Limitations on Children’s Critical Thinking Discussion Essay


Critical Thinking and the Media How do children’s critical thinking limitations impact their understanding and interpretation of media (all kinds)? Provide specific and original examples.

Effect of Children’s Critical Thinking on Media

Critical thinking is a rational and reflective process that focuses on deciding what an individual believes or does (Ennis, 1985). Consequently, a child finds it hard to engage in the process due to limitations impacting how they view, understand, and interpret information. Firstly, for critical thinking to be effective, a person needs attentiveness; children and adults record their sensory memory the same, but the former are unable to process information fast enough, resulting in attention deficiency and limited control. Consequently, this results in their media consumption being reduced to entertainment, with them choosing colourful, fun environments and simple phrases that can be repeated to achieve retention without comprehensive understanding. In television, for example, the most successful adverts aimed at children are colourful, repetitive, and contain catchy phrases; when they see other kids play with the toys,  they think that they could enjoy them more given a chance.

Children’s ability to evaluate arguments is ineffective due to limited information processing speed, metacognition, organization strategy, and working memory. Arguably, this affects reasoning, thinking, and learning, influencing children to take everything at face value. These viewer experiences, once incorporated into young minds, are very hard to be uprooted. It is simple for an adult to watch something disturbing or even perverted and still, through critical analysis, make sure that they are not drawn to it; on the other hand, without critical thinking, children succumb to messages and other influences in the media. That’s why adverts, films, and other media are rated to avoid contaminating children’s minds. A child’s brain is also susceptible to suggestion and distortion when recounting eyewitness accounts; research carried out in Quebec showed that when a ban was put in place prohibiting fast food from being advertised, the rate of obese cases in children dropped (Dhar & Baylis, 2011). Children lacking critical thinking skills means that the media they consume should be regulated through the legislature or at home by parents; arguably, this ensures that the kids are not affected negatively by outside forces, as this may prove detrimental to their worldview.


Ennis, R. H. (1985). A logical basis for measuring critical thinking skills. Educational leadership, 43(2), 44-48.

Dhar, T., & Baylis, K. (2011). Fast-food consumption and the ban on advertising targeting children: the Quebec experience. Journal of Marketing Research, 48(5), 799-813.

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