Anup Y. Attavar

Anup Y. Attavar

As we all know, there have been various debates among the chattering classes on the pleasures and perils of watching television (TV) – particularly considering the well-being of children. While most TV channels are not able to produce engaging and meaningful content, TV is also sometimes termed as an “idiot box.”

Children today spend less time playing outdoors than any previous generation, a fact that is having disastrous consequences on their health, achievement levels, and overall progress. To fight this Play Deficit, social entrepreneur Darell Hammond founded non-profit KaBOOM! 15 years ago in Washington, D.C. with a vision of creating a great place to play within walking distance of every child in America.

Earlier, the First Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama, joined Nickelodeon in celebrating the network’s annual Worldwide Day of Play by sharing a special message. She encouraged kids and families to turn off their televisions and computers and to get out and play.

While kids are being advised by different people on the harms of watching TV, let’s see what Uncle Anup has to say. Here he counts five plain perils that children of all ages must consider.

1. Watching TV spoils the eyesight at a young age; it may not be possible to correct the sight again. Kids’ eyes are very tender and regular watching of TV causes a strain on the eyes, leading to problems of eyesight, burning sensation in the eyes and watering of the eyes. That is why doctors advise parents to restrict the time spent by kids in front of the TV.

2. Elders watch news and serials on TV. Kids also watch this, especially in homes with single TV sets. News is generally tragic in nature and other shows televised are normally long-drawn and much predictable. Kids’ innocent minds are polluted by destructive events portrayed in the news, serials or movies.

3. Kids’ focus on studies is lost and they lag behind in studies. There are instances where kids do their homework while watching TV. This is tacitly encouraged by parents, as they want to watch the TV programs themselves. Also, the parents are happy that they need not give attention to their kids during this time. This results in kids not being fully prepared for the next day’s class, thus affecting their performance.

4. The most important play time, especially time for physical sports is curtailed. Sports particularly team games instill a sense of team work, adaptability, tolerance and camaraderie in kids, which they learn to display in their adult life. Without these, the personality of kids is stunted and this could lead to behavioral problems in later life.

5. Kids tend to emulate their favorite ‘heroes’ on the TV screen. They are not able to differentiate between illusion and reality and try to ape the stunts on screen. This can be dangerous for them.

So, these are some of the factors that parents should keep in mind and encourage their children to spend more time on field sports rather than in front of a TV.

Anup Y. Attavar is an expert on issues related to children and young adults. His recent book “World Famous Indian Scientists” is an inspiration and motivation for youth to achieve excellence in their lives and careers.

Parents, teachers, and experts are invited to contribute their opinion articles for the RMN Kids site.

8 comments on “Five Reasons Kids Must Not Watch TV

  1. Mythili on said:

    Well said! Parents nowadays do not give quality time to their kids. It is high time our policy makers started educating parents on how to bring up their kids! Outdoor sports are a MUST as they foster team spirit, nurture tolerance, infuse a sense of give and take, and cultivate value, consequently leading to overall development as responsible citizens of society. This is the way we grew up! A couch potato, specially at a tender age tends to get carried away by what is shown on TV, which is usually sub-standard and devoid of value. Educationists (and parents) do need to realize the cost we all will be paying if we do not heed to the advice given by Anup in his article. But, the MILLION dollar question: IS ANYONE LISTENING???

  2. Anup uncle is absolutely right.He has explained the evils of kids getting glued to TV.The write up is excellent and an eyeopener for parents.Atleast after reading this article parents should themselves stop watching the idiot box and more so when the kids are awake.Let them give a try and watch the academic performance of their kids.
    Such more informative and true articles from Anup uncle must appear in future also.

  3. Mandyam Badarinarayana on said:

    The five reasons of Anup are apt & correct.Lack of secure outdoors in urban centers
    forces parents to offer easier option of TV even after being aware of the harm.The style of the article is meant for adults & guardians. For kids the same reasons should be
    addressed allegorically

  4. an eye-opener for all parents….
    stitch in time etc etc

  5. Nidhi Agrawal, Business Analyst on said:

    Very informative article!! The cons of watching television have been presented in a clear and crisp manner. Looking forward to more such articles.

  6. SantoshCA on said:

    I fully agree with your views.
    As someone has said “To bring up a child the right way, travel that way yourself…”
    I feel parents should also boycott watching TV in the presence of kids esp. during their study times. Otherwsie, kids will always have a temptation to watch TV.

  7. Suresh Bhave on said:

    Most of the terms such as ‘quality time’ are ill-defined. I think elders might guide children what to watch and what not to watch on TV. Or better still, set in the right context what is shown on TV. It is neither possible nor appropriate to do anything else. I remember that as a growing boy, I read anything that came to my hand and my reading was not restricted by my parents. I read John O’Hara and Alberto Moravia, who wrote fairly explicitly. I read Peyton Place when I was in the eighth standard. Also Hite Report on american sexuality. Nothing has gone wrong with me. I find the TV programs, particularly in Hindi and Marathi outstandingly inane. Children can watch them if they are not bored by them. All that we might do is to unseat them from before the TV and send them packing to the study table or bed at the appointed time.
    There are lot may distraction and there always have been. It cannot be helped because that is the way we are mentally wired.
    You will find my views quit against the prevailing wisdom, but I know I am right from personal experience

  8. Anup sir mentioned a great point that parents see TV and kids land up seeing the it with parents which affects them as their minds do not work like adults. With the invent of Internet the TV watching has been reduced as we can watch what we want rather than see whats shown. But TV watching for kids is addicting and without proper supervision it has disastrous affect on health and studies but if properly regulated then it can be educational and fun.

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