Thursday, April 06, 2006

Changing times.....and so the worries

With changing times the aspirations, habits and culture of our kids also are undergoing a dramatic shift. I’m sure all of us are quite amazed by the IQ level and street smartness shown by the kids of today. One of most important engagement of today kids happens to be the television and Satellite channels. I guess kids today can do without their parents but can’t do without Cartoon’s, Movies and Music channels.

TV seems to be the biggest influence on the generation today, be it food, cloth, music, ring tones, nothing seems to have escaped from the impact of the electronic media today. Sometimes you are faced with piquant situations in your own family when you almost become the villain in the family if you disturb your folks while watching any cartoon, serial, games or some weird www stuff. We generally shrug it off thinking that it’s natural for the child to behave that way but a reputed Media House has come with some disturbing analysis on the influence of TV on kids, Fox News has a report on this.

From obesity and social isolation to early sexual initiation and aggressive and violent behavior, 15 new studies link exposure to media images with a broad range of negative health, behavior and lifestyle issues in children and teens.

Moreover, the studies found that the harm begins early in the preschool years and continues through adolescence.

The findings reveal interesting patterns:

--The more time kids spend watching violent TV programs, the less time they spend with their friends. This isn't true for nonviolent programs.

--The more time kids spend watching TV with friends, the more time they spend doing other things with their friends.

--Kids in a room with the TV on aren't outside getting more exercise. But they're also seeing TV ads. And TV ads on children's programming tend to sell high-calorie junk foods.

--They watch more TV -- becoming even more socially isolated, and even angrier.

The worst impact of TV seems to be having on the sexual behaviour of Kids as they are highly influnced by the sexual and adult content of TV.By the time children are in their teens, it may be too late to begin restricting the kinds of TV they can watch.

And if you though your child was watching some gyan ke batein on TV here's a warning "You could be an upper-income family, with lots of educational toys in the room, watching educational videos. And your child is still at three times higher risk of overweight than kids who do not watch TV." The kids who watched the most TV were most likely to be overweight. That was especially true of girls, the study shows.

"Television viewing should be regarded as an important contributing factor to childhood obesity," write the researchers in the International Journal of Obesity.And it's not just the content the commercials alos matters.Television can expose your child to things that you have tried to protect them from, especially violence, drug abuse, sex, etc. In addition to the actual television show, your child can also be influenced by what she sees during the commercials. One study showed that Television-viewing habits and sleep disturbance in school children, found that watching too much TV during the day or at bedtime often caused 'bedtime resistance, sleep onset delay, and anxiety around sleep, followed by shortened sleep duration.'

Viewing programs with your children

Selecting developmentally appropriate shows

Placing limits on the amount of television viewing (per day and per week)

Turning off the TV during family meals and study time

Turning off shows you don't feel are appropriate for your child In addition, parents can help by doing the following: don't allow children to watch long blocks of TV, but help them select individual programs. Choose shows that meet the developmental needs of your child. Some children's shows on public TV are appropriate, but soap operas, adult sitcoms, and adult talk shows are not. Set certain periods when the television will be off. Study times are for learning, not for sitting in front of the TV doing homework. Meal times are a good time for family members to talk with each other, not for watching television.


Mayank Krishna said...

Bhai, this is a serious issue. The way today's kids are behaving, things might not be so sweet in future. And kids are not to blame. The fact is that parents, in the name of affection and freedom, are spoiling their children. This idiot box menace is real.

But this addiction to TV, as of now, is limited to metros and big cities in India. But who knows kids in a distant Darbhanga or Gorakhpur might get addicted soon. These days I see children prefering cartoon network to playing outdoor games. And many parents have no problem with that. This might have an adverse effect on personality development and social skills of today's children.

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