Various Researches show that excessive exposure to media can lead to attention problems, school difficulties, sleep and eating disorders, and violence. In addition, the cell phones, Internet and other electronic devices provide platforms for illicit and risky (sexual immorality and drug abuse) behaviors.
Consider The Joshua Cooke Example. He killed his adoptive parents in one day. Joshua Cooke later spoke on the impact of ‘The Matrix’ (American–Australian science fiction action film) on his mindset: ‘I would see myself in the role…I would see myself shooting the bullies and people who had hurt me in my life…It made me feel better when I would watch it. So I watched this movie hundreds of times…I watched it so much at one point that the tape had worn out and I had to buy a new one. The video games were the same – played the same part. Video games like ‘Grand Theft Auto,’ ‘Blood Rain,’ ‘Resident Evil,’ ‘Doom,’ ‘Quake,’ shooter games. When I would play these games, it did a lot for me mentally for I could release my aggression with these games,” reveals Cooke. “I could almost bring my fantasies to fruition. The way I would verse myself in these games, sometimes I would play them 12 to 15 hours a day without leaving my room. I would have food and all kinds of things stashed in my room so I wouldn’t have to leave.’
The insightful article titled, how television influences children’s behaviors, published in The Guardian newspaper of Thursday, September 26, 2013 opened thus, ‘recently, mother of 13-year-old Ricky Daniel Oikhena who stowed away to Lagos from Benin airport in the wheel well of an Arik airline disclosed that her son may have been influenced by long hours of watching movies and sundry shows on television.’ The piece also aired the view of Damilola Aliyu, a Clinical psychologist at the Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital, Yaba, Lagos, who submits, ‘television has a way of forming a child’s character or behavior. Studies and indeed numerous literatures have shown that it contributes immensely to the formation and intellectual development of children… Children also model some of the behaviours that adults exhibit, whether in their immediate environment or what they watch on television, what they hear on the radio or any other means. That is why some television programmes are being censored and various ages are often applied to certain movies when produced, while in some, parental guidance (PG) is required…Without doubt, television also has some very positive impact on children’s intellectual development. However, its negative impact includes aggression, anti-social behaviours such as stealing, use of drugs, arms and ammunitions, engaging in armed robbery and prostitution. Some television programmes also encourage children to be rude, live a fake lifestyle by imitating celebrities or television stars.’
Ben Carson was addicted to Television viewing after school and he was the bottom of his class. His life changed when his mother changed his routine of watching Television to reading in the library after school. Ben Carson submits, ‘I often use the saying that ‘The brain acquires everything that we encounter.’ The difficulty does not come with the INPUT of information, BUT GETTING IT OUT. Sometimes we “file” information randomly of little importance, and it confuses us.’
Permit me to round up this segment on a light note. recently, I got a Blackberry broadcast from a friend, which though; it sounds very funny but gives a fair impression of the cartoons our children are exposed to and the perceived impact on them as the author sees it: ‘How do we expect our kids to be good, when me make them Watch all these: Ben10 can change into 10 demons, Tarzan is always half naked, Tom and jerry are always fighting, Cinderella comes back home at midnight, Pinocho lies all the time, Aladdin is the king of thieves, Batman drives at 320mph:s, Sleeping Beauty is a lazy girl, Rapunzel allows men to climb in through her window and Snow White is living with 7 dwarfs, I mean someone tell me.’
When does the child begin to pick things from the media?
Margaret E. Stephenson in her forward to Maria Montessori’s ‘The Secret of Childhood’ submitted, ‘in whatever country a child may be born is endowed with what Dr. Montessori called the ‘THE ABSORBENT MIND…’ This ABSORBENT MIND does not only take language and reproduce it. It absorbs all that makes for the culture of the country and creates the native, the man of a particular time and place. Did the Frenchman learn to be French, the American, American, the Hindu, Hindu after he entered school? The absorption of culture, of customs, of ideas, ideals, of sentiments, feeling, emotions, religion, take place during the period of the ABSORBENT MIND, in the child from ZERO TO SIX. This quite obviously is going on all over the world.’
James Dobson, renowned family expert tells us the age from when a child can be instructed either by people or the media: ‘…Midway through the second year (18 months) boys and girls become capable of knowing what you are telling them to do or not do.’
Thank you for joining me today. I believe God to be with you on Monday. Do have an INSPIRING Valentine’s Day. As we celebrate Valentine’s Day today, I charge you to Think the Child…Think Today…Think the Future…