Television-is it so harmful to children…

As it is made out to be??

I don’t think so. I know there will be many of you who think otherwise. Many of you may be from the school of thought that believes television stunts a child’s imagination. But I believe excessive viewing of television is what hampers a child’s functioning.

If a child spends most of his time in front of the TV then it is definitely going to harm him/her. If a child is told to watch TV because his/her parents don’t want to be disturbed while they chat with their friends on phone, or they want to go out somewhere, or they are simply too busy to attend to their little one, then yes, the child is being given a message that watching TV is the only worthwhile thing to do.

And this approach is adopted by not just the parents,mind you. I’ve seen care-givers like grand-parents, nannies/baby-sitters too, relying heavily on the tube when faced with the challenge of pacifying a wailing child or feeding a fussy-eater. TV is even what many turn to, to make children sit through while they go about doing their chores.

What I’m trying to say is we, adults, are the ones who drive our children to the point of addiction for television. If we know how to make use of TV in a constructive way, our children have much to learn from this medium.

I can cite my daughter as an example. She is a huge fan of Barney & Dora. The reason R & I acknowledge her watching the series is because Namnam gets to learn a lot from it. These shows are interactive that teach kids about alphabets, numbers, nursery rhymes with great deal of fun thrown in. They impart strong positive messages about values, good manners, optimistic attitudes by way of songs, skits & dance routines.

And another character she eagerly looks forward to watching everyday is Mister Maker. He is the one who helps her with her penchant for craft and painting. The amazing part is he always advises to make use of things that are available at home. He stresses a lot on recycling and re-using which I believe is a very valuable lesson that Namnam can imbibe.

So these are the shows that Namnam ardently watches. That’s not to say that she is glued to them through the day. She gets to watch TV for about an hour and half every day. That’s a condition R & I have laid down for her & ourself so that she gets a chance to indulge in other things too with as much fun.

This way she is able to grasp important lessons from the TV shows and put them to use in her life just like she gains more and more knowledge and gets to widen her imagination when R & I read books to her or when she plays with her blocks or creates shapes with clays.

I’m not saying this is the right approach to handle children. I’m no authority on that. But it has worked well for my child.

So long as we, as parents know how to keep the TV sets from ruling us and our children, then I feel there’s no harm in having them in our lives.

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55 thoughts on “Television-is it so harmful to children…

  1. LOL, she is too young to know what TV actually is !! πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

    Dont worry, she will get addicted as she grows up and will give a tough time for both of you with the remote !!! πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

    D: Pedippikkaade, chekkaa! πŸ˜› πŸ˜›

    Watching TV isnt bad at all. but sometimes watching some of the shows that air on TV is ! πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

    D: Exactly, Vims! Thats where we as adults need to play a stronger role of a guide. We can monitor what our children watch cant we? I know there are many shows that give out wrong messages to children and till now R & I have managed to keep Namnam away from them. I’m hoping we’ll be able to do that in future too.

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    1. Pedippikkaade, chekkaa! … whatz this πŸ˜› πŸ˜›
      Pls teach me some words which I cn use for scolding Vimmuuu πŸ‘Ώ

      D: Go by what Saksh says, Swar. ‘Peda’ in malayalam means ‘thappad’ BTW :twisted:..so now you know one more word other than ‘aliyaa’ πŸ˜€

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    2. LOL, I meant watching a switched off TV. and you took me seriously with that comment ! πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

      Personally speaking, I used to watch TV like crazy. and I think Im fine. but those days, we never had such idiotic shows like Roadies and Splitsville πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

      and btw, Karate Brat was one of my childhood TV partner.

      D: Vims, you and Bratu wont believe, but I found quite a bit of similarities in your writing styles :D. its different matter that Brat has more or less forgotten he has a webpage 😈

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  2. third! πŸ˜€
    yea.. TV watching isn’t that bad… but, its better to watch nice and knowledgable shows, especially kids.. once they grow up, they are going to get addicted to the trash!! πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

    But, they just might turn out to be great kids and not watch TV!
    (that would scare me! If my kid didn’t watch TV as he/she grows up to be a rebelious teen!)

