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One of the not-so-flattering but absolutely apt nickname of the television is “idiot box.” I am not exactly sure why but I can think of several reasons. Foremost in my mind is the fact that it creates idiots out of its viewers – particularly the impressionable young ones.
It is almost unbelievable how much influence that box has on the minds of children today. It has almost become their entire reality, totally erasing the real world from their consciousness.
Come to think of it, children are already watching TV long before they go to school. Nowadays, their first exposure to technology, science or the arts is usually through what they see on television.
But that is not all. Along with the stuff they are exposed to on a daily basis sitting motionless infront of the television, come all sorts of rubbish and scum – violence, sex and materialism.
The effects of TV is dangerous because if kids start watching violent or unsafe stuff from a very young age, the concepts they learn are imbibed at a subliminal level – very hard to unlearn and refute because it is already part of their psyche.
In the earlier days of TV ads, not a lot of advertisements are directly aimed at kids. Now, they have changed the rules of the game. Advertisements are already crafted with young kids in mind as their target audience. Since kids do not have purchasing power on their own, this is synonymous to saying: “Tell your mom and dad to buy this for you. You need this and you’ve got to have it” If that does not help raise a breed of manipulative and materialistic young ones, I don’t know what will.
What is more unbelievable is how majority of parents and child carers rely on TV to baby-sit their wards and charges and how they actually consider it harmless. C’mon, if you are really honest, you will admit to being guilty of this at least once in your life. How many times have we coaxed our kids to stay at home and just “watch TV” when we have somewhere important to go? Or banish them to the family room with the TV on as we entertain our friends in the other reception room? Or, allow them to turn on the TV the moment they get out of bed because it’s the weekend, anyway?
I am not being unrealistic here. Of course, TV is here to stay and it would not be normal to totally deprive our kids of the opportunities to learn from the informative, educational and healthy stuff shown on TV. By all means, they should be exposed because one way or the other, TV will intrude into their lives somehow, anyway.
But we should handle the matter of TV viewing as carefully as we deliberate upon or ponder on the next big investment we are going to make. As parents, let us not take for granted that TV is normally part of life. In the olden days, it wasn’t and they got by fine. At present, there is always that big influence of TV on our kids, but we must do our part to make the experience of it more rewarding and less damaging on the kids.
What I mean is, we should take to heart what kids’ TV shows show on the corner of the screen: Parental Guidance. We must make sure that there are guidelines to follow and boundaries they cannot cross if they are to enjoy TV. More often than not, making the rules clear will reduce the confusion more than inspire spirited protests in the household.
Laying the ground rules is just half of the battle won – imposing the rules without fail will get you the results you need. Include in the rules the list of TV shows they can watch and the definite no-no’s that they should not even consider watching. Making them aware of the dangers of TV in the long run will make them realize that the whole thing is all about their own protection.
Designate a place in the house for TV viewing and avoid putting a set in kids’ bedrooms. It is more difficult to police the stuff they watch and the hours they spend watching if you do that. The high energy costs should also be one reason for you not to do it.
Last but not least, as much as possible, sit down with the kids during their TV viewing. When a questionable scene comes up, you can readily explain things to them or warn them about the dangers of imitating the words or actions they have just heard or seen.
TV is a powerful tool for communication but it can be seriously damaging to our kids. Getting the most out of it involves your vigilance and tireless policing. Why should you entrust your kids to an idiot, much less an idiot box?
About the Author
I am delighted to have as my Guest Blogger Ma. Teresa Baniaga of HotMomma and Pinoy Around the World . Mathe is a freelance writer who plans to compile in one book the adventures of Filipinos all around the globe.
In her two blogs, she discusses a variety of interesting topics.
She writes fluently and garnishes her articles with a lot of personal, profound insights that could only come from someone who writes with a heart.
Here is an excerpt about her from Ezine Articles, - a popular website for gifted writers;
"She writes articles about parenthood, raising kids, cooking, healthy living, home management, relationships and just about anything that catches her fancy. This author also writes web content and online articles for her clients. "
Need I say more?
Thanks Mathe for this wonderful opportunity.