Breaking down of the TV
When the TV of one family broke down, the mother wrote to a newspaper:
“The life pattern of my two children, seven- and five-year-old boys, has since shown a remarkable change. Before the TV broke, my boys watched TV only after dinner. They never listened to my suggestions to read books. But now that the TV is broken, they are quite eager to read books.”
Another parent shares a similar experience when the TV broke down and was not soon replaced:
“At first my children were lost. What should they do with their time? Gradually, however, other activities took over. We began to play family games together, and reading picked up. Family conversations became more frequent and prolonged, with an exchange of opinions and feelings, and more time seemed to be spent in outdoor activities"
But truly parents do not have to wait until the TV is down to effect meaningful changes to children's TV viewing. Parents have a solemn obligation to monitor the TV viewing habits of their children. Usually parents will be very firm with kids on matters that may endanger their children's life.
For, example no parent would allow their children to play with fire, as they are aware of the consequences. However this same parent will give their kids inhibited admittance to the TV. But why is this the case? More often than not it is because the TV works for them as more effective babysitter, allowing them to attend to other matters. Others however have no freeness of speech in this area because they are also yet to set a good example in this matter.
But do not mistake me; television can have some instructing, informative and entertaining benefit. But it can also have a corrupting influence on children’s behavior. Negative attitudes that can develop are aggression, vehemence and moral breakdown. In fact the newspaper El Universal reports that “Cartoons and video games influence the behavior of 6- to 12-year-old children more than school, since they spend up to 38 hours a week watching TV as opposed to 23 hours in the classroom”.
Another researcher Omar Torreblanca made this observation, “kids apply in their daily life what they learn every day from TV but not what they learn at school, since they consider school as just an obligation.” For example, a South African newspaper reported that once Shaka Zulu, a television series hit the screen it caused the spear and shield to be revered by South Africa’s youths.
It said that “Both black and white boys—and girls—are crazy with the new game” of acting out the TV series Shaka Zulu. How? “Groups of young boys and girls ‘attack’ each other with make-do spears and cardboard shields the same way the actors do.” The result is a growing list of injured people. Regarding the effects of TV violence on today’s youths, one official noted: “As they grow to adulthood they will have been trained to be society’s Shakas and Rambos.”Therefore, it cannot be denied that TV has a major influence in children lives. That is why it is prudent to keep their TV under control so that it does not affect them negatively.
Some questions a parent can ask themselves about what their children are viewing are:
(a) Is the program suitable for my children’s age?
(b) Does the program show constructive ways of resolving conflict or challenges?
(c) Does the program portray human relationship between opposite sex and families in a positive light?
(d) Does the program encourage constructive ideas and improve the quality of their character?
These questions can greatly assist parents determine what is most suitable for their children viewing. In order for you to have control over this matter then it would not be wise to let children have TV’s in their rooms as kids cannot yet effectively determine what is best for themselves. However, parents do well, not only to control their children’s TV viewing, but also to make effort to replace it with up building activities. For example, reading to them interesting and educative stories. This can done even before are of they are of school going age.
The earlier such program is introduced, the easier it will be adopted and have a more lasting impact on their young minds. Organize trips to the parks, regular family outings which children can enjoy and learn. This will make withdrawal symptoms of less TV viewing less painful, contribute to better mental development, health, and improve ability to interact with other children.