As a normal routine the first thing a child does when he/she arrives home is to cut on the television. I have a 4-year-old child, and he does this on an everyday basis. If he acts disobedient, I would tell him that he cannot watch television for that day and he will begin to apologize for his disobedience.
Everything that I see on television for my children is a reflection of somebody’s vision. Programs do not just “happen”; they are a product of policy. It is hard to sit down with my child and watch a family show without the characters using some form of profanity, or displaying some form of violence (and we wonder why our young children are threatening to blow up schools). Whether you know it or not, children do what they see other people do. If they watch a television show that has a lot of profanity and violence in it, they will grow up wanting to use profanity, and use guns to solve problems instead of talking about the problem with an adult. TV violence makes children more aggressive, make children afraid, show children that violence is a good way to solve problems.
On a daily basis, my child watches between 3-4 hours of television. This is more time than I spend with my child one-on-one. Too much TV means less time for family fun, creativity, and imagination. By children spending more time watching television, he does not get enough exercise. They don’t develop good motor skills such as running, jumping, climbing, skipping, and throwing a ball. They also have lower reading and language skills.
TV is not only a bad thing, it can be a good tool if the parents use it well. Many programs help children learn and teach good values such as Mr. Rogers Neighborhood and Sesame Street. These programs can also teach children how to cooperate, be kind, and be sensitive.
To use TV well, parents should:
Screen what their child watches.
Change channels when you see violent, offensive, or adult programs and explain why.
Look for nature programs.
Set time limits on how many hours a day your child can watch television.
Turn off the TV when nobody is watching it. Don’t let it run in the background.
Watch TV with your child.
If parents try to use some of these simple guidelines, they’re child will be a better child. When you watch TV with your children, try to talk about what you are seeing, ask questions about the program, and help your child think about what is happening. Remember that a young child can’t tell what is pretend and what is real life. You will need to explain a lot.