- Family and Parenting
Effects of Too Much Television Viewing on Children
Children and television viewing
As a person growing up addicted to television myself, I realized how difficult it is to monitor television watching for children. When we were small, in the 70s we used to own one black and white television set and it is quite small 14 in. My mother always tells us that we can have television in each of our room, but it didn’t materialize though. I guess my mother is just trying to picture for us beautiful times because at that time my father is jobless. There was already a domestic satellite during that time so we can watch shows even from abroad. I grew up with cartoons like Tom and Jerry, Care bears, and Popeye the sailor man, sort of things. At least Popeye needs spinach, a vegetable, and that is good because the children are all glued specially to cartoons and will be encouraged to eat it.
One time, I asked my mother why is Olive Oyl so infatuated with Popeye and also we have Brutus as the other love interest of Olive Oyl. At a young age, I came to like and continuously watched how they will outdo each other for the love of her and how Popeye will always save her from Brutus after he will snatch her. At a very young age, I would also watched my mothers favorite shows, she wouldn’t care a bit about me as she is busy stitching while watching, and so she wouldn’t care less what shows I am watching. I don’t know how she does that but when I asked questions she will just brushed me aside. Her favorite shows are drama and game shows in the afternoon. I learned a lot from love stories, series etc.
As I was addicted to tv, I thought that it is the reality. I could also memorize all the advertisements. I picked a line or two and always remember what I watched and always when I was growing up people would always amazed how well I understand peoples emotion and at a very young age I could analyze why social things are happening. I am watching shows for adults, example would be] couple making out or outrage of a man killing his wife because she is infidel, sort of those things. So, I may say that at a young age, I know somewhat about the activities of the older people because of too much exposure to tv shows. I couldn’t differentiate what’s reality from just a show. And how I will adore the beautiful women in the screen and wanted to be like them. This go on and on until I came to the city to be on my own and pursue college education.
I would say that the tv shows I watched are helpful in some ways because I became more careful in the city where there is high crimes. I also am interested to pursue a degree studying peoples behavior or emotions etc. I became a sociologist and that’s why I became more aware of social issues aside from the many years of watching television. The other side to that is when you understand why people act the way they do, you become more permissive and understanding, but of course we don’t really need to pursue sociology or other courses just to be more understanding of others.
Ergo, until I grew up at times I would still watch these undying cartoons with my children of course. But at least now, the screens are bigger and they are colored too. Plus I have lots of experienced already and know what I will share my children so that they will not get the negative effects of excessive tv watching.
We can only emphasize the influence of television on children’s views and behavior. How many time do we see our children watching their favorite superheroes and they would imitate them. Much as we would like our children to be safe from harsh media influences, we cant really watched them 24 hours a day. They seem to be interested and to explore things specially young children and they asked a lot about things. I can remember my youngest son who is 8 at that time, will asked me, mommy why are your boobs so small and the woman in the television has big boobs and she will laughed at it, and he added that he said the man in a television show is trying to look and make fun of women breasts. Culturally of course people has different perception of what is permissible to their children or not. Added to that are the different value system of the family. Still others will argue that it is alright for children to watched television shows which are a little bit sexy like Sex and the City etc. Also violence, sexuality, race and gender stereotypes, drug and alcohol abuse are common topics in tv shows and children sometimes without the supervision of adults children tend to imitate what they are seeing and they perceived the things as normal.
It is nice if we talk to our children, tell them what is allowed or not and try to explain why it is not allowed in the first place. I don’t buy the idea of locking the shows or having a password because the more they get curious. What I do is try to explain to them the consequences of what they are doing. We don’t like our children to be exposed to so much violence and pornography etc. at a very young age. We talk about them when they can understand it already. And we should take into consideration that children are different, some are a bit more adventurous and others are just being to themselves or are more subdued. That is why time is very important for the nurturers, the parents to always supervise the children and to talk to them what is allowed or not allowed. But we should also try to give them a chance to give their opinion and having a compromise. They will listen to you more if you make them a part of the endeavor or make it appear as a signatory to the contract and that if they break the contract some of their privileges will be curtailed.
I noticed also that among my children those who watched television a lot tend to be more unsociable and just keep to themselves. But of course there must be some other factors contributing to that. But I noticed that among all of them, if I allowed them to sleep late and watched tv than their normal sleeping hours, they tend to be more lazy and have low grades at school. They also tend to devote more time playing video games. I don’t know if there are studies conducted to prove that the more they play video games the more they watched tv. One of the consequences also is they tend to be more disoriented and grumpy when they have more times watching television.
All in all, as parents it is our main responsibility to let our children enjoy childhood and be the best that they can be with utmost pride and having consistent values.