Shall we allow our young children to watch television programmes? This is one of the most common questions asked by most parents nowadays. I was told by some parents that they do not allow their young children (mostly below the age of 4) to watch television programmes. To them, watching television is not time well-spent. They prefer their children doing something more meaningful such as reading, drawing instead of spending their time in front of the “box”.
My 2 years old girl is a fan of Playhouse Disney on cable TV. Though she can’t tell the time, she knows exactly when to turn on the television so she won’t miss her favourite programme (i.e. Mickey Mouse Club House). My son, now 9 years old, used to be a great fan of Playhouse Disney too. His favourite programme then was Rolie Polie Olie. I still remembered that when our family travelled to Korea when he was 4. What he missed most was Playhouse Disney programmes! Today, my son watches programmes such as Discovery Channel, National Geographic Channel and News. Of course, kids being kids, he watches cartoons as well. His favourite? Ben 10 and Mr. Bean on Cartoon Networks.
To clarify, I am not here to encourage you to let your children watch television programmes. I personally think that for children (especially the older ones), watching television can help to reduce stress. Just sharing, my son would laugh out loud whenever he watches Mr Bean and I find that a good form of stress reliever. In addition, by making the right choices, television actually provide a very wide range of general information and also in teaching our children. For example, my girl learns her counting with Mickey Mouse when she watches Mickey Mouse Club House and my son widens his general knowledge through Discovery Channel and National Geographic Channel.
I guess the question is not whether we should let them watch television but the questions should really be what type of programmes they should be watching. I believe that with appropriate time management and with the right selection of programmes, television would do more “good” than “harm” to children. Anyway, we get to choose the type of programmes we want to and don’t want to watch. The choice is ours!
For information on Disney Playhouse, visit http://tv.disney.go.com/playhouse/index.html
For information on Cable TV, visit http://www.starhub.com/tv.html