Turn Off That TV!

Television is a wonderful invention, there's no arguing that much. But like anything else, it's possible to have too much of a good thing. Television is no exception. It seems that many moms nowadays are using television in ways that go beyond occasional entertainment for their children.

While TV can be quite educational, it can't be and shouldn't be a substitute for education. While TV can keep kids amused, it shouldn't be used as a babysitter or a replacement for other types of amusement. While TV characters can be warm and funny, they can't take the place of family interaction or real relationships with others.

More and more, we're hearing about the less than beneficial effects on children of too many hours spent watching television. Many child psychologists believe that the excessive violence on TV is producing a generation of excessively violent children. If you watch or listen to the news or read the newspaper, there certainly seems to be validity to this belief. Violent crimes committed by children under 18 have risen by leaps and bounds. Researchers tell us that by the age of 14, most children have seen an average of 11,000 murders on TV.

And what about sex on TV? Nudity and graphic sex in television is now the norm. Recent studies suggest that the alarming increase in teen pregnancies is linked to being exposed to all that they see on television.

Obscene language? It's everywhere. Even television programs aired during family time, 7-9 pm, are often laced with cursing and lewd remarks, foul language, profanity of all sorts. In fact, there's been a 98% increase in vulgarity on television during "family time" since 1998. Do children really need to be exposed to all this? The answer is NO. They don't.

As a Stay At Home mom, you're there and available to monitor and supervise what your children watch on TV....what, when and for how long. Don't let this opportunity go to waste. Spend some time sitting down and watching TV with your kids, get familiar with the exact content of their favorite shows. You might be surprised. Many of the so-called family programs and even children's programs might not be anything you feel comfortable with having your children watch. But you won't know that if you park them in front of the set and go about your business, oblivious to what's on that screen.

Another downside of allowing kids to watch too much TV is that they won't be getting the physical activity they need by sitting there like lumps with their eyes glued to the television. Kids need to move and be active. That won't happen when they're sitting, or lying on the couch, engrossed in a television program.

Last but not least, watching too much television robs a child of the chance to use his own imagination to amuse himself. Kids need to exercise their imaginations as well as their bodies. Childhood games of make-believe are tremendously beneficial to children because they learn to use the power of their brains and imaginations in ways that will help them later in life. What if nobody had ever developed the use of imagination? There would be no automobiles, no telephones, no internet. We would never have discovered penicillin, a vaccine for measles and all the other childhood diseases that were fatal to children for thousands of years before somebody with imagination dreamed of ways to develop these things. As a matter of fact, there wouldn't be much of anything, would there? Without the incredible use of imagination, we'd all still be hunkered down in our caves, eating our food raw and communicating by grunts and gestures because nobody invented language or the alphabet to write things down.

Let your kids watch a healthy amount of wholesome shows that are age appropriate for a certain period of time each day, then turn off that TV! Get them up. Get them out! Give them a chance to discover the wonder of using their own imaginations!

Who knows? Your child may be the one who finds a cure for cancer some day if they learn how to harness their imaginations. But it won't happen while they're watching TV, will it?