Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Television viewing and Kids

The first Television Programme started in Delhi on 15th September 1959. Since then, the so called ‘Idiot Box’ has attracted mass media, glued to its charm with various programmes.

Research at the National Institute of Mental Health conducted by Peter Jensen concluded, "Extensive exposure to television and video games may promote development of brain systems that scan and shift attention at the expense of those that focus attention." In countless homes and classrooms, we see children with more impulsive behaviors, less willing and able to persevere through challenging mental tasks, hyperactive, reactive, with little or no impulse control. Research confirms that children who watch TV or play video games for more than two hours daily will most likely exhibit one or more of these characteristics.

Children below 2 should not watch any television, kids older no more than two hours daily of 'quality' programs and television, should be out from children's bedrooms. Research shows that kids who have TV in bedrooms score lower in Maths and language arts test than children without bedroom TVs. A rise in attention problems and difficulty in reading is found among kids who watch more than 3 hours of television and fail in intelligence test! However, there is positive association between children's Educational TV viewing and subsequent academic achievement where kids are found to fair better progress in schools.

I would like to mention a few positive of Television here:

* Television increase a child's range of interest as it exposes him to a wide variety of activities and ranging from cartoons, science, travel, music, etc.

* Television do increase the general vocabulary of children and enhance their skills of communication.

* Television provide opportunities for children to participate - Thus, strive for excellence with their talents, participate, and if not, get inspired by talents of others, learn and be informed.

* Television makes children to imagine and dream as they watch their own cartoon shows and helps them to build concentration, be focused and stimulate their minds.

However, television has it's impact negatively with influence on children of media violence. More viewing leads to effects on healthy child development and the impacts of advertisements are reflected in their various demands and behavior. As such, this leads to fear syndrome, impulse and aggressive behavior and more with sleep disorders, low grades in schools, health issues, so on.

A survey speaks, almost 68% children from 8-18 years have television in their bedroom, 63% families watch television during meals, 51% television is on, most of the time and on an average, children spend 4 hours a day, watching television, DVDs or playing video games on television-computers. As such, TV plays a big role in our lives. If TV viewing limits are specified, the negative television effects can be minimized. Violent programming including violent Cartoons has a negative impact on children too.

What parents can do? Limit viewing hours? Temptation to fill leisure hours with TV viewing be avoided? Don't occupy child's mind with lot of education stuff that leads to boredom? Think! There must be sure fire way to lessen the TV viewing hours!

Here's to pull the plug on the Violence shows first and focus on:

1. Set limits. Setting limits on television time is very important.

2. Planning. Set the routine of the child and plan his lesson schedules so that he completes his work to be free for his television shows. If his show time is missed, he won't be able to concentrate in his lessons.
3. Decide. Prioritize the channels and let him select his choice as per your list. Guide him to select and explain why the channel show is good for him to view.

4. Participate. Children learn from parents the most as to how you interpret the TV programs you see together. If you forbid children to watch a certain program, try to communicate your reasons. Watch cartoon shows, educational movies together. Children will love watching with you.

5. Resist Commercials. Poor eating habits can be picked up early and with ease as candy and snack food commercials attract kids. When children request food and toys advertised on television, teach kids how television makes them buy things sometimes they don't necessarily need and how advertisers find way marketing their products.

6. Don't Frustrate. Do not be harsh and severe with kids viewing and plug out the cables with disconnection. This will hurt the child. Explain why setting limits is necessary.

7. Check your own Views. Limit viewing when kids around. This means, sacrificing your favorite soap operas or movies when children are together. Not necessarily, all shows provide entertainment; they have a bad influence on you too as they are like slow poison affecting the brain and your attitude.

Express your views while allowing children to select programs of their interest and let them make a choice providing Daily Schedule - include daily allowance (extra 15 mins) or Weekly viewing allowance (extra hours). School going children are overloaded with lessons and even home-work hassles take to stress, a few minutes of relaxing, entertainment and playing outdoor is equally necessary. So why not, Set limits to Television viewing and plan a schedule?

- ilaxi patel
Editor, http://www.kidsfreesouls.com/
Newspaper for kids
Author of Guardian of Angels: Look Inside Guardian of Angels

No comments: