The TV remains an important though controversial electronic gadget in the family today. It goes without saying that a good percentage of families consider the TV a subject of discussion that has elicited mixed reactions between parents and children for generations. It has been a bone of contention between parents and children with either side trying to show the benefits of either watching more or little of this significant electronic invention. However, studies agree that in the end, families tend to gather around the TV when there is one crucial characteristic factor that benefits either party.
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The TV Crisis
Parenting initiatives within electronic media in the US is on the increase. Studies indicate that public television, cable television and TV on the internet have witnessed a mushrooming in parenting sites with parenting and family series leading the pack. A significant number of talk shows on parenting championed by public service campaigns that target parents as a critical audience have been on the agenda for the Advertising Council. Notable among these are the ‘I Am Your Child’ and ‘The More You Know’ shows that is an initiative of the NBC. The demand for mass media information among parents has increased substantially with most parents demanding more information about child-rearing and development. Also, more studies show that the TV acts a primary source of parenting information with interpersonal sources like counsellors and the clergy taking the lead in providing valuable information on this subject topic.
While parents gear towards deriving valuable information designed for child development, children, on the other hand, are mainly known to obtain entertainment from the TV. The choices for parents are stack at this point since it is either they give into the children’s programs and enjoy them together or leave the TV altogether for the young ones to enjoy. To most parents, constructive entertainment to children depending on their suitability by age is not a problem. However, parents agree that some research outcomes indicate that children have acquired poor life habits from watching various TV programs. Movies and TV series that contain scenes of violence are most influential in adversely changing child behaviour. It is difficult for parents to watch such programs with children since they derive little or no value in initiating discussions with the children while watching. Other TV series that contain adult content is also a significant point of departure between parents and children. While a majority of children in the US would walk away from the TV when such programs are on air leaving their parents alone, a massive number of these caregivers believe that when they are not around the house, their little ones comfortably watch these programs.
Another problematic situation parents find themselves in is that being the primary breadwinners in the family, they have to go out to work. This leaves them with no time to police their children on how they use the TV as a positive tool of influence. When they are away, parents find themselves thinking about what their children are watching on TV. Children, on the other hand, derive confidence in the TV when they are alone away from the presence of parents. Also, most parents ask their children what they watched on TV when they leave home for visits to either their friends or distant relatives. A primary headache is, however, the presence of adult channels that show their content at any time of the day. For parents, it would have been easier if such material was aired late in the day or at night when they are around home. This makes it easier for them to monitor what the children are doing when watching TV. Irrespective of all these challenges, parents are of the opinion that TV is a beautiful instrument of child growth and development when used correctly. The problem with them is that they believe children can only use the TV as a development tool under their supervision.
The battle for the TV is stressful for most parents and has led them to give up a lot regarding resources. Researchers have also come up with realizations that children have developed poor eating habits as a result of continually being glued to the TV. The increase in obesity rates in children and teens in the US has primarily been attributed to lack of proper exercise since the TV has replaced the activities that increase physical vigour in the body. If both parents and children find themselves watching TV together, parents are of the opinion that their children do not enjoy these moments since they perceive the primary motive of parents is to police their actions. Also, children believe that what they would watch together would be to a greater extent dictated by the parent rather than the child. Such occasions are usually tense to most parents when they attempt to bring in discussions centred on promoting child growth and development.
Deriving Joy from the TV
A youngster’s brain develops quickest in its first two years of life. Keeping these children away from the TV trains them to view it like any other electronics in the house rather than as a fundamental source of entertainment. Parents that derive joy from watching the TV with their children concur that this is not spontaneous. It requires years of training, and this starts quite early in life when children are taught to use the TV positively. The TV is a social instrument for use by all the family members, and this has enabled families to develop virtual programs that children have been cultured to believe are only worth enjoying when the whole family is around the TV. The result is that families have grown habits which require everyone to be home at certain times and children drag their parents to the sofa to watch these programs together. A source of joy for parents is when children jostle for sitting positions closest to them which encourage bonding between siblings and parents.
During such occasions, children tend to ask questions or come up with topics for discussion. Families that have been able to master the art of making the TV a source of family unity have found their bonds tighter, and there have been minimal conflicts. Good TV educational programs can make children quickly learn a variety of useful things. Programs such as Ozzy and Drix and Dr Quinn the Medicine Woman are a positive influence on family values that increase harmony during parenthood. Apart from learning educational content, sports programs on TV are a definite precursor to children and parents adopting different sporting activities. Parenthood acquires a variety of activities that the family can engage through emulating families on TV doing the same. This requires a lot of creativity on the part of parents since there is specific content that cannot be copied directly the way they appear on TV. Parents are also advised to use the TV as a primary tool for acquiring information on current development both nationally and globally. Studies have shown that children brought up seeing the TV as an essential tool for watching news have grown regarding it as more of a resource than entertainment gadget for all family members.
It is not all bad news for parents as the TV is not entirely a weapon of conflict. Parenthood needs mastering the art of using the TV as a source of bringing the family together. It is not easy since parents and children have different likes varying with the various programs available on TV. It is not however easy to pull the children away from the TV, but proper communication between the parents and children makes it possible to strike a balance that brings out positive results from using the TV. Parents should take the lead in ensuring that the TV acts as a source of family unity rather than an object of destruction to family joy and unity. The result is that not only do conflicts arise from owning a TV in the family setting but also making sure that pleasure and happiness emerge from the TV as an instrument of family bonding.