I have some very strong views about children and television. This is because as a child I spent many hours watching television and I absolutely loved it. I loved it so much that I would rather watch it than go out and play with my friends; it was on while I did my homework, if I had friends over, during meals, all the time!
As an adult, I found myself completely addicted to watching television, and whenever I was at home, the TV would be on. Unfortunately, I found myself watching anything and everything including some of the most useless, least informing, most outrageous chat shows that have ever appeared on our TV screens. And this would often mean that I would spend hours vegetating on the sofa, instead of doing something more constructive, like study for my exams, or clean my poor house.
As I grew older, people started to question TV advertising (cigarette and junk food advertising, advertising to children, and so on), and the morality of some TV shows. This opened my eyes to the influence of TV in our lives. Television shows introduce the culture of the country in which they are made, and often attempt to address certain social issues.
But do you really want your children to be influenced by these values, and the point of views expressed in those shows? I know that I would rather teach my children my own moral values and my own views on society. On top of that, I cannot believe the sexual imagery in some adverts, particularly perfumes, and in music videos, which often also include violence.
For these reasons and because I don't want my children to become couch-potatoes, tele-addicts, I restrict how much television my children are allowed to watch. Shortly after the birth of my first child, I realized that I could find on YouTube all the cartoons that I used to watch as a child. These are in Italian which is handy because it supports their language learning, and they are also so old fashioned that they don't have any undesirable content!
Watching TV is such a passive activity, which really doesn't challenge the child to do much, just watch and listen. Some of my friends insist that some children TV shows are very educational, and the kids learn the alphabet, and counting and so much more. Well, I would rather teach it to them myself. So, allowing the children to watch these short videos is ideal for me not only because I can control what they watch, but also because I can easily decide how long they will spend staring at a screen, and if they get to watch three of these videos, they think I'm very kind and generous, but they will last no more than 20 minutes in total!