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Aap Aur Hum

Monthly News Letter


4- Green Avenue Lane, Vasant Kunj, New Delhi



September 2022


On Television Viewing - To Watch or Not To Watch


Unheard voices of our children


Let us listen to these conversations of children. What do they convey to us?


Akshay: You know, yesterday I watched the WWF show. I never miss that slot. But my Mom and Dad hate it. Which is your favourite programme on T. V.?


Manu: Oh, I love watching the Cartoon Network. Of course, my mother also complains that I spend too much time on it. What about you Akshay?


Akshay: You know in my home the T. V. is on all the time so I watch whatever interests me.


Rani: I like to surf channels and find out about different programmes. I do this most of the time except during dinner when my father is very particular about watching the news.


Mini: I find my mother watching serials but I am not allowed to watch and often I argue with her to let me watch programmes that I would like to.


This is not the story of just these children. In fact, many children are hooked to the television, spending a lot of time watching anything and everything. In the process there is less interaction among family members and with the outside environment as well. T.V. plays a significant role in influencing relationships, attitudes, desires, priorities and values. Before meaningful dialogue between the parents and the children breaks down, we need to find ways of stopping the invasion of T.V in our personal lives. There are many simple things that we can do as adults to promote media literacy among our children.


Do not make T.V. watching a whole day activity

Many people use the T.V. throughout the day. Mrs. Sharma was watching a T.V. serial while ironing her clothes. But she did not allow her five-year-old daughter to watch T.V. while doing her homework. Instead, she asked her to go and study in her room. Children do not appreciate our double standards. Placing restrictions on T.V. viewing is seen as unjust by them. Children will follow the same pattern of

behaviour as we do and it will be difficult to change the habit. If you are watching T.V., you should watch it for the programme. Avoid making television the backdrop for other activities.


Avoid using T.V. at dinner time

This is the time for being together. This is an opportunity for family discussions, sharing, exchanging notes and remaining connected with each other. Children look forward to narrating their experiences of the day during dinner as they can generally get the whole family together. It is a precious opportunity for them to share their ideas,

views and opinions on different issues. It also makes them feel heard and attended to by their parents. Watching television at dinner distances parents from children vice versa. Worst of all, parents deny themselves and their children the opportunity to build good communication within the family.


Do not surf channels

It is not only children like Rani but adults also often indulge

in channel surfing, setting a model for our children to follow. Gradually, channel surfing becomes a pastime. It is necessary to impress upon children that viewing a programme on T.V., be it a cartoon, WWF or any game show, has to be more focused. It you are interested in particular programme, you may find out the schedule from authentic sources and view it. Otherwise, engage in some

other alternative activities like playing indoor or outdoor games, or reading with your children. Channel surfing can ultimately lead to a moronic addiction.


Remain in touch with what your child watches on T.V.

It is very important to know what kind of programmes your child is interested in. Of course, they may not interest you but, it will help you in understanding the kind of programmes your child likes and the kind of influences they could be prone to.


It is important for parents to familiarize themselves with the contents of the weekly T.V. guide to ensure purpose viewing for their children. Young children have difficulty distinguishing the 'real' events and characters from 'Unreal’ ones. They are unable to perceive and understand the real worth of some T.V. programmes. Parents could help them to understand this by commenting on the programmes. Some televisions come with a child lock which parents can use to block any programmes that they consider age -inappropriate.


Ensure the whole family watches T.V. together

It is important that the whole family view some programmes together. In this situation, you could encourage your children to talk about the programme, their reasons for liking or not liking the programme. Children will gain better understanding and knowledge when parents explain the events they view. Further, parents should critique and voice their opinion about the programme and encourage their children to do the same. This will help them to discriminate worthwhile from worthless programmes as also develop their critical thinking and questioning abilities apart from perhaps developing an interest if not passion, in the subject of the programme that the parents would like them to watch. Avoid as far as possible to let children watch programmes on their own without engaging them in

a discussion on the programme.


You could use T.V. as an instrument of learning

T.V. often has a wide range of educative programmes. It would be a good idea for the teacher to tell children in advance to watch a particular programme. This may be followed by a variety of activities

like holding debates, discussions, quizzes and planning a project. Talk about the characters. Do they appear like real life characters? Help them to think about what they see on T.V. Give them the  opportunity to talk about their likes and dislikes. We must help them to think about the quality of the programme, the characters, the presentation and the message.


Watch out for T.V.'s invasion in your life

Remember that you, not the television, are the master. If you do not like what is on, then do not watch it. You have the opportunity to select what to watch and watch. T.V. viewing is one of several activities that we do in our daily life. It is for us to set the right priorities for watching T.V., among all these activities. Parents need to realize that the guidelines for a good T.V. diet are similar to those of good nutrition. How much T.V. should children watch? What kinds of programmes are appropriate? These questions should be carefully considered. For physical growth and development of the child, we are committed to providing nutritious food. Similarly, ensuring a good TV. diet for the children's social and intellectual development is equally important.



Dr Amita Govinda

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