Wednesday, August 22, 2012

In defence: Television

How come Puttachi doesn't watch television?

It is because it is not a way of life in our house.  It is just another appliance that we use once in a while.  When I am bored, I never switch on the television for entertainment.  Most of our television watching is selected, and done after Puttachi goes to bed.  So she doesn't see the television on too often (never on weekdays) and so for her, it is not an option for entertainment.  Doesn't even figure in her list of things to do.

But you let her watch movies and videos and animated songs.  How is that alright?

The two main things I have against television are:
I have no control over the programmes that are aired.
I have no wish to expose her to advertisements right now.  There is enough time for that later! 

Movies and videos - I have control. I know what she is watching. 

As for movies, I always, always watch it with her the first time, guide her through confusing/emotional scenes - make her understand what is happening.  Subsequent viewings - I don't mind if she watches it alone.

But once again, I have rules -

- never on weekdays (barring exceptional circumstances)
- on weekends, no more than an hour or hour and a half per day.  And not on every weekend either.
- and as far as I can help it, no eating anything while watching the screen.

What do you have against watching anything?  TV, movies?

Television is addictive.  It can become a habit.  And I know that when Puttachi is watching a movie, she is immune to everything - sleep, hunger, thirst, even the calls of nature.  If I hit the pause button for some reason, she comes out of the trance, realizes she needs to go the loo, and runs.  What kind of a medium is this that can hypnotize an active child in that way? 

And every hour spent watching the screen means an hour less of imaginative, creative play, physical activity, socialization, reading, crafting...

You're keeping her away from reality.

If all that sexism, racism, stereotypes, violence and sex that we see even on kids' television is reality, then she is better off being away from it as long as I can help it.

She's going to feel isolated from her friends.
She might.  When her friends were talking about "This was on Nick," I overheard her asking, "Who is Nick?"  And her friends said, "Whaaaat, you don't know Nick?"  

So far, she has got on quite well without having any problems.  It might change very soon, but I'll handle that when we get to it. 

She's going to rebel later on and watch a lot of television.

Not if she's hooked on to other more interesting things, in my opinion.

What do you think about parents who let their children watch television?

To each their own - the situation in every home is different, and I, sitting here, cannot possibly pass judgement on anybody without knowing why people choose what they do.  I know how tempting it can be - to plonk the child in front of the tv, and get all your work done, get some much needed alone time.....

But I do think that the harmful effects of extensive TV-watching far outweigh the advantages that the caregivers get from letting the child watch too much TV - so, yes, do take informed decisions, and of course, limits and rules definitely help.


austere said...

I'm minimising tv AND n'paper time and discovering with delight, a brain at ease.

Wanderer said...

I completely agree with you and wholeheartedly advocate cutting back TV time for kids and let them involve in other games and activities. I wonder if kids know half the games we used to play. Introduce them to them and I'm sure they'll be thrilled to bits.

kerala flowerplaza said...

Liked the post

kerala flowerplaza said...


Radhika said...

Very very strict mom you Shruthi :-). Though I don't watch much TV, I've not been able cut it down for my daughter. She can sit like stone in front of the TV non-stop for 5-6 hours. I've to do something . . .

Manish'sMom said...

M who is 6 years old watches TV once a week for about 20-30 minutes :) Plays iPad & PlayStation once a week for 30 minutes. That's it. Rest of the time is spent riding his bike outside, in the park, playing with SEVERAL of his friends on the road, making mud pies, washing his cycle and scooter, helping the driver wash the cars and generally being busy doing something! Yes the house does get messy and so does he. Sometimes I need to change his clothes and clean him up 3-4 times in a day, its a small price to pay isn't it? 24 hours are not enough for him, his imagination is that busy! Loads of activities, No mindless extra curricular classes, no TV, no trying to be a super kid. Just a happy, carefree, fun-filled, imaginative kid :)

meme builder said...

though i dont allows by kids to watch tv much....but i am really impressed by what you write.

facebook covers said...

Impressive writing but sir I'm fund of television i can't live without this.

- -