Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Why Do Children Watch TV?

This post was contributed in response to my blog post 'Kids & TV Watching'. - Sriram

- Contributed by Jayashree. Jayashree is the mother of two children, ages 5 and 3. She juggles her day between her job as an Income tax employee and sending both children to school/pre-school, cooking, and keeping them entertained.

Denying children their time with the TV is an act of selfishness on the part of parents. Why do children watch TV? In my view, the answer is they do that when they do not have any alternative.

Look at it from a child's view point; he comes from school spending three hours in a large group of children – he comes home and sees people there doing their own thing, which he cannot relate to. He has actually come in expecting a refreshing and entertaining time, but is left with a sense of void, and the usual set of questions of how the day was, and instructions of good habits, such as keep your shoes here, and your bag there.

They just want to have a real conversation, and engage themselves in fun interaction.

It is when they do not get this that they turn to the TV for relief. It is therapeutic. It takes them to a world that is attractive, and life is fun.

I believe as we as parents have a task on hand – we need to involve ourselves more in their entertainment with the TV, get curious and really interested in what they watch and what they enjoy. They will then open up with us, and will like to watch the same programs with elders. It will lead to true companionship, where elders do not sit in judgment over the kids.

As days pass they may value the companionship of the parents while watching TV more than actually watching the TV, and that could be the beginning of the next level. Unless the parents get addicted to watching the programs themselves and ignore the children!

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