Whereas we used to get our thrill from playing outdoor games such as football as we grew up, children today want more and more to get their fill of fun indoors.
There are a myriad of platforms at their disposal. These include video games, games imbedded in smart phones and music on portable devices. But the one that tops the list is watching TV and movies on Ds. Television has come to be children’s very close companion in the home, right across the age spectrum.
However, while TV is a wonderful tool for delivering useful information, it can also deliver negative content such as violence and nudity. These often come in unusually large doses such that parents are finding themselves besieged, surrounded by all these platforms, and are getting resigned to the situation.
But should parents surrender under this onslaught? They could, and should, effectively ‘fight’ back. My wife and I have decided to censor what our three-year-old son, Saqeeb, will watch on TV. Many a time I channel-hop, just to find out what movies are showing.
Sometimes I will pause to briefly watch a movie scene. And whenever there is a violence scene unfolding while our son is in the living room with us, my wife will quickly remind me to switch channels. But this may not happen fast enough to completely shield the little guy, and he will immediately launch into questions, finding out why the people on the screen were fighting.
We had placed the same kind of censorship on his elder sisters, when they were younger. They couldn’t watch all the music videos, especially the ones that involved nudity. We have since somewhat relaxed some of the restrictions since they went to secondary school.
American child behavioural therapist, James Lehman, observes thus: “It’s an undisputed fact that the more violence kids are exposed to, the more desensitised they become to it. The more brutality they see, the less they feel it.”
Lehman aocates for parents cutting down on the delivery of sadistic, senseless violence into their homes using whatever technology and empowerment they have at their disposal.
Instead of giving your child unrestricted access to all the channels on TV, use the parental controls and say, “You can’t watch violent movies in our home.” You have every right and the power to establish these rules, and you should do so if you are concerned about your child’s exposure to violence.
However, Lehman has this to add: “Realise this. You can tell your child about the standards in your home, but don’t be surprised if they watch and listen to violent music, games and programming outside the home. A kid can know something is forbidden, but doesn’t always understand that it’s hurtful.”
But kids do understand values when you establish them. State firmly and clearly that you are not going to do this in our home, and then uphold it. Saqeeb will not relent before he asks why he can’t watch what adults usually watch. But inside him, he does know that he must adhere to the laid-down rules. Are you a father? What have you learnt or discovered about your youngsters and parenting? Share joys, trials, challenges, successes. Send them in 500 words to
Source : The Observer