The effect of television on child development

The importance and effect of the television on child development cannot be over-emphasized. With cemented floors in most homes and some inappropriate types of toys to play with, most children are left with little choice than to watch television all day long especially as parents are often times, too busy to pay them the required attention.

The children, thus have no one to supervise them and hence, take to the television set to ‘catch up’ with their ‘friends’, and by friends, I mean cartoon characters which by the way, are becoming more and more real to these little ones with each passing day.

The first two years of a child’s life are considered a critical phase for brain development, hence, most child psychologists and child development experts advise that children of this age should not be exposed to the TV set whatsoever to ensure proper development.

TV and other electronic media can get in the way of playing and interactions with parents and others living around children. Watching too much TV can also interfere with activities such as doing the house chores, homework and spending time with family.

However, like everything else, watching television in moderation has its advantages which include the following:

  • Kindergarten children can learn the alphabets on public TV;

  • Nursery school children can learn about wildlife on nature programmes;

  • Primary and High school children can learn about current affairs and listen to tutors put them through a difficult topic;

  • Watching certain programmes help in increasing the general lexicon of children;

  • It can be a channel for bringing to the awareness of children the various human conditions such as poverty, homelessness and sufferings of others around them.

In spite of all these factors, addiction to watching television could be detrimental. The following scenarios outline specific instances where exposing children to watching television can be detrimental:

  • Children who watch violent scenes constantly have a fear that the world is a scary place and that something bad will happen to them. They become prone to aggressive behaviour. Furthermore, excessive viewing of violent acts gives children the unrealistic impression that the world around them is truly violent, thus, they become less sensitive to the pain and suffering of others because they have been ’taught’ to see violence as a way of self-defense.

  • Children who consistently spend more than 4 hours a day in watching TV are more likely to be overweight.

  • TV characters often freely display harmful behaviour such as smoking and drinking and use of illicit drugs.

  • The time spent on watching TV displaces other types of creative and imaginative activities.

  • The TV serves as a “baby-sitter” for parents who are time–constrained; these children are thus left to their own devices after watching various unsuitable programmes in a case where the television programmes are not monitored or censored.

In the recognition of the times in which we are, the television, like the internet, should only be allowed with clear rules and stipulated conditions at all times. In some homes, the TV set is put in the living room and switched on only when educative programmes are scheduled. The logic behind this is to discourage children from watching unsuitable programmes.

However, it is pertinent to draw attention to a salient point. Many parents make the mistake of channeling screen time to studying school books all of the time. While it is good to excel academically, close attention should also be paid to a child’s spiritual growth. He or she can be allowed to be involved in charitable activities which offer help to fellow human beings like the Red Cross, Girls Guide, Boys Scout and so on.

The child should also be encouraged to help with planting and harvesting in the gardens or flower pots, if there is no garden. This brings them closer to nature which is a stepping stone for any child’s spiritual growth.

The child should be encouraged in such activities as he begins to ask questions such as why planting two seeds of maize gives a harvest of many cobs with numerous corn seeds, who makes these plants grow and so on.

These experiences will lead him to great realizations on his true purpose and origin.

Above all, love for the children around us, to bring them to the right path, should be the ultimate goal of everyone who finds him or herself where children are. Let us all remember, there is no perfect child, in the same way that there is no perfect human being. The way we have successfully brought up our children as adults who are on the right path is what determines which parent and child is ’perfect’.

May we be helped.

The explanation given in this article is based on the writer’s understanding of the Work “In The Light of Truth”, The Grail Message by Abd-ru-shin.
The reader is hereby invited to personally examine this Work. Copies of the Work can be obtained from any of the addresses listed here.
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