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Are we aware of what our kids are exposed to when they watch television? The author emphasizes the need of parental intervention when it comes to TV shows and movies that children watch.
As I was commuting to office today, one of the radio stations was discussing the kind of media content we are exposing our kids to especially on television and in movies. Today, with the advent of technology and free media space, our kids are watching, reading, texting, posting, tweeting and trolling but television and movies play very important role in our kid’s entertainment. In India, every third person watching television, is a child below 14 years of age and this viewership is growing everyday. What are kids really watching? If they are watching only children’s programs are we sure that they are safe and healthy(read right for our kids). Are these shows and movies giving the right ideas and values to our kids? Asking this question is very important as these kids are not just going to watch but they are going to replicate and relate to it in the real world.
I have brimmed with pride when nieces and nephews attempted to enact a scene of a movie or a show but to think about it now, did they really understand the meaning of what they were saying? If yes, then its a bigger problem because it was usually a funny scene from a movie and today most filmy humor is based on body shaming, degrading women, putting down someone- to name a few.
There have been scenes in movies where a girl rejects a nerd while admiring the so called ‘cool’ good for nothing ‘hero’. So, are we putting ideas into the mind of a 5 year old who is watching the movie, on what is cool and that being a nerd is a bad thing? Is a stick thin, fair, make up donned girl wearing western clothes, better than a dark skinned girl? While there is nothing wrong in wearing western clothes or being thin or using make up but are we giving our kids unhealthy body expectations both for themselves and others. Often ‘heroes’ are shown retorting back harshly or not regarding their parents or elders with respect. Is it not sending a wrong message to our kids that this kind of behaviour is not just acceptable but even ‘heroic’?
So what do we do? One of my cousins has a stipulated television time for kids and they allow their kids to watch only those programs that the parents approve. People may argue saying that “I never had restricted TV time and I turned out OK” but, we should also consider how movies and shows have evolved over the years (if you can call that evolved). Restricted TV time is not the only solution, but parents should start by being aware of what their kids are exposed to and also monitor it to a certain extent. And then most importantly, talk to them about what they watched , what it means to them and how they relate to it.
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