    D: Pix,even kids who watch TV turn rebellious,depends on what they watch, right. So if as parents/adults we can guide them well I think they will get right messages from what they watch too.

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  3. Itz all about selective viewing Deeps … as with everything else, there are both pros and cons. If we know how to make effective use of it, we wil definitely gain from it πŸ™‚

    D: Exactly! Tv viewing needs to be approached in the same manner as we do when deciding how to monitor our kids’ internet accessibility or what books to read to them. Swar,some of the story books convey such wrong messages that there are times when I either dont read them to her or simply modify them so they give out better messages.

    laid down for her & ourself – like this one πŸ™‚

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  4. I totally agree, Deeps. What the child watches makes a lot of difference. It is the same with Poohi – she loves Mister Maker too – and has recently come across Dora -thanks to her friends πŸ™‚

    But she does learn a lot from it. The other day she came and told me that ‘gracias’ is the spanish word for Thank you πŸ™‚

    D: How sweet! You know yesterday Namnam was teaching me & R counting in Spanish and I’ve still not learnt beyond ‘cuatro’! Madam has given up on me πŸ˜†

    At the same time, I know kids who grow up on Bollywood songs and they just sit and watch it all day long.. As you say, as far as we keep the TV from ruling our lives, there is a lot that a child can learn from TV. And it works for my little one too πŸ™‚

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  5. sorry but..i don’t agree with u here..i used to watch a lot of TV as a kid and nothing bad happened to me so far.

    D: Bratu, I’m not saying watching TV is harmful..I’m saying excessive TV viewing can lead to addiction and that can be harmful. I’ve seen small children glued to the TV and hardly paying attention to what is happening around them.

    Infact i still love cartoons and btw ‘Barney’ is terrible!

    Worst show evr,Sesame street was a better show compared to tht! πŸ˜€

    D: I haven’t seen Sesame Street.

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  6. As long as you can monitor what she is watching and for what duration she is watching, there is nothing wrong in it.
    Whats wrong is limitless use. and that’s what people should remember..

    D: Absolutely right! Welcome here, Iya πŸ™‚

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  7. the thing is how much can u control kids thesedays….kids thesedays are exposed to the internet and hav access to all no matter how much u dont allow them to watch.
    I guess the best will be to councel them and explain them the pros n cons of it…bec the more u stop them from doing anything…the more curious they become towards it…thats the human tendancy..and found more children.

    D: You’re right! Its very important to have an open communication with your child. If a child feels free to open up with you then I feel as a parent it is much easier to guide him well.

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  8. Technically I am the 7th commentator here πŸ™‚

    Super post.

    The problem with TV is in the midst of even the most innocent programme, there is a sudden shot of violence or adult talk. And kids are like a sponge, they absorb EVERYTHING!!! So yeah, as long as the parent is monitoring WHAT the kid is watching, it can be extremely educational. If the parent does not notice carefully enough, then kids are in danger or learning the wrong things.

    D: Totally agree, Pals.Even those kid-based programmes have so much of objectionable content in them that if we are not careful theres every chance that our children may get influenced by them. The key is to monitor what they watch.

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  9. Oyye..what happened to u, the blog bug has bite you is it?
    Can you ask it to come this way too..for I am bereft of words…


    D: ha ha ha…what are you complaining about..you’ve been bitten by the twitter bug now πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

    And Telvision has its advantages and disadvantages as does every technological gizmo…
    As long as you have it in moderation, it is good. Like the Malayalam saying, Adhikamayal amrithum vishamakum!
    (Swaram, u understood?)

    D: That saying is R’s favorite… he has been using it invariably ever since I started blogging πŸ˜†

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  10. Agree…..I too let the kids watch TV…some good stuff like Art Attack and some not so educational like Scooby Doo but they enjoy it so much tht I havent the heart to stop them πŸ˜›

    But those Japanese cartoons are the pits…I cant stand them ;-/

    D: Oh Nance..I cant stand them too.

