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Sunday, June 26, 2011

UPBRINGING, VIRTUAL LIVING: Turn off that TV!

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GEORGE MATHEW & DR. SUJA K. KUNNATH / The Hindu.

Watch together: Keep an eye on what your child is watching. Photo: M.Vedhan
Watch together: Keep an eye on what your child is watching. Photo: M.Vedhan - The Hindu.


Does your child have virtual friends rather than real ones? It may be time to tune into your child.


Vishal appeared tired and his eyes sunken. It was rather obvious he was troubled. His parents and grandparents complained of persistent negligence of studies, carelessness and diffident attitude. According to his mother, Vishal spent most of his time watching TV. At an age when he ought to be talking about his classmates and friends, he spoke only about Ben-10 or Pokemon. At school he spoke only to those classmates who shared this common interest. Evidently, Vishal did not have any real friends. He only had virtual friends. It was beyond addiction; it was obsession.
A study by Dimitri Christakis, a paediatric researcher at Children's Hospital and Regional Medical Center in Seattle, suggests that TV viewing in very young children contributes to attention problems later in life. According to the study, “each hour of television watched per day at ages 1 through 3 increases the risk of attention problems by almost 10 per cent at age 7. This suggests that those children who watched at least three hours of television per day were 30 per cent more likely to have attention problems at age seven, compared to those who did not watch television at an early age.” Over-exposure to TV not only involves issues with visual acuity, but a range of behavioural problems including attention deficit, intolerance to real life situations, abnormal expectations from friends.
Cultivate good TV habits.................................
TV is NOT a family member:...........................
Work while you work, watch while you watch:.
Limit your viewing:........................................
Provide alternatives:.......................................
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