Television – the great satan

I read a parenting article under the above title. The author, a caring mother of two young kids wrote an amusing diatribe about how futuristic archaeologists would discover a TV set in every household from the 21st century and automatically think that it was some kind of god which everyone worshipped. She went on to talk about how she had banned her kids from watching TV during the week.

I cancelled my DSTV about a year ago when I realised I was spending more time accessing news on the internet than on TV and that it was a lot more fun watching Man United thrash the rest of the Premiership in the local pub.

Mostly we watch DVD’s and I must say that I personally don’t agree with the bad reputation TV has for kids. We have a selection of child-appropriate films, which my kids like to watch over and over again, before choosing something new. Sometimes they come to my room when I’m watching something more appropriate for me. I have a weakness for fictional films loosely based on actual historic events, like the Rome series, or Braveheart.

The sex I don’t have an issue with. I’ve explained to my kids what’s going on, and why the two characters are jumping around naked on top of each other. So now they see sex and nudity as a natural part of life, with the provisos of course that it has to happen between consensual adults and all the other morally correct executions of the deed.

Explicit violence is a problem. I remember being freaked out a little bit myself the first time I saw Braveheart. Limbs being hacked off, horses being slaughtered etc. As most reasonable parents would do, I would not allow my kids to watch the movie.

One day however they came running into the room asking me to mediate a dispute. Soon I got caught up in their drama and forgot about the film. Next thing I know, Maddison is glued to the screen wanting to know why “the man’s face has so much blood.”

I explained that it was a movie, and that the people don’t really die, but she still looked at me like I was lying or hiding something or that, horror among horrors, I was treating her like a naïve child (she is three years old, you know). Thank the lord for the special features option. I took her there and proved to her that the horse wasn’t really run through with a spear, and that the blood was just make-up, and look, the dead guy with the beard is alive again…

She gets it, and Hannah got it a long time ago. I suspect it has spoiled the illusion of films for them a bit, but at least they are now able to distinguish between acting and real life. Bottom line for me is, watch what your children watch, watch with them and provide a running commentary on what’s actually going on. I find that my little ones believe every word I say, despite what’s happening on the box. And that works for me.

What works for you? Do you believe TV is a no-no for kids?

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
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