01 Feb Television’s Impact on Kids – Feb 11
By Poppy Ivone
All television is educational television. The question is: what is it teaching? ~ Nicholas Johnson
According to the guidelines prepared for the Australian Government in The Telegraph, children under the age of 2 should be banned from watching TV and those aged 2-5 should watch no more than one hour of quality programming a day.
Being a mom of two young boys, however, I often find myself rationalising that a little TV watching is a necessity. It allows me that little bit of freedom to look after the baby, cook dinner, clean the house, do household chores, study, or to just have a breather to keep my sanity.
This is not saying that I condone the practice liberally. I feel very strongly about monitoring children’s media exposure, especially when they are young. This means TV programs, DVDs, books, songs, music videos, and games. But let’s just focus on TV this time.
As parents, we need to really understand that children are especially vulnerable to the effects of television. Children under six years will have difficulty working out the difference bet-ween fantasy and reality on TV. They can see cartoon characters as real. They are still developing their internal capacity to reason logically and regulate their own emotions.
By the way, just because it is a cartoon does not mean it is safe and acceptable for children’s consumption. Case in point & my personal pet peeve: The Simpsons. It is NOT a cartoon for children. Much less for young children or any children under the age of 14 for that matter. It contains explicit materials and adult contents such as sex, foul language, violence, drinking, drugs and smoking in each episode! The Australian Classification Board has established ratings that are useful for parents. Check out their webpage http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship_in_Australia.
In saying this, parents should be actively involved in determining what is appropriate for our children and not rely solely on these ratings. I find that even ABC 2, the best channel around for little ones, sometimes still shows programs that I wouldn’t want my three-year-old to watch.
Parents, we are responsible for what our children are being exposed to while they are under our watch.
Psalm 101:3 says,
“I will not set before my eyes anything that is worthless. I hate the work of those who fall away; it shall not cling to me.”
Would we, in good conscience, ‘set anything that is worthless’ before our children’s eyes? Or let it happen through our ignorance, passiveness or lack of knowledge? As in the words of Maya Angelou: ‘Now that we know better, let’s do better. ‘