Some of the ways in which you can control your child’s TV obsession can include interacting with kids, controlling TV time, indulging them in other activities such as chores, giving them good books appropriate for their age, encouraging them to play games with their siblings, encouraging them to take up outdoor games and taking them to the nearest park or playground, etc.
Television has become a very dear family member. The most adored and observed. TV has a special hold on kids. TV addiction is one of the most rampant problems in kids. The influence is such that their favorite TV character becomes their hero and they try to imbibe in them their qualities and mannerisms.
TV character obsession has both positive and negative effects. Kids who watch programs like Ramayana or Mahabharata may learn to be righteous and follow the examples of their favorite characters like Rama, Krishna and Arjun or follow Duryodhana or Ravana who even though have negative traits are powerful and get their way. Cartoon characters like Barney or Dora the Explorer, give kids positive lessons. Whereas characters like Chhota Bheem or Ben 10, even though portrayed as heroes, indirectly promote violence.
Source: Kids World Fun
Signs of obsession
The best form of admiration is imitation. If you see the kids change their actions, like gait and talk, it is a sign that you need to observe who is the influence? Kids, who are fans of Jerry from the Tom and Jerry fame, are seen imitating the mouse’s walk and mannerisms.
Change in behavior
The normally sweet child may slowly show signs of aggression and violence, influenced by the TV characters they admire. Mutant Ninja Turtle fans may go around acting their moves.
The obsession with a certain character might reach a peak when the child thinks he is that character and completely behaves like that character. Horrid Henry fan may not think twice to misbehave or trouble others without any guilt because their hero does it with so much ease.
One more sign of obsession is to take up the dressing style of their favorite TV character. Girls might like to dress up like princesses and wear fancy gowns. Ben 10 fans want the same green shirt that’s synonymous with him. They may also want to collect all sorts of miniature dolls and accessories from the market to relate to the imaginary world of their TV hero.
How to control
Interact with kids
First thing a parent has to do is to recognize the obsession and if it is adverse then explain it to the child that such imitation will only cause harm to him/her and others. It is important for the child to realize that the character he adores is only imaginary and cannot be taken as a role model for real life situations. It is important for the child to understand that he needs to work towards enhancing his inborn personality rather than take up someone else’s.
Control TV time
Whether obsessed or not it is always better to regulate the TV time for kids. Anything more than thirty minutes of TV at a stretch is harmful. It not only causes attention deficit, also serious health issues like poor eyesight, obesity, spine curvature disorders. Restricted TV time can be given as a reward for good behavior or for helping with chores around the house or completing school work on time. Let not the TV dominate kids’ free time.
Indulge in other activities
Watching TV sometimes may have positive side too, if they are watching programs that improve kids’ knowledge. But there are so many recreational activities that a child can indulge in which will enrich his life in many ways.
- Books are great companions and entertainers. They not only improve a child’s knowledge and vocabulary, but also improve his imagination and creativity.
- Hobbies are a great way to keep a child active. Stamp collecting, drawing, painting, music, dance – all these activities are good for a child’s all-round growth.
- Tap children’s talents. Being a part of a Debate Club teaches them the art of Speech. Learning music or musical instrument, art and sports classes are also a good way of keeping their mind and body active.
- Playing games with siblings and parents also can be very entertaining and also improves family bonding.
Biggest adverse effect of TV is that kids have forgotten to step out and enjoy the fresh breeze, the sunshine and all the outdoor activities.
- Encourage outdoor games. This will help kids get some action, which strengthens their bones, immune system and also aids physical growth. Cycling, playing cricket, basketball, football outdoors with friends is a lot better than sitting glued to the idiot box.
- A trip to the park or playground also gives them enough energy burning activities and also interaction with other kids will earn them new friends.
Childhood is a time when we build and cement a child’s character and confidence. For that, parents have to put in a little more effort to see that they are both active and on the move. TV is only for short time recreation. Obsessed with TV and its characters will restrain our children’s growth and make them lose their opportunities to fine tune their personality.