TV-Turnoff Week, part 3

        There are many reasons to consider decreasing your childrenís TV-viewing. I offer these two for your consideration.

        1. Television contributes to the elimination of wonder from childrenís lives. It gives them "something to do" instead of requiring them to take responsibility for doing something themselves.

        Nowhere is this more evident than in visits to other countries -- places where television is not as dominant a force. By staying with host families in their homes, I have seen children whose play includes building things from found objects; playing in sand, dirt, and mud; and making use of their environments for running, jumping, and maneuvering.

        Their play is in a world that they have partially created -- albeit from only the materials that they have on hand -- but because they have been active in putting the pieces together, they have used their brains and social skills in the process.

        Contrast this to the dominant method used by our children: sitting on the receiving end of transmissions, stripped of the responsibility to create their own play activities.

        2. Children learn by imitating. Children pick up the facial expressions and bodily mannerisms that they observe in those around them.

        Think about it: how many of us have been told that we have turned into our parents? We canít help but do that, because that is the way we human beings are.

        Given that this is a fact of human development, a question that you can be asking yourself is, Do you really want your children to imitate what they see on television?

        Childrenís play reflects what they see in the rest of their lives. Whatever their daily images are -- farm animals, cartoon characters, martial arts experts, athletes -- they will incorporate into their games and stories.

        What do children see, and then imitate, on television? You can only know if you know what your children are watching. But we do know for a fact that there are high incidences of violent, deceitful, and undesirable acts that children see every time they sit in front of the television.

        I wish your family many hours of happiness away from the television!


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