Saturday, September 12, 2009

Things I've Learned From Watching TV

I don't write commentaries, reviews or factual thoughts. I am more into creative writing. I am not a psychologist either, so I don't claim expertise in this field. I wrote this piece because I have observed and learned that TV has a very significant effect on children's behavior. I speak most specifically of violence on TV, which is slowly but surely destroying the basic non-violent mind-set of our children.

There are several factors affecting how the young are developed and molded into adults. These are the environment in which they grew in, the people around them, their genetic make-up, and their experiences and interactions with society.

A child who grew amidst love would think that the world "out there" is a "loving" world. On the other hand, the child who grew up amidst violence will assume that it is normal for people to hurt each other. Children will learn as they grow up that there is always the good and the bad and that these two exist in the real world. The belief they acquired; however, during their vulnerable childhood days would be more predominant in developing their personality.

Exposure to violence as a kid will have its lasting effects. These maybe deep seated or just "floating" on the surface of the child's subconscious. This will depend upon the intensity of his experiences. One thing is certain though - whatever memory he would have acquired, would be indelible.

Some TV programs have made violence as a selling point of their drama series/soap operas. There is no problem with adults watching these programs because they are able to identify the real from the fantasy world, but children do not have adult discernment to be able to do so.

People would say, "So don't allow the child to watch!" This is not possible though because families belonging to the lower economic stratum who have only one room - living room cum bedroom - are not allowed this luxury. And these families are growing in numbers!

This is most especially observed in third world countries where TV is the most convenient and cheapest method of entertainment. All these poor families could afford is a TV so while the mother puts the child to sleep, she watches; and the child's eyes are also glued to the TV, while trying to get some sleep.

Every single day, I watched the characters in these soaps in various violent scenes; they maybe in a gunfight, pulling each other's hairs, slapping each other or shouting at each other. These scenes say to the children that problems and conflicts could not be settled amicably and peacefully; that we have to be violent to settle disputes. Even family members plot and kill each other in some "soaps".

Are these the values we would like our children to learn? Several researches have proven that indeed violence on TV negatively influences children. As one researcher observed that most people believe this is so, but as expected, people in the TV industry do not believe in the results of these scientifically conducted studies.

I know it would be hard work for the TV people to create a high rating soap opera that does not involve violence, but that is the challenge I confront them with.

A talented and creative writer/producer would be able to write/produce TV soaps which would concentrate on non violent approaches, which would focus more on the positive aspects of the human character.



1 comment:

skipratt said...

children are more influenced by family members and friends not TV! As a victim of violence from my step dad, my mind set and nature is influenced and brought on by my step dad!

I now believe that the world is pure evil but one can live comfortably by adopting a STRONG mind set and respect to others "where respect is due"!

Because the world is so violent, children have found strength in numbers!!!

I believe that TV only reflects what life and world actually is, and this brought on through our peers!