ISSUES OF LIFE: Screening TV Shows, Internet, and Music for Your Kids
T.v., internet, mp3, mp4, play station, social networking, new media and digital devices, etc.---these all keep our kids and teenagers busy in this day and age. Do you know that our kids today engage in active multi-tasking? This means that they could watch t.v., listen to music in their mp3s and chat in the internet, all at the same time. So now you're wondering, "What about their studies?" Yup, that really is a great question.
In as much as we want to give our kids the best of these modern devices to keep them active and busy, what we fail to realize is that these are all distractions to the more essential things in life, like education and spirituality. However, this does not mean that we should deprive them of all these things, but it is our responsibility as parents and guardians to screen what may very well be influences to their daily life.
It is always good to start teaching them who is in control at an early age. Many parents are already limiting the amount of t.v., internet, or play station time of their children. Some also use these as rewards after they finish their homework but also with limited time. However, this is just the beginning.
Behind those rhythmic ohs, ahs, go-goo, ga-ga, who-oh-oh music are lyrics that contain foul language, insinuations of violence and sex, negativism, pride, and "I-can-do-anything-I-want-to" connotations. Behind the multi-awarded cartoon t.v. programs are racial and religious slurs, inappropriate behavior for parents and adults, devoid of character and integrity that children should look up to, all disguised under the genre of comedy. Behind those seemingly childish play games are suggestions of violence and revenge, and all sorts of "machismo" imagery. Of course, everyone knows that internet has many sites that are filled with porno pictures and even activities and is never safe for our kids. So what do we do?
In the U.S., broadcast and cable t.v. programs offers ratings services that appear during the first 15 seconds of each program. Here in the Philippines, there is also a warning of some sort if there are contents of foul language or violent scenes before they start a t.v. program. Parents could also use T.V. Parental Controls which are effective in screening unwanted programming. The best thing to do is to watch t.v. with your children. You can directly turn off the t.v. or try to teach your kids why that scene or language is not good and should not be imitated. For music and internet, parents just have to be vigilant in screening what their children, especially their teenagers, are listening to or are chatting with or which sites they are opening.
Some of us cannot be with our children 24/7, especially with those who are already grown into adolescence. But we can find time to more than once in a while look into what our children are busy about. We can show our kids the better use of the internet by helping them use it for their research and for their homework in school. If we lead them in prayer in the mornings at breakfast or before going to school, they would know the value of putting God first before anything else.