuals.
Encouraging your child to participate in outdoor activities
Be it engaging in sports like soccer or badminton or simply taking a walk in the park, parents should encourage their children to visit the outdoors more frequently instead of cooping up at home watching television or playing video games. It is necessary for parents to ensure that their children do not regard technology as their primary source of entertainment and engage in more physical activities as a form of leisure. Outdoor activities will also bring multiple benefits for your child. Firstly, physical exercise benefits your child’s overall health, where cardio activities can strengthen the heart, maintain a healthy weight and boost the immune system (Healthline, n.d). In addition, physical exercise and exposure to nature also helps your child unwind and relax, which helps improve overall mental health. Lastly ,physical activities like sports and team games like catching and hide and seek provide interaction and socialization opportunities, which will help your child hone his/her communication and people skills. These skills will continue to remain important and relevant well into adulthood.
Keeping the TV set away from the bedroom
It is not a good idea to place the television set in your child’s bedroom for two reasons. Firstly, doing so will make it challenging for parents to monitor both the amount of screen time their child is exposed to and the type of TV programmes they are watching - whether they are appropriate or not. The child may become more ‘daring’ in his/her media consumption, delving into content that could be more violent or even sexually explicit. The second reason not to place the television set in the bedroom is because it can lead to the child developing a “couch potato’, lazy-like behavior, where he/she spends hours watching television while lying comfortably on their bed. This unhealthy habit ultimately leads to the child becoming sedentary and being exposed to excessive screen time. It is best to place the television set in a common area such as the living room, where parents are able to monitor the content being watched.
Genesis Childcare 1989, a leading Tampines Preschool and childcare Tampines, advocates that every child is unique and precious who needs to be loved and cherished. In our Tampines childcare, we have developed a curriculum which provides a bilingual learning experience, helps the children to learn the necessary skills and knowledge needed to help them successfully transit to Primary School with ease.
Educating your children
With regards to unrealistic beauty standards imposed on children through the media, it is imperative for parents to educate their children on the realities of the situation. This may include for example, explaining to their child that Barbie’s figure is ‘not realistic’ and not comparable to real life people. Another important aspect would be to educate children to be comfortable in their own skin and realise that beauty comes in all shapes, sizes and colours and one must appreciate themselves for who they are and be proud of the uniqueness tied to every individual. It is crucial that children develop a strong foundation of self love and confidence as they enter into their teenage years, given that the latter is the period where youths start to become subjected to peer pressure and increasingly self-conscious of their image. In addition, under the circumstance that their children may be exposed to mild violence on TV, parents need to let their children be aware that this behaviour is wrong and should not be emulated.
To conclude, given the widespread adoption of technology today and how it has become almost an indispensable part of our lives, it may seem almost impossible and impractical for children to completely abstain from technology. As such, the key is to keep screen time and media exposure within an optimal level, such that children will be able to reap the educational benefits of technology but yet be safeguarded from the negative repercussions of excessive usage. By following the guidance tips listed above, parents should be able to effectively help their child navigate safely through the world of technology and mass media. At Genesis Childcare 1989 (Childcare Tampines), we strive to provide opportunities for the children to engage in physical based, educational opportunities, with the understanding that they may be spending more screen time at home. With a wealth of experience in nurturing children, Genesis Childcare 1989 is also able to gladly provide guidance to parents on managing their child’s exposure to technology and media. With the right guidance, it is possible for children to grow alongside technology in a haiku and healthy manner..
Romita. P. (2019, November 16).Impact of Television (TV) on Children – Positive and Negative Effects. Retrieved from
Mayo Clinic (n.d).Nearsightedness. Retrieved from
Anglia Ruskin University. (2021, October 7).Screen time linked to risk of myopia in young people. Retrieved from
Healthy Children.org. (n,d).Ages & Stages. Retrieved from
Healthline (n.d).What Are the Benefits of Aerobic Exercise?. Retrieved from
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Genesis Tampines Childcare 1989 is one of the best preschool and childcare in Tampines. With over 30 years of experience in nurturing thousands of infants, toddlers and preschoolers, our Tampines childcare advocates that every child is unique and precious who needs to be loved and cherished.
Located alongside our childcare in Tampines is our Nurture Infant House. If you are looking for Tampines infant care or infant care in Tampines, do check out Nurture Infant House, an infant care centre that provides premium care to infants aged 2 months to 18 months old.
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