Urban kids (aged 6-17) are spending an average of five hours watching television a day, according to a 2010 survey by ASSOCHAM (Associated Chamber of Commerce and Industry in India) which covered major Indian cities. 52 percent of children surveyed had a television in their own rooms.
Excessive television viewing is linked to aggression, anti-social behaviour, obesity and a host of psychological problems. While the ill-effects cannot be resolved immediately, there are ways to make television hours more productive.
Encourage your children to watch interactive programmes like Dora the Explorer, which encourage children to think deeply, or to watch quiz and debate shows.
Most programmes require passive viewing, and hours of that can dull the mind, so interactive programmes are a better bet.
There is no substitute for getting directly involved in what your kids are doing. Watching your children’s programmes will help you identify those which could have a negative impact on them.
Discussing jointly viewed programmes and issues raised can provide valuable food for thought.
Transform inaction into action
Galvanise passive-viewing programmes to get everyone into action. If your children watch music programmes, discuss music-related topics and encourage your kids to learn to play a musical instrument, sing, or attend a concert.
If your children love watching cricket, encourage them to play during the weekends.
Keep thinking about how you can link ideas and themes on television programmes to real-time activities.
Plan family limits
Dont just set viewing limits for children. Set them for all family members. Ideally, no one should be watching television for more than one-two hours per day. Get the family to decide which are the best programmes, so they can be viewed together in the permissible hours.
– Simi Kurien