In India, television began modestly on September 15, 1959 as a medium of education, rural and community development. The programmes were telecast twice a week for duration of one hour .Now with the invasion of cable channels one can have twenty four hour access to the programmes on TV.
Television caters to all the age groups. From children to old people everyone loves watching according to their tastes and preferences .Children are special audience for TV .Its programmes not only educate and entertain children but also inform and reinforce social values and ethics .During this age there is a curiosity among the kids to know and learn new things from different sources and television content plays a vital role in satisfying their curiosity.
Television is a powerful and interactive medium through which people learn many things. Children get more attractive to the colourful screen which takes them in their own world of fantasy- a world full of glamour. Earlier Televisions was an excellent aid for educational purposes at classroom level and at homes. Dorr (1986) is very explicit and contends that television plays four roles in children’s lives: one is that of time consuming activity – a relaxing reward after work is done. Second is that of Social (non -social) event an opportunity to snuggle with parents or to escape from quarrelsome children. Third is that of informative procession task – a medium that requires looking and listening simultaneously and remembering a charm of events. Fourth and final role is that of an information providing experience – a source of knowledge what to buy, how to play, fight and love.
In short television is a most influential medium through which children learn a number of things from different channels.
Researches on television and children have concluded that television contents have both positive as well as negative impact on children. On the one hand ,television viewing helps in seeking knowledge regarding different things and on other hand, it inhibits children’s imaginative abilities (Atkin, 1978, Comstocket .al ,1978,Dorr 1986 ,Singer ,1982)
Impact of Television
Every coin has two sides. So does TV’s!
- Information Revolution – With an advent of information technology, unlimited number of channels have provided the facility to watch any content. Children are now better equipped with knowledge regarding different places in India. Programmes like ‘Discovery of India ‘ helped the children to know more about India and world around them . The epic stories of Ramayana and Mahabharatha helped them to know about our culture and ethics. Similarly, programmes like Satyamev Jayate helped children to know about the problems of society.
- Platform to show their talent – These days TV provides a good platform to children to show their talent. Programmes like India Got Talent, Junior India Idol, Dance India Dance little champs etc are good platforms to exhibit their hidden talent.
- Motivation – TV programmes motivate children to participate in various competitions in their schools. It enhances the level of confidence.
- Creativity – Some programmes help the children to enhance their creativity. ART: Attack (Mad) on Disney is a good example through which children learn about art and craft work.
- Power of imagination – ‘Stupid of Science ‘ programme on National Geographic enhances the imaginative power of the children. These programmes take them in their own world where they visualize and they come with their own discoveries.
- Violence – Hundred of studies have examined how non – violent programmes on TV effects children. They get more aggressive and violent after watching such TV programmes like ‘WWE’ on Tens Sports.
- Sexual content – Children come in contact with sexual messages and images on TV very easily. These messages often lead to harmful effects on the minds of children.
- Disturbance in Health – One of the most harmful impacts of TV is on the health of children. Children watch while eating. This effect the physical and mental health of children. While watching TV they are also influenced by the advertisements of consuming unhealthy food. This leads to the problem of obesity, eyesight problem, laziness, attention problems and sedentary behaviours.
- Brand Conscious– These days children are becoming more brand conscious then adults. They want more branded clothes, Toys and even food. Thanks to TV ads!
- Cut on outdoor activities – All day and no play make Jack a dull boy. True with these days children. Parents’ complaint that number of channels and programmes has changed the habit of their children. They stop playing games, interaction with people. This results in passivity among children.
It is rightly said that excess of everything is bad. In this case, we have a very good tool in our hand that is ‘Remote ‘. In case of children, parents have to take an extra care of children and their viewing habits. Children are like clay. The way you mould the habit they will take the shape.
Guide your children:
- TV out of the bedroom – Great people keep library in their room and TV in their common room. If you want your child to be great and successful, keep TV in a common area of your house.
- Don’t eat in front of TV– Avoid your children giving meal while watching TV. Their whole attention is towards the screen which encourages mindless munching and that leads to weight gain.
- Spend more time with your children – Children want entertainment; want their queries to be answered. Don’t ignore their questions. Spend quality time with children so that they have less interest in the ‘Screen World ‘.
- Watch with your child – Develop the habit of watching TV with your child. When you watch with your child, guide them side -by side about what you see .Tell them more about reality and problems of the society. In this way they will not be misguided with the information.
- Set a Time – Everything has a time. If your child has a time for going the school and coming back then why don’t you fix the time for watching TV? Try to set a time when you are also free and when educational programmes are broadcast.
In nutshell, every change is difficult in the beginning but with passage of time it becomes a habit. Don’t allow TV sets to love your children. Educate them how to love, when to love and what to love.