Bad Parents, Good TV

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4.1.1

Hoorah & Hooray!

“Spending hours watching TV or playing computer games each day does not harm young children’s social development, say experts.

The Medical Research Council (MRC) team who studied more than 11,000 primary school pupils says it is wrong to link bad behaviour to TV viewing.”BBC Website

Finally a research project I can agree with. How can you blame TV or gaming for bad behaviour? It’s lazy, ignorant and dangerous to label people this way. For years parents have been castigated by psychologists and commentators for sitting their kids down in front of the TV before their fifth birthday and making them feel like they are doing their children a disservice. TV and games are fine in moderation like anything is and it’s good to see this report to counterbalance the negative onslaught we’ve had in current years.

The biggest single contributing factor to the outcome of a child and their behaviour is down to the parents – obviously there will be exceptions but for the majority this will be the case. If you sit your kid in front of an 18 film or game when they are only seven or eight then that’s the parent’s fault not the technology. The TV doesn’t bully, hit, ignore, punish or belittle the young viewer anymore than it does us the adult one – it can educate, inform, bring our world and fictional realms alive to us. Just as me and my mates played as He-Man characters in our playground, my own son is joining his friends as one of the Avengers – nothing has changed. I would argue that TV opens our minds and allows a greater level of creativity if used and monitored correctly.

Parents who let their kids watch TV, read to them, spend time with them on their hobbies and interests will generally turn out okay – there will always be a bad apple in every basket but on the whole most parents produce well-rounded kids. The parents who ignore their kids, just buy them things instead of spending time with them and don’t take them to groups and activities (organised or just with family) are going to find they struggle socially because they haven’t built up the skills. I just need to look at our two and see the progression because of all the hard work Jill has put in with them. Drama, swimming, dancing, toddlers, play dates are all part of their weekly lives and with Jenna I can see her starting to learn about sharing, negotiating and playing with others – she might be an evil mastermind but she still likes to play.

It’s very easy to point at things like computer games as a problem, but me and Jake will play Mariokart (he’s better than me already!) or he will show people what he is doing on his DS and involve them because he’s a sociable kid. I used to play computer games – still do on the iPad but with apps now – and it has always been a social thing. You would go round to each others houses and play games and chat and interact – it’s just another way of playing.

“Everything in moderation” strikes again and the common sense police are back in charge…for just now.

JD

 

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