Nancy Shute recently wrote, ‘parents have been told repeatedly that setting rules and banning TVs in children’s bedrooms will help limit TV time. But those much-researched and oft-touted methods don’t seem to matter at all, according to a survey. The only thing that really mattered was parental screen time. The more parents watched, the more their children watched. “If the parents watch TV in their free time, the kids are being socialized to watch TV in their free time,” says Amy Bleakley, a senior research scientist at the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania, who led the study.’ It is the recommendation of The American Academy of Pediatrics that “parents should be good media role models.”
10 Principles to Carefully Consider
1. Who Is Parenting Your Child? This is a question I believe every primary and secondary caregiver must not be quick to answer. I think it is a question that can only be properly answered with careful soul searching and dutiful investigation. The truth of the matter is that everyone (and everything) who has influence on your child is a parent. It is important to note that non-living things have the capacity to parents also. The real question is how many of the influences in the lives of your children are you aware of and if you are aware of them, how many of them are under your regulation and control? Please note that it is impossible for us to play our role as the number one influence in the lives of our children in absentia. It therefore means that availability is very key to first influencing our children positively and also regulating what they are exposed to. Dr. Mike Murdock said, ‘your absence diminishes your influence.’ Here is my worry, if our children spend seven hours a day with the media as researches have established, do many hours do we spend with them as parents? It is a fact that we do not spend as much hours with them. The truth of the matter is that whosoever has time to parent a child is the real parent of the child. In view of my submission here, I urge you to please take time to answer the question carefully and sincerely. I charge you not rest until you find an answer, which you could beat your conscience represent the best interest of your child. In summation please note that your presence is to teach your children desired values and to play the role of a media regulatory body. This is a role we cannot leave to the state.
2. Understand the possibility of addiction: Anything you have easy access to, you have the high tendency to be addicted to except you have a higher value of Self-Control. Temptation happens when desire meets opportunity. The ugly reality is that our children are under siege. There are many entities searching for a space in the corners of their mind. These entities do not take into consideration the fragility of the minds of our children and the formative nature of same. Their concern in most cases is their personal gain. The child has become the dumping ground of destructive junks, christened media contents. Growing up, I was addicted to viewing pornography and it took a lot of efforts to engage in the habit. I will have to wait for everybody to go to bed. I would watch under intense pressure of the fear of being caught in the act. Today, the case is different. Children are just one button away from anything they want to watch today considering the availability of multiple platforms and gadgets. Unfortunately, many parents introduce their children to these platforms and buy the gadgets without considering the capacity of the child for self control.
3. Build the culture of self-control: In view of the foregoing the MOST EFFECTIVE form of Parental Guidance (PG), particularly in media matters is to inculcate in our Children the higher Value of Self-Control, which must be led by EXAMPLE and RELATIONSHIP. Please permit me to reiterate that that training our children in self control answers more to example than rhetoric. You will recall that a while ago, I shared with you a research, which reveals that our children learn their television viewing habit from us. I think the greatest gift primary and secondary caregivers can give a child is the gift of options. This simply means we need to help children to understand that life is about options. First we need to lay the options before our children. Second, we need to teach our children that every option comes with its consequences. The foregoing is foundational to teaching our children self control. What they do in our presence is never the proof of the victory over the battle of self control. The real proof is what they do in our absence.
Permit me to sign out as I continue this discussion tomorrow. I charge you to Think the Child…Think Today…Think the Future…Do have an INSPIRED day.