Upbringing Your Child
Do your children have a separate television set in their bedroom? Have you ever wondered whether the time your children spend in front of TV hampering or helping their cognitive skills? Does it bother you when your child starts imitating what he watched on some TV show?
No doubt television opens a world of knowledge and entertainment for children. However, overexposure to television can also be detrimental to their mental, physical and psychological development.
EFFECT OF TV VIEWING ON CHILDREN’S MENTAL AND PSYCHOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENT
Living in a country like Pakistan, where a greater part of the population still prefers the joint family system, it can become difficult for parents to keep an eye on the content their children watch on TV. Proper monitoring is still possible if children’s TV viewing time is limited to 1-2 hours a day. However, what usually happens is that the entire family watches news channels together, which in today’s times, prefer sensationalism to knowledgeable programming.
Additionally, the daily soaps that are extremely famous among the women in our society are also not appropriate for children to watch, especially with their overly dramatic and sometimes even violent themes. In fact, several television characters portray racial and gender stereotypes, which children do not need to be exposed to. It should hardly come as a surprise to parents if their child displays the same tendencies in his real life after being exposed to such bold content on TV from an early age.
It has also been witnessed that children who remain glued to television most of the time are academically slow and tend to display behavioral issues. This is something Rakhshinda, a schoolteacher vouches for, as she describes the conversations between her seventh grade students, whose favorite topic of discussion these days revolves around the much talked about and controversial love stories shown in Turkish dramas. According to her, boys get into fist fights, thinking they are in one of the ‘good guy vs. bad guy’ situations that are commonly shown on TV and in films.
HOW TV VIEWING IMPACTS CHILDREN’S PHYSICAL GROWTH
Excessive television viewing also has a negative impact on the physical development of children due to the complete lack of exercise brought upon by their addiction to TV and the convenience of operating the idiot box with a remote control without having to move a muscle.
It is a medically proven fact that sitting in front of the TV screen for long hours affects children’s health in different ways, ranging from weakened eyesight to the onset of heart problems and obesity in the longer run. Making matters worse are the advertisements of fizzy drinks, junk foods and other unhygienic products, which can entice children to prefer these unhealthy food items over nutritious home food.
A FEW WORDS OF ADVICE…
- If you want to be aware of what your child is watching on TV, the best way is to switch to DVDs that contain programs specifically made for children. You can exercise extra vigilance by previewing these programs before allowing the kids to watch them.
- Alternatively, you can introduce your children to positive habits that will boost their mental and physical growth, such as reading books or participating in sporting activities.
- Make sure that the TV set is always switched off while your children are playing, having a meal or doing their homework as it can easily distract them.
- Schoolchildren should not be allowed more than two hours of TV in a day.
It is important to understand what is good and bad for your child. While you cannot eliminate TV viewing completely out of your children’s lives, you can make the effort to turn it into an occasional source of entertainment by limiting the hours TV is watched in your house, not only by children but the entire household. Hence, the next time you catch your child saying ‘Main hoon Don’ or ‘Chakku hai mere haath main’, you know exactly what you need to do!