Is television dumbing down our children, or improving their knowledge and manners? It depends on how you utilise the medium.
(I know I’ll sound like my Nana when I use this opening line) When I was a little girl (see, told you!), I was only allowed to watch TV on weekends and during school holidays. This was excruciating for me, because every morning before school, all my friends would be talking about the latest episode of Neighbours and I’d listen in, feeling left out.
I used to fantasise about buying a ‘mini tv’ (which retailed at the time at around $200) and hiding it under my covers after retiring to bed ‘early.’ But with just $5 pocket money per week, it was just going to take waaaay to long to achieve that goal.
To compensate, I developed an incredible imagination, writing literally hundreds of stories and wowing my classmates with my tales. I read literally hundreds of books, too, which probably accounts for my impeccable spelling. I love how a book can create an entire world around me. And it’s funny how the movie is just never as good as the book — it can’t compete with my own imagination.
According to a recent article in the Daily Mail, my parents may have got it wrong. Stating that kids who watch at least 3 hours of TV a day, outperform their classmates who watch less.
My own kids get a healthy daily dose of ABC Kids and I can thank Thomas & His Friends for teaching them good English and good manners. They both surprise me daily by sprouting off little pieces of knowledge they’ve gleaned from a TV show (‘Mummy, if you mix dirt and water, that makes mud’ — thank you PlaySchool).
They have both inherited my love for reading and often bring a book onto my lap, waiting expectantly for me to open it and read to them (and I’m so grateful for that!).
So, I wonder… how might my life have been different had I watched more TV in my childhood? Have I missed out on something? Could it be the reason I struggled so much with the Pythagoras Theorem? I guess I’ll never know.
Originally published at Mum Daily. Photo by Ketut Subiyanto.