Last Sunday on The Hindu open page was an article ‘The home came live as TV conked out.” And yes, it is true in most case. Years before when our states had to undergo the blessed load shedding power offs, I remember a good number of our compound people getting together for chit chat and for us children, it was best time to play hide and seek in the dim moon light. The open houses looked serenely beautiful by the lights of oil lamps and candles.
But today there is revolution in our life, one that is greatly brought in by the presence of TV and the alike. My two year old son was doing all pranks he could to avoid his lunch. When all my bargaining efforts with him was proved useless, I was about to leave him. Just then his grandmother called, “put on his cartoon, he will eat.” And mom was absolutely right, the moment his hero Chhota Bheem appeared on screen his mouth mechanically opened for food.
And this happens in most houses; I have heard of children from two years and above watching TV continuously for hours together. The negative effects of this practice, over a long period of time have been published in many media. Besides this, have we ever thought of the fact that every piece of video they watch become food for their mind and later contribute to their character by large?
One day my little one walked to me and raised his legs to kick mine saying “dishum dishum. Ma, I am doing like the uncle in the TV.” My instantaneous urge was to scold him for imitating the idiot box. But who are we to blame? Here is another one instance; my co-sister’s four year old daughter was clowning around her grandmother. As her plays were getting violent mother asked to stay away; soon she jumped down and clung to mother’s legs telling, “Amma, you are my only amma, you carried me in your womb for ten months, where will I go if you disown me? Please forgive me, please.” That clearly was the effect of the mini screen serials which adults stick on to. Now, who is the one to be blamed or tamed?
Next is the cartoon effect. Some six decades ago, the few children’s tales in India were perhaps those of Panchatantra and Hitopadesh. Later, with the western influence Tom, Jerry. Mickey, Donald and few similar icons walked in. Today right from the Gods to a dozen of super heroes, cartoons have had plethora of revolution in them. But do they all help the little minds evolve positively?
Firstly there are the super heroes to whom children are by and large addicted. Though that turn out to be boon for those in school stationary business, the impact upon our children is not very positive. Popeye, the sailor eats a tin full of spinach and has instant strong muscles with which he breaks a huge wall into pieces, while a seven year old cries pathetically being hurt while attempting to imitate the scene. Switch this to large frame and this is what exactly happens. Children learn to be unrealistic in goal fixing and always prefer quick-fix solutions to almost every problem.
Secondly, while the effort of imparting epics to children via cartoons is very much appreciated, there is a danger of degrading our heritage, associated with it. Nowadays, many cartoons of Lord Krishna, Lord Ganesha and Lord Hanuman are being broadcasted and they are absolutely disconnected from the epic. God forbid the time when Krishna, Rama and Shiva will all be remembered as mere cartoon characters.
Finally, as technology puts our life in ‘easy mode’, it is our duty to head on the hard task of nurturing our children, not just by bullying around them with academic texts, but by spending quality time with them to teach them the difference between a cartoon or cinematic world, ideal world and real world. Encourage them in opting books over TV .Conversely; if we let TV mould our children, then we would only end up in creating a generation of substance less citizens.