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  11. Don’t know how to comment on this Deeps… I die to watch cricket then and now also its the same case.. Mom and dad always kept it away from me .. which made me to look out for ways where I can watch it without their knowledge… I didn’t have the maturity then(don’t ask me how I am now πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ ) I believe that when we don’t restrict they will look and get bored off…

    D: In my opinion,Kanagu, a little bit of restriction is necessary to ensure a child doesn’t absorb wrong messages from the shows he watches. With the kind of films and TV shows that are being made today, children are at a disadvantage of getting influenced by violence and other negativity easily.

    this happened in my case for movies.. earlier I used to watch all the top 10s, scenes of a latest movies as I was not able to watch the movie soon(those programs are total time waste according to me)… now I am just watching movies not any related programs…

    Anyway it’s okay for namnam means nice.. thats really great πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

    another thing to be mentioned is cartoons are for only 2 hours then that too by Sunday only…. but now the scenario is totally different… a real challenge for parents…

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  12. Everything in moderation usually works in our favor!
    Saumya watches it on weekends because she is back from school everyday only at 4pm!! There is a lovely series called Little Bear, try that (even if on DVD) very simple, a group of animals just spending their days together doing tings like making lemonade, swimming in the pond, making soup, being sick……we love it!

    D: ‘Little Bear’ sounds fun & interesting. Will check with the library for a DVD. Thanks Sands πŸ™‚

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  13. Hi Deeps, nice theme (yeah it’s been a while since I stopped by..).

    D: Hi Madhu welcome back πŸ™‚

    “We are not perfect ; we are parents” like Moose A. Moose says, sums it up. I totally agree with you on Dora-Diego – they have taught my 4 year old way more than what we would have, had we insulated her from TV. Selective viewing of age appropriate TV (we do Noggin most of the time ; that’s for pre-schoolers without ADs and anything harsh) certainly helps.

    D: True, selective viewing definitely helps.

    When channelized and controlled, exposure to newer technologies is a good thing. Educational applications on something interactive (touch based like iPad or iPhone ; my 4 year old is a pro) is better than TV and way more better than video games.

    Wise (wo)man once said :

    “Show me the perfect child and I’ll show you the most imperfect parents”

    D: I love that saying πŸ™‚

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  14. Ohh if you collect all the comments I have scattered you will know what I feel about this πŸ˜›

    Btw did you not add “mom’s pushing kids to watch TV while they blog hop” on purpose 😎

    D: Shush, you evil!! 😈

    Like you we have a 1 hour rule for Saman too. In fact now a days the boy is trying to sell me the benefits of watching cartoon. His argument was that we both can sit together on the couch and spend quality family time, while he watches the TV, I can lol at the laptop 😑

    D: Does he know what do you lol at BTW?? 😈

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    1. /*His argument was that we both can sit together on the couch and spend quality family time, while he watches the TV, I can lol at the laptop */

      How thoughtful!!!! Kids are really intelligent πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

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  15. Agree with u, I guess a lot of things are written about TVs, I if u look at it that way, every thing has its pros and cons!!
    Sometimes I feel ppl are following the tide, somebody (make it a world famous somebody πŸ˜‰ said it is an idiot box and we echo the same, since all the others do the same and never bother to verify it or see the good in it!!

    I love that show MAD… πŸ™‚

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  16. I have nothing against TV.. we were raised in a small place TV was a very important pastime for us …just by meaningless soaps I learned a lot..and considering that we turned out to be Ok I have nothing against TV…

    And Akku by birth loves dancing ..so I have nothing against him watching bollywood songs also and he tries to imitate the steps..

    Offcourse that does not mean 24*7 he should watch TV ..as you say anything in moderation is not bad..

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  17. Good point Deeps. When Television started out, in its early days, there was a good mix of kind of programs – like educational, entertainment etc. These days I do not see that balance. It is upto us parents to really screen and provide that mix to our kids.

    Since we did not want to get addicted, we never got cable all these years. Kids watch favorite shows in DVDs and we catch up on news online.

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  18. Completely agree with you. I do not have kids yet, but i can see how heavily parents and grandparents are relying on TV in the upbringing of tiny tots. Its really disturbing to me. Now if the same child grows up and is addicted to TV and indoor activities like video games, its no surprise. I think our generation has become a bit impatient and personal time has become so important that people dont like spending time with little ones any more.
    I applaud your outlook in bringing up Namnam. Be the same.
    I know, it may sound precocious coming from me, but I am just stating from my judgement.

