Television has a powerful influence on the life of children. Children tend to think and act according to what they see, rather than what they hear. I started having an interest in TV while I was still young, as I was attracted to cartoons and wildlife. Children’s programs also amazed me. However, I came to realize that I wasted much time watching TV programs that could not help me in life. In her article, “The One-Eyed Monster, and Why I Don’t Let Him In,” Kingsolver tries to explain that television (the one-eyed monster) influences human beings negatively and that televisions do not provide full information (136). Some contents are lost during the reporting while some adverts are irrelevant. Contrary to what Kingsolver referred to as content loss, the television provides what is most essential, both visual and sound. Although the television provides updated information, as well as entertainment in the house, television has been blamed for airing false news and inappropriate content.
A rational person knows that there is always a time for everything, and watching TV is part of that time, at least for many Americans. However, Kingsolver could not think of how a child or an adult could sit for three hours and forty-six minutes daily watching TV, which is the average time that Americans spend gazing at the system (135). Since my childhood, I have been watching TV, though sparingly, as my parents could not let us glare the system for the whole day. They used to tell us that the TV is bad for our health and that most of the contents in TV are meant for adults. Thus, they would only allow us to watch kids’ programs that were aired before bedtime. I used to complain most of the time because my parents forced us to watch programs that they thought were suitable for us. However, I later came to realize that my parents were right when they restricted us from watching TV for many hours. Most of my childhood friends who spent much of their time watching TV had become obese while some let their talents blow like the wind by staying indoors most of the time.
As I grew older, I learned other interesting activities that could keep me away from the TV. I valued friendship and socialization more than TV. I am an extrovert, and I prefer being outside the house to being enclosed together with the family members, watching the prime news and soap operas. I encountered many children who coerced their parents to buy the items that they saw on TV. Many parents have suffered due to their children developing habits that they mimic from TV. However, I developed an interest in reading newspapers, where I can get all the information that I need, including entertainment. Newspapers offer me the information that I need, depending on which columns I prefer to read. Television forced viewers to believe that what they are watching is exactly what is happening throughout the world (Kingsolver 138). I watch TV whenever I am with family members, but I do not have to rush home to catch up with the latest news.
Whenever I hang around on TV, I do it for entertainment and passing time. When I was young, cartoons amused me, and this made me develop a habit of watching TV for entertainment purposes. I did not see anything educational on TV. I was never attracted to current news, so I chose to do other things that could offer entertainment. Children learn more through seeing than hearing. I was lucky to have a bit of restriction, as my parents made sure that we undertake our homework first before sitting down to watch TV. I watch animal programs to learn about the animal kingdom and nature. Sometimes I rely on TV to know how the weather will be throughout the day.
I usually watch TV to supplement what I may have missed in newspapers or websites. As I grew up, I began having an interest in soccer, and this made me become a fan of the English Premier League. I like to learn soccer tactics, as well as understand soccer rules, as playing soccer is one of my favorite hobbies. I normally go to restaurants to watch English teams playing football, but I have not turned this practice into a habit. TV viewers are motivated to watch their favorite programs to gratify their needs and desires at that particular time (Gunter and McAleer 17). I like to be entertained, but I am not a slave of TV, as I only watch prime news whenever I am at home. Being adventurous made me start watching animal programs and historical features. Not all television programs are inappropriate, as some of them offer religious advice and life experiences.
I chose not to stop watching TV entirely because some of the TV programs are quite educative and informative. Programs, such as Discovery and National Geographic inform us about wildlife while reality shows that deal with dancing and singing can encourage young people to nurture their talents. One can catch a glimpse of what is happening around the world before the newspaper can do that. It is extremely cheap to watch the news on TV than buy a newspaper. However, I do not like the way some TV news is presented. In an attempt to look like newspapers, the news presenters bring irrelevant information and pictures, thus ending up blowing the main message. The fundamental point behind visuals in newscasting is to emphasize information that the reader would like to reach the viewers (Kingsolver 139). I am usually motivated to watch TV because it will show me the exact event, and how it happened, and not how the newsreader would prefer it to happen.
Many people develop a habit of watching TV from childhood. TV programmes can benefit children’s development, but can also influence them negatively. Nothing else goes on when the family is watching TV, as everyone concentrates on what is going on TV. Television programmers have never been successful in restricting children from accessing unnecessary programmes on TV. Children are always eager to discover what their parents termed as prohibitive programmes. Children need to be guided on when and what to watch on TV, but this has always been a challenge to many parents. Parents should ensure that children are not exposed to inappropriate programmes that are aired on TV. They should teach them how to plan their day so that they would not find much time to hang on to the TV. If children are taught to read newspapers and novels, they would develop a reading culture that would keep them away from the TV even in their adulthood. No one can die due to a lack of TV exposure. However, I do not advocate total restriction to TV viewing, as Kingsolver did, as some TV programmes can influence children intellect
Gunter, Barrie, and Jill L. McAleer. Children and Television. London: Routledge, 2005. Print.
Kingsolver, Barbara. Small Wonder. London: Faber & Faber, 2002.