Tuesday, May 02, 2006

I have spent my entire life working with children, from taking care of my little sisters to working at a child care center. I want the best for every child I come in contact with. I have come to understand the consequences that television has on children, of all ages and do not want these consequences to be a result of my carelessness. I would hope that all parents feel this way. When we choose to use the television as a babysitter we are inhibiting our children. Some of the areas that are touching our children are media violence, sexual exploitation, impact on self image, vulgarity, passive watching and commercialization. Children are exposed to these mature themes every time they sit down to watch television. Even when parents are monitoring the programs children are still being influenced. Especially when parents do not take time to discuss what is being shown in the program.

Christina informed me that her kindergarteners are still watching cartoons. Most parents believe that these shows are okay for their children. This is not always true. I have taken the time to view some of these cartoons and I have seen that the violence is almost as bad as real life television. “The boys walk down the hall and they have a plan. Someone is going to try and trip up another student and then another one is going to come in with their web blaster and capture them. Just like Batman,” said Christina. The children see these things done on television and they want to reenact them. They do not understand what is happening to them now, but the effects are sure to come. An article posted by Changing the Channels states, “…media violence makes our kids more aggressive, less patient, and more fearful of the world around them. Watching violence desensitizes children to actual acts of violence.” So in actuality the reenactments done by the boys in Christina’s class are things they do not think will harm others. When really by tripping up another student someone could really get hurt.

Monday, May 01, 2006

I went to the house of Christina and David Neiswander one Sunday afternoon. I

spent time with Christina, a mother and teacher, and her daughter, Grace, who is about

four years old. Christina has been teaching for over 10 years in Colonial Heights Public

Schools. She enjoys working with kindergarteners, however more and more in the last

several years she has been faced with the problem of competing with television programs

in her lessons. She informed me that she tries to keep television out of her classroom; the

kids need a break from it. She does this knowing that most of them will go home and

spend the afternoon and evening watching television. An article found in IDEA Health

and Fitness states, “The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children

watch no more than 1-2 hours of television per day. However, the average child in the

United States watches 2-3 hours per day.” (IDEA Fitness Journal 2006) Parents far too

often are using the television as a babysitter. Many know it is not right but continue to do

it for their sanity. Christina watches as her students are picked up every afternoon. The

children want to know what they are doing, right away. “Normally mom answers that

they are going to the store or running errands. The children start to complain, but then

they want to know what movie they can watch in the car.” This apparently settles them.

However, parents are loosing valuable time to talk with their children, all so they can

watch a movie in the car. All of these things baffle Christina who refuses to use the

television as a babysitter. “Not to say that it does not happen, but David and I try very

hard to avoid it. Besides, most of the time Grace would rather read or color than sit in

front of the television.”