There was once quite a strange character. People called him Weird Baird. One day, Baird connected his house to four of his friends’ houses with electric wires. He did not notice when one of the wires hung down too low. While Baird and his friends were experimenting with electricity, a poor driver in a coach swerved to avoid the wire and crashed his vehicle against a tree. Sometime later, Baird built a glider and took it onto the roof of his house. He got into it. A friend had to push it to make it fly. He pushed but the glider crashed down to the ground! Luckily, Baird was not hurt. He never liked flying after this! There seemed to be no end to Baird’s experiments. Once, Baird tried to make diamonds with electricity. He didn’t succeed but he did blow up the electricity system of the whole town. There was no electricity in any house that day.
Are you wondering who such a person could be? His full name was John Logie Baird, and he had invented the television in 1925.
When Baird invented the television, he did not know that his invention would create such a huge impact on the lives of billions of people around the world. With thousands of TV shows from different parts of the world, viewers, especially children, are enamoured with TV and spend a lot of their time viewing TV content. Today it has become relevant to ponder over the question—Is watching television harmful for children?
One line of opinion suggests that TV is helpful for children. It helps them know about the world around them. There are lots of educational programmes telecast on TV. It helps them to relax. After a hard day at school and after doing their homework, they need to relax for a while! Television also offers a choice. People can always find something of their interest to watch. Television has become an important part of our lives. We depend on TV for news, and entertainment. We enjoy watching sports on TV. Television is good if we think about what we watch, choose the programmes sensibly and don’t sit in front of it for too many hours.
On the other hand, many believe that the side-effects of TV outweigh its benefits. The most harmful aspect of TV is that children have less time for interacting with parents or even friends. They have stopped playing outdoors. Their physical activities have reduced to a minimum. TV viewing puts a great strain on the eyes. It is also not good for a child’s mental development.
Besides, even if there are good educational programmes, children often choose to watch cartoons. Some cartoon programmes are educative and instructive but some may promote bad manners and violence. In fact, parents must be aware of the content in cartoons that are available for their children. Some popular programs that children in our country enjoy are banned in other countries. Sometimes parents allow passive viewing of programmes that are not meant for children. They may not be aware of it, but children are very receptive to what they see and hear. Children are influenced by the violence they watch on television. This may make them irritable and aggressive. It can also lead to negative behaviour in children. Parents need to set a good example for children. They should be selective about the programmes they watch with their children.
This apart, the advertisements of junk food shown on TV only promote unhealthy eating habits. Too much of television viewing is responsible for excessive weight gain amongst children.
Children should follow some tips to reduce the ill-effects of watching TV. For example, they should watch television for a short duration. Also, it is important to keep a distance of about three and a half metres from the television screen while watching. It is advisable to watch television with the lights on. The worst effect on the eyes occurs when television is viewed for long periods from a very close distance, and without adequate lighting.
Children can be encouraged to follow a disciplined routine so far as TV viewing is concerned. Parents can also allot a particular time for viewing TV. Avoid watching TV while having meals. TV may upset children’s sleeping schedule. Let the children record, in a diary, the amount of time they spend watching television. If it is more than 40 to 60 minutes a day, it needs to be checked. Parents should help develop other interests in their children, such as reading books or playing any sport they like.
TV is here to stay. We can’t really stop watching TV. But we can learn to make the best out of it. Watch programmes that are not only entertaining but also tell you something new, that make you learn something. Remember, watching TV for a short time each day is fine, but too much of TV viewing can be bad.