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Television Viewing

Should you get your child a television in his bedroom?

Television viewing as a family activity is slowly dying out, which is a shame. Many of my fondest childhood family memories involve sitting around the television every evening, waiting for Are You Being Served, Faulty Towers, and, a little later, The Bold and the Beautiful.

Similarly when TBATB had reached its peak of popularity, everyone in India was debating its effect on Indian culture while we kids sat back and enjoyed the show. And then, a couple of years later, we got bored of it and moved on to what we considered more interesting like Oprah or Kaun Banega Crorepati, while the rest of the country continued their debate.

"So should I get a television for my child in his bedroom?"

Often, parents who have adequate disposable income to spend on a second or third television, are confronted with this dilemma; should they, or should they not, get a television for their child, and if they do, should it be in his bedroom?

The answer differs from family to family, depending on their living conditions and situations. In a joint family, for example, a child may have absolutely no say in what he would like to watch, and it is not very good for a child's confidence to have his wishes disregarded without a second thought. In such situations, you could consider getting your child a television in his bedroom.

In addition, remember that you may not always watch programmes that are educative. A child can learn little or nothing by watching Kyonki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi, but if Hindi soaps are all he gets to watch for a couple of hours every night, you are forcing him to narrow his world instead of broadening his vision, and are depriving him of an opportunity to ulitise his time more fruitfully. Even if your child watches a comedy show, he will learn to develop a sense of humour and may pick up tips on becoming more witty - which will no doubt be an asset to him in later life.

There are various other shows like the Apprentice which your child could learn a lot from; and channels like Discovery, Animal Planet, The History Channel, National Geographic have tremendous educative value.

Similarly, believe it or not, but talk shows can also play a major part in shaping our views, values and determining who we become. Certain people on talk shows can inspire us and goad us on to achieve more than our wildest dreams. Also, getting various points of view on a particular subject, like for example racial discrimination, helps us broaden our own points of view and grow into more tolerant people.

"But won't my child become a television addict?"

Your child may get very excited initially when he has a new television in his bedroom, but after a while he will take it for granted and will only sit down to watch television when he has nothing else to do. Whether a child has a television in his bedroom or not has little to do with whether he becomes a television addict later on.

What about censorship?

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