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  19. Yes, you are right, Deeps. Its up to us to make right use of the Idiot box, so that it helps our children rather than spoil them.

    I too love Barney, Noddy, Oswald and Dora and I’ve watched with my girls all the shows with so much joy – all the while explaining the morals these shows are trying to convey !!!

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  20. As you said, we have to monitor what the small children watch, as far as possible. But if elders are at home and are addicted to daily soaps, the children tend to repeat the dialogues without knowing the meaning.

    Once the children grow up, they pester us to let them watch programmes which their friends watch, then the problem starts. Otherwise, many good programmes are there in some channels which are educative and entertaining too.

    Namnam is turning out to be a good kid, with you as her mom, Deepu.

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  21. As a kid I was totally addicted to TV…used to watch at least 5 hours of it even with school.

    I guess that over-dose killed my interest in it all together πŸ˜‰ for now I hardly watch a few comedy shows and Discovery/ Nat geog + News.

    As far monitoring what kids see, I totally agree with points raised so far.
    It’s important to have the actual “parental guidance” during the shows even with the ones recommended for “general” viewing πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

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  22. I agree with what you say Deeps. But Pal has a point. My son was watching a kids programme while younger and suddenly screamed in fear that my blood curdled. I came running from the kitchen and found him shivering with fear. An ad for a ghost soap to be shown during prime time had been aired in between the kids’ programme. Imagine the insensitivity of that! This happened more than 15 years back. I don’t know if this sort of thing happens nowadays. I liked the way you are going about letting Namnam watch TV and learn from what she is watching too. πŸ™‚

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  23. ok so i actually have a lot to say here but surprisingly i am not finding words for it…

    will try to say in nutshell anyways :

    TV bad or not (actually anything even morphine and poisons are used as medicines too) depends on how u present it to the child.

    the time frame of TV has been talked abt anyways in ur post but for me its what he watches more important that how long he watches…

    I wouldnt mind and ojas does watch some CD’s everyday but what happens when the TV is on in ur house quite a lot even if the child is not watching it and seems to be doing something on its own, what is playing in the background does have a effect on his subconsicous mind…And all that comes in TV these days is those stupid saas bahu serials or scheming reality shows…. and almost nearing reality show dramas news channel and the worst all those cartoons full of volience and cleverness..

    Would I want my child to see this? I dont think so and that exactly is my problem with TV….

    Only if there were some nice shows like indradhanush and neev etc that used to come in our times….

    PS: i have done the cheese croissant rec that u wanted just for u πŸ˜‰

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  24. Of course, an excess of TV is bad but a little bit of TV is not that bad. We’ve got them a set of Ben & Bella which they thoroughly enjoy and learn English at the same time.

    With Yuvaan, who is a very fussy eater, we used to have Ben & Bella on during his meals but thankfully during this vacation, he seems to have lost his habit so we’re trying to now get him to the dining table since few days.

    I think we’ll also set a time frame for the kids on how much TV they can watch every day. That seems to be a nice idea.

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  25. I agree..to this posts totally. Especially programs like word world has helped aryan learn many phoentics sounds…
    But now..I am not sure, how much control I will have over his TV watching down the line…..

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  26. you are absolutely right. matter of fact both my children today have grown up into voracious readers apart from watching selective tv programs and we had not prohibited them from watching tv in their childhood..

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  27. I totally agree with you. I had recorded ‘The Magic Box’, ‘The Elephant Show’ for my kids, in 1993-95 and movies like ‘Dot and the Bunny’ and ‘The Tadpole and the whale’ (from the TV) and I feel they gained immensely from all these.

    I also used to watch Animal Planet with them.

    Here’s a song they loved and I found on You Tube and added in a slide-show I made for my son’s birthday recently,

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  28. Totally agree with you on this one.My son used to watch too much t.V while I was away.I am back and stable for about a year now and I set a rule of half hour t.v time.This gives him and idea on how not so important t.v is and also gets him to go out and play with other kids and indulge in other activities.My family and me have restricted our t.v time too and made sure he follows a good example.

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