Guest post by Jordan Mendys.
There is a lot information out there about children and television/movies. A lot of this comes down to a debate, or rather a discussion, about the amount of entertainment a child should watch in a given day. There are even extremes on both ends that either want to treat TVs like babysitters or as plagues, depending on the spectrum they pop up on. Though most agree that it shouldn’t be treated that way. In fact, there is a nice happy medium between the two, and with the continual growth of children’s programming, it is nothing you’d feel upset about letting your child watch. When it all comes down to it, it really depends on how you use the media that will impact your children, and the following are tips to effectively and responsibly let your children access entertainment.
Go With What You Know
As much as children’s media and entertainment has come along, children’s classics are called that for a reason. Finding old programming that you enjoyed as a child is a good way to not only “pre-screen” in a way, what your child watches, but it also gives you a chance to connect with your kids. By spending quality time like this, it creates a healthy relationship, and it can really be a good time to bring the family together. Luckily, certain satellite customers have access to “Kids” or “classics” channels, so the access to this is easy. It is really fortunate when families have time to come together, and that can benefit a young child greatly.
Children’s educational programming is not a new concept. People of my generation most likely remember waking up to Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood or Mr. Wizard. These shows, while fun in nature, truly had a better benefit than anything else on air. That trend continues today with programming for the very young that put an emphasis on learning letters, numbers, colors, etc. This programming can be great benefit to the child, even if doing nothing more than positively stimulating their senses. Again, though, too much of this can still present a detriment to kids if that is all they do.
While educational programming has its place, children should also have the opportunity to indulge in some, though perhaps limited, “fluff” programming. By this I mean shows that maybe are simply entertaining or are focused on introducing them to the arts, etc. Sparking a child’s creativity benefits them down the road, as exposure to arts and music can have a positive benefit. You don’t know what your child is capable of at a young age, but by allowing simple indulges like this, you might spark a creative nature in a child that translates to more down the road.
Speaking of indulging in the arts, cultural programming has its benefits as well. Children with knowledge of these areas tend to be better cultured as they grow. Also, programming that literally brings children in contact with other cultures will have a better chance to engage children outside of their own upbringing. This will lead to diverse friendships, and also having a child with a positive worldview, which is lacking in all of us it seems at times. Again, familiarity with the arts and culture can pay off hugely as your child develops into an adolescent and beyond.
So, while we often either praise or demonize television or media, there are distinct benefits of allowing it in moderation. It is important to keep your child stimulated, but we should be responsible with the amount we let them indulge in. The benefits to this range from quality family time to raising the next great thinker. Whatever the case, allowing children to watch a variety of programming has its place, and a proper balance is healthy for the child, as well as you.
Join the Conversation
What’s your child’s favorite television program? Share in the comments below.
Jordan Mendys is an entertainment and media blogger out of North Carolina. He is also a nature photographer and enjoys the outdoors.