Do you know what your child is watching on TV?
Here is a list of TV programs that may seem perfectly harmless, but actually pose a detrimental impact on your child’s behavioral development.
Jennifer always took great pride in being a watchful mother. She was watchful to a point of making sure that even her kids’ blankets were coated with disinfectant after every wash. Little did she know that she had a lot more to be vigilant about when it came to her children’s well being.
One evening, Jennifer was busy with her dinner preparations. The kids were watching television, and she was about to set the dining table. Suddenly, she heard a statement that made her eyes widened with shock.
“I’m gonna fry your eyeballs if you don’t give me the remote!” screamed her eldest child, aged 8. She rushed into the room in time to see her younger son, aged 5, retaliate by throwing the remote at his sibling’s face.
At this junction, Jennifer shrieked in distress,” Your brother’s eyeballs are not fish balls for you to fry! Where did you two learn to fight like this?!”
So where DID her kids learn to fight like that? If we backtrack on the scenario, we’d find the answer to Jennifer’s question – TELEVISION.
Like Jennifer, many parents overlook certain programs on prominent channels aired during the day that are not child-friendly. This is dangerous because television offers the most effective form of learning – Observational Learning. This is when the children learn by absorbing and mimicking what they see on television as a sponge takes to water. If unmonitored, these programs hold a great influence over your child’s behavior and can produce negative actions in a child.
We did a quick check on some of the programs aired during a child’s waking hours. Frankly, we are a little alarmed the kids have access to these shows and want to create an awareness and alert you of some of the programs that seem perfectly harmless.
Here are some of the programs that your child should steer away from.
We want to highlight “The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy” because of its grim theme and the attitudes kids pick up from the behaviors of these characters.
The cartoon is about two children, Billy and Mandy, who tricked the Grim Reaper (Messenger of death) into being their “best friend” for eternity when they won a bet against him. Mandy is rude to every character in the cartoon throughout each episode. She rarely smiles and abuses all the other characters. In addition, she exhibits defiant mannerisms like rolling her eyes, snide remarks, rudeness and arrogance. All of which are readily mimicked by kids. In addition, the show’s characters evolve around the concept of morbidity and negativity.
From Reel To Real Attitude Problems
According to Albert Bandura, a psychologist and professor of Social Science in Psychology at Stanford University, one of the aspects of television programs that children are most affected by are real-life situations, aka reality shows.
A reality television show that promotes a child’s undesirable social behavioral learning is “My Super Sweet 16”.
This show has parents succumbing to their teenager’s whimsical tantrums as they badger their parents for ridiculously expensive gifts ranging from a Bentley Continental GTC (USD 189, 990) to hiring celebrities like Rihanna as guests to their extravagant birthday parties.
Children at the impressionable age of 7 to 13, may think that this is the norm for their peers, and imitate the behaviors of these real-life brats and issue unreasonable demands.
The Disrespect of Parents
Children have the tendency of relating to a situation they see in a cartoon. Even if it may have nothing to do with them at all. This could be a boon or a bane, but definitely a bane when it comes to watching “Fairly Odd Parents”.
The show is about an average boy who lives with his ‘dim-witted’ parents. His life is miserable as his parents are rarely home and he is bullied daily. Things take a turn when he receives two fairy godparents who grant him wishes.
In almost every episode, the plot has Timmy’s parent’s lying to him because they have no trust in him. Children then ‘relate’ to this situation and think that their parents are doing the same thing to them.
The show also portrays parents and other adult figures as ridiculously stupid. Children absorb subtle messages promoting disrespect towards adults. They then start to develop similar behaviors towards adults.
It’s nice when cartoons spark off a child’s imagination. Kids set off to battle imaginary evil forces in their own living room. But it takes an unpleasant turn when they start mimicking ‘Kung Fu’ moves all day long.
According to Kids Health, an online website, television has a stronger influence over children’s behavior than their parents’ dictation. For example, even though parents taught their kids that it’s not right to hit, the kids continue to do so because television says it’s OK to bite, hit, or kick if you’re the good guy. This can lead to confusion as they try to figure the difference between right and wrong.
An example of a cartoon depicting such messages is “Super Hero Monkey Team Hyper Force Go!” This series follows the adventures of 5 robotic monkeys and a human boy, Chiro.
Chiro transforms into a brave fighter protecting their planet from the forces of evil. The whole good guy-bad guy idea is represented in the cartoon, with violence inserted in the forms of kicks and laser beams.
I was on the bus the other day when I overheard two primary school students discussing Desperate Housewives’ Gabrielle’s sexual antics with her gardener. I felt like a 40-year-old virgin by the time I finished eaves-dropping on their conversation. They actually knew more than I ever did.
First of all, why are they even watching this show? Hit series “Cougar Town” and “Desperate Housewives” have an adult theme and are rampant with sexual connotations.
They are meant for adults.
Sex is depicted as ‘cool’ and essential to experience anything pleasurable. According to an online magazine, Kids Health, studies have revealed that teenagers who watch lots of sexual content on TV are more likely to “initiate intercourse” or engage in sexual activities sexual earlier than friends who do not watch shows with sexual references.
Though these programs are aired at a late evening time slot, the older kids may watch these programs without their parental consent. For families who allow their kids a little after-dinner viewing, these are shows to watch out for, and they make our list because of the impact it can have on your child.
The tendencies to overlook these programs are understandable as they appear to be ‘safe-viewing’ for a child. Coupled with the fact that it’s aired during the day adds to the misjudgment that these programs are harmless. We trust that this list will help you be more mindful of the shows watched by your kids.
Share with us your views and experiences of your children watching these programs.