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Thursday, December 3, 2009

3 weeks without TV

One of the online discussions that I am currently having with the other students from USQ is "THE IMPACT OF TECHNOLOGY ON CHILDREN AND FAMILIES".

While many agreed that technology indeed has much positive impact in our lives, it can have its negative impact as well. The many positives are :
  • shorten and simplify household chores - think about the washing machine, vacumm cleaner, steam iron
  • strenghten communication - telephone, internet, fax machine
  • increase knowledge and entertainment - TV, internet (again), DVDs

However, one question that arose is "Has technology taken away some of the time that family spend together?" One very common technological advancement that has been very much a part of our life is the TV. TV can be used as a source of entertainment, knowledge and in some cases, a babysitter. Quite often, parents, nannies or maids place children in front of a TV to keep the them occupied.

I am also guilty of this, especially when I'm tired from work in the evenings. Mondays to Fridays, the whole family would plonk in front of the TV for 2 hours, watching the serials on air. Saturdays and Sundays would be the boys' turn. Sometimes, they can glue themselves to the TV for 3 to 4 hours. I know this is not healthy and have tried to get them out more often - to the park or running around in our own garden or just getting them involved in some simple cooking. It can be quite frustrating to make them more active, not couch potatoes.

Well, for the past three weeks, my house has been without a TV. It was not easy in the first week. The boys had a difficulty time, finding things to occupy their time. Fortunately Justin and Joshua have always loved reading and they rediscovered the joy of reading. Javen has never liked reading. Although he can read quite well, he is easily distracted and prefers vigorous activities.

Late into the first week, I was happy to see Javen actually taking a book to read, then another and another! I guess he was left without choice as both brothers and I were reading. But I was very happy. Now, every night we sit down together to read : could be a read-aloud, reading silently or just telling silly stories. During the weekends, we spend more time in the garden, park or walking to the shops. We even managed to bake a bread pudding and make some popiahs together.

It has indeed been an eye-opener. It made me realised just how much influence a TV has on our lives. While we have somehow gotten used to not having a TV around, I would not want this for long. I miss the news on TV as well as some of the programmes.. I guess I just have to be more careful in terms of controlling the number of hours the boys watch. The TV will be back again tonight ... I wonder what the boys and I will do?

Another technological wonder - the computer. My sons have their own Facebook and e-mail addresses, even Joshua! How much parental control must I exercise? That's an entirely new story!

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