Movies and television are often accused of affecting young people adversely. Thus some people conclude that the negative effects of entertainment media far outweigh the benefits. I disagree.
Admittedly, entertainment media has had certain negative effects on children. Increasing scenes of violence and pornography have caused imitation among teenagers. Since teenagers are particularly impressionable at that age, anything they are exposed to could seriously impacts their perception of reality. According to a recent survey conducted by the Chinese Adolescent Delinquency Association, after polling hundreds of young criminals aged 12 to18, most respondents claimed that they copied violent behavior learned from television shows or movies. Thus, to some extent, TV and movies are responsible for the problematic behavior of some teenagers.
However, television and movies also benefit children. For one thing, educational TV programs and documentaries are instrumental in teaching children in an interesting way. Unlike textbooks and ordinary class activities, movies provide can teach children about subjects in different and more interactive ways. Take my sister for example. She is majoring in zoology. According to her, watching the Discovery Channel as a little girl first made her interested in nature and animals. The Discovery Channel's vivid pictures and lively footage helped her gain more knowledge about a variety of rare species and learn to appreciate the beauty of wildlife. Without the aid of television, the tedious description from textbooks would have hardly aroused any interest in my sister when she was young.
In addition, movies and television shows provide young people with a temporary escape from their stressful lives, full of studying. Entertainment movies can inspire creative thinking in children and teach them important values in an interesting way. By seeing flying cars in the Matrix, children can think more about future innovations in technology. Seeing martial arts in Kung Fu Panda has even made children more interested in the traditional art and history of China. From the Harry Potter series, children learn the importance of courage and friendship.
All in all, despite a few isolated cases of negative influence, I believe that the overall impact of television and movies is positive.