The Electronic Babysitter: the TV
The surveys should concern us: the children born in the last two decades live in a different environment than their grandparents’, a lot of children are born outside of a marriage and they will grow up with a single parent, almost half of the single mothers are teens and many children see the light of the world in poverty. All these children are the first exposed to means of information which propagate violence in one way or another.
Television seduces grown- ups but it seduces children three times as much. The moment they turn it on nothing else matters, their eyes are staring, they stop doing everything even playing. Talking to them is in vain because commercials, cartoons, inappropriate movies or news lay hands on their attention. They are not able to analyze the information, to choose between right and wrong, reality and fiction, so they assimilate everything they see and hear. They are very curios to know how things are working so they are interested in the world presented on TV. The worst thing is that imitation goes with the age and you definitely don’t want your child to imitate what he watches. The best thing is that when watching TV you can enjoy that blessing silence. We tend to use this glass king as a baby sitter more than we are willing to admit. And how could parents control what their children are watching as long as they indulge in this? Has television become the centre of the universe when family should have taken that place?
Role modeling is your main activity as parents. Try not to act things but make them a part of your real day by day living. Choose your own programs to watch and then get into your children’s. Accept television’s role in the family, sit next to your child and choose the channels, see what he watches and do this persistently. Take time to explain the elders why certain channels and programs won’t do them any good but accept that they will watch them somewhere else if they want to. So don’t force them into anything. Some channels may be watched together even if they show some violence but teach them how to accept what they see by asking questions and talking about what is right and wrong.
If the child’s family offers the necessary love and safety it will come easy to them to give up television and enjoy different entertaining activities. It only takes time. They will teach you what and how to play if you are not inspired. Just make yourself available and make sure there are plenty of games in the house. Make sure your children choose you over some phony idols on TV. Do your best to help them discover that real life is more beautiful.