Does turning on the television provide any source of educational value? The answer seems to be divided. However for the most part, the educational value really depends on what types of programs that you are watching or are allowing your children to watch. There are numerous quality educational programs, nature programs and documentaries that are designed to inform the watcher of the subject matter. But then, there are other shows that just seem to lack value at all. How do you pick what shows are right for you or your family? Take time to watch together.
The amount of time children spend in front of the television has slowly increased over time. Some kids under the age of five will almost thirty-two hours in front of the television. Television has become a major part of children’s lives. The shows that children are watching should be monitored. There are wonderful programs to be viewed such as Sesame Street and Wild Kratts. No matter what show is being aired; allow children to ask questions which will usually happen throughout the program until the commercials come on. When an adult provides feedback for the program, the child can continue to learn.
Tips for Parents
The television should be turned off during mealtimes. Mealtimes should be a chance to talk about the school day, recent field trip or planning the next time to visit the grandparents. Having the television on while eating can be a bad habit.
Television should not be used as a way to discipline your child. Television should not have a value in this way. Television should be about learning together as a family.
Limit television time. There is a big world out there to explore. Encourage children to read or do other activities before turning on the television. I understand that we all have busy schedules but if possible try to get outdoors and explore the local park or just take a quick walk around the block. On rainy or snowy nights where getting outside is not an option, consider having a game night, arts and crafts night or other family activity away from the television. You can make a fort out of blankets and allow the child to play dress up; try activities that will inspire creativity through imagination.
Television can be a wonderful tool for learning. There are programs that will allow the viewer to explore new worlds or adventures. But there are programs that are violent. If you allow your children to watch these types of programs, take time to explain the difference between the real world and the world shown on television; discuss other resolution methods and consequences.