Friday, August 1, 2008

Does TV has a positive influence in our child?

Over the years, parents admitted that they use TV to baby-sit their kids. Filipino children aged one-and-a-half upwards watched an average of four to six hours of TV a day - that's about half their waking hours, an average of 12 hours a day. For these kids, TV has become an electronic babysitter. Family Life and Child Development specialist said that there are serious trade-offs in rearing children this way, as watching TV does little to stimulate their brain development. They recommend limiting their viewing time to no more than 15 to 30 minutes a day.

Most TV Programs including cartoons which are supposedly suitable for children, carry sexual, aggressive and violent content. TV is packed also with advertisements that promote consumerism and unhealthy habits such as smoking, drinking and eating junk foods. If its learning we Moms after, why don't we let our toddler play instead. These has been proven to be the best way young children learn. Play stimulates all five senses, whereas watching TV stimulates only two- and not in an entirely good way at that. The fast cutting of images can be visually jarring, and the noise desensitizes children to the different sounds around them.

Another foundation for learning is the ability to concentrate - a habit of mind formed in early childhood. Study shows that children who watch too much TV have difficulty completing tasks in school, let alone focusing on the task at hand. TV gets in the way of habits of mind. Study also shows that excessive and inappropriate TV viewing excerbates the symptoms of learning disabilities and attention deficit disorders. A child who is read to and conversed with has a definite language advantage over a child left to watch TV.

Toddlers need movement as their muscles and sensory-motor skills are developing at a very fast rate. Clearly, leaving them to lounge around in front of the TV does not support this development, and we might be unwittingly turning them into couch potatoes very early on. Another unhealthy habit toddlers might acquire from their parents and caregivers is eating while watching TV. Excessive TV viewing coupled with uncontrolled snacking has also been known to lead to weight problems in both adults and children. To prevent this from happening to our child, train them to eat and to watch TV separately.

Research further shows that in early brain development, toddlers have a critical need for direct human interactions. This allows them to develop appropriate social and emotional skills and lays the foundation for establishing relationships with people. When children spend lots of time interacting with TV characters, they might confuse the real world with the simulated world of TV. A telltale sign is when they talk mostly about TV characters instead of real people and events.

In the end, its our choice whether TV becomes a positive or a negative influence in a child's life. We are not saying that TV has no value. It can be a part of a learning environment, but it can never take the place of a parent. Watching our toddler's TV viewing habits and seeing to it that he develops healthy ones -will contribute greatly to his successful overall development. Finally, whenever we choose to let our child watch TV, be careful that the TV does not end up watching our child.

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