Nowadays, in life areas of children’s education and parenting it is very popular to speak and discuss about the television being a bad, negative and degrading household appliance. Often we like to call the TV a baby-sitter or people who watch much TV couch potatoes. It shows our negative attitude towards TV and its offered programmes. But it doesn’t show our usual reality in the everyday life. Therefore I’m not sure I could completely agree with this opinion. I see three main discussion points about TV in a child’s life: How much time to let her spend watching TV? How to manage useful information on TV programmes? What does my child learn?
Many parents are worried about the time which is spent on watching TV and cannot understand where the line is between useful watching and the danger of damaged eyesight. They worry about their decision accuracy and about the point of the society. Once I asked the doctor what is a good limit for watching TV. She said: “Don’t watch TV!” Okay, I think it is the best way but in real life I see it is not working. Everyone is spending some time on TV. The question is still current. How much time do you let your child spend on TV watching. In our family we are more realistic as the doctor mentioned. We choose a watching limit for our child of forty minutes per day. I think this time is enough to ensure healthy vision. I suggest that everyone in modern life chooses a realistic time of watching TV and more important don’t let your child break the roles.
TV is not just a baby-sitter but has also become a teacher which speaks in interesting, fascinating and clear language. It is a teacher which is at the same age and understands children’s needs and interests. Many programmes are specially made and produced for children to help them get new experience and knowledge. Of course, that is television’s aim, to becom a friend and there is the danger. A child would prefer to spend time with the TV but avoid the contact with peers. Therefore I think it is very important to learn about the mass media. How to use them to our own benefit? How to understand and analyse the information, situations, ideas offered? It is work for parents, teacher’s, adults who need to discover the goals of mass media. Research shows that your child will learn much more effectively if he watches television with an adult who can explain what he doesn’t understand and answer questions. (Livingstone, 2008) Then I would like to agree that TV is very good base to speak about affairs in the world, about different situations in life, about different opinions. TV is a great force which could affect our lives but we need to learn how to use it to our benefit not to let it use us.
The third question is about TV as a learning tool. Yes, I could understand people who worry about the content of television. There is so much violence, intolerance, sexuality and other bad sides of life. There is so much aggression. And you see that your child likes that or is scared of that but she chooses to look at these situations. Why do I need to let her to watch these scenes? Well, you don’t! Adults need to choose programmes, movies, cartoons which are suitable for the children’s ages, interests, needs, development. Children’s TV also encourages humour and offers stories strong on the difference between right and wrong – and knowledge about TV characters becomes useful capital in the playground. (Livingstone, 2008) There are also so many programmes and cartoons about learning letters, numbers, songs, language. For example, my child likes to watch the cartoon “Dora the Explorer”. Sometimes I choose to watch it with him, sometimes I do something different but I know that these cartoons teach him language, manners, how to choose the right things and words, how to navigate in the area. This is also learning.
Anyway, as the critics saying, I would like to point out that TV could be an excellent learning tool if we as adults are interested in choosing the right selection of programmes. I wouldn’t say that television is just a degrading household appliance. I see that TV could become a good teacher if adult’s teach children how to use this mass media to their benefit.
Livigstone T. (2008) Child of Our Time: Early Learning.- London: Bantam Press.