The Influence of the Telly: 10 Effects of Television on Children

Many children sit in front of the television daily. Especially starting at age four, watching TV gains a lot of importance, replaces books and becomes the number one entertainment source. This worries a lot of parents – but is television really that bad? We’ve got the answer in 5 positive and negative effects of television at a glance.

5 Positive Effects of Television

Watching TV isn’t fundamentally bad. With carefully selected channels and programs, the telly can be a positive influence on children’s development.

1. New knowledge

There aren’t very many! Nevertheless, there are some TV programmes and channels which create educational and informative content for children. Some examples are classics such as Sesame Street or The Show With The Mouse in Germany. Such programmes are explicitly geared towards toddlers and preschool-aged children, and focus on pedagogically valuable topics.

Other programmes offer topics such as history, geography, art, the industrial and manual arts, science and mathematics. They expand a child’s horizons, teach them new things and offer children an interesting look in the great achievements of this world.

Tip: Television is also good for learning languages. For example, your child can learn and practice vocabulary, pronunciation and listening comprehension skills through films and series.

2. The best entertainment

Television is pure entertainment. The sound effects and colourful pictures fascinate children, put them immediately under a spell and demand complete attention. There’s virtually no better way to keep kids busy.

Whether it’s an animated series or films is not important for most children. But be sure that the content is age-appropriate for your child.

3. Enthusiasm for sport

Whether it’s football, basketball or track and field: television can increase your child’s interest in athletic activities – and encourage children to be active and to live healthily.

When your child watches sport on the TV next time, sit with them. Explain the rules of the game and other interesting facts about the types of sport being watched – and when your child shows interest, try-outs are the next step!

4. Foreign cultures

Want to take a trip around the world? You can do that with the television – without even leaving the house. You can lead your child to different countries and dive into foreign cultures.

With the right programmes, your child will learn more about other people, faraway lands, traditions, and lifestyles. That can also teach values such as tolerance and openness to foreign people and cultures.

5. Inspiration

TV programmes for children are not just educational. Some programmes are also inspiring and encourage children to try out new things. This is how a programme about creative arts and crafts can inspire children to try something new with paints and paper.

Similarly, documentaries about famous scientists, artists or celebrities can encourage children to strive for great achievements in life. Sometimes a little spark of inspiration is all that children need.

5 Negative Effects of Television

Naturally, television can also influence children negatively. Your worries about your child sitting in front of the TV are not unfounded. The negative effects of television seem to outweigh the benefits.

1. Lack of exercise

The term “couch potato” probably exists since television took over family rooms. Too much time in front of the telly leads to a lack of exercise which can stunt a child’s physical development.

This can lead to a whole other host of problems. Studies have shown, for example, that there’s a direct correlation in children between time spent watching television and obesity.

2. Social development

Who needs friends when there’s TV? Too much time in front of the telly robs children of time to play or make human connections – children who watch a lot of TV are often not interested in those things at all.

Little or no interaction with people the same age can be fatal for children. They don’t learn to feel well in their social environment and fail to obtain knowledge about social interactions and behavioural patterns. That can stunt children’s social development.

3. Brain development

Television can be educational. But too much TV stunts brain development in children. The first few years in your child’s life are particularly important for their brain. Therefore, young children and toddlers should not watch television before the age of three.

Scientists in Japan have discovered that too much television can change the structure of the brain. A study at the Johns Hopkins University in the United States has shown that toddlers who watch more than two hours of television per day are susceptible to behavioural problems.

4. Lack of focus

Children who spend two or more hours per day in front of the TV often struggle with concentration problems. This leads to more than just school performance. These children are also at a larger risk for contracting ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder).

5. Sex, Violence & Co.

Controlling how your child consumes television is difficult. Violence plays an important role even in “child-friendly” superhero films – and children can get the impression that violence isn’t bad.

An early dispute with such topics can confuse children. Films and TV series can also lead to a distorted view of sex, violence and similar themes – for example, when violence is constantly presented as “cool” or “okay”.


It’s recommended to only consume television in moderation. Whoever lets their child constantly sit in front of the television is taking a big risk – and is doing the opposite of a favour for their children. That being said, television can also support your child with learning and discovering the world. Therefore, limit the number of hours they spend watching TV and make sure that they’re watching valuable and age-appropriate programmes or films.


Daniel, Product Manager

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2 Children, Boy (5 years), Girl (3 years)
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Why do you like working for small foot?
Because we get to work with the best stuff on earth, and everyone on the team can bring in their own thoughts, ideas, and experiences to each product. A good product can only be made with this kind of diversity.

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