Children and Technology Exposure

Before I begin my rant, take a look at these 2 vodafone advertisements for 2012 featuring children:

Do you think these Ads are appropriate? Do you think they did the right thing by showcasing small children instead of adults or even the latest treand of teenagers? I think so. I met my friends over the last weekend and all of them had the same thing to say. There is only so much you can stop the kids from watching TV. And even the cartoons these days made specifically for the kids use language like Girl Friend and Boy friend with the girl fluttering her eye lashes at the boy or kissing on the lips. how much can you stop your kids from watching these? And now these advertisements too. Is it possible to completely ban TV for the kids? Then they learn it from their peers.

My friend’s brother’s son in 1st grade comes home from school and tells his aunt “today,X gave love letter to Y”. when asked what a love letter is, he says “She wrote a heart and inside that wrote I love you and gave it to him”. And apparently all the kids in the class knew about it and were ‘teasing’ those 2 about it and also had the cunning to hide it from the teachers. This kid-thanks to the open-ness and the attention the family gives him, came home and HAD to tell someone. Perhaps he had an inkling about not telling the parents-so he told my friend-who he considers as his best friend. They later just told him to say he is friends with everyone and anyone if atall someone gives him a card like that! And that he should wait till he can write and understand better before he gives such a card to anyone else. Yes, there is still some bit of innocence left but shouldnt it all be only innocence at 6yrs?!!

A friend’s daughter went and asked her grandmom-when will I wear the clothes like the aunty on TV? Pointing to breasts asked-when will I get those like you and mom? What do you answer? Just telling her that she will get it once she grows up sufficed for the moment…

Teenage boys and girls, trying to find a place on the internet where they can book a room and ‘make-out’ – heard this again from a friend who has teenage children…

Where does all this come from?Certainly from the peers and peer pressure? OK, I can ban TV for my son, but can I stop him from such influences? Can I stop him from making friends? Can I stop him from exploring and wanting to find answers so he can also be a part of the group? No, right? So how do you teach your innocent child what things are without actually being too moral about it, without admonishing, without being shocked yourself? And is it even right for a 4-5 year old to be talking of ‘girl friend’ ‘boy friend’? I see kids in daycare who have just started school and that kid comes back to the day care after school. I saw her wiping off her cheek the other day when another boy gave her a kiss. I asked what happened and she says “cheee! he is a boy.” That boy, until then, did that out of innocent affection. Now ofcourse he got the thought in his head that he shouldn’t be doing that and its something wrong. How do you tell that child that its OK for a child to show his affection? Or how to teach them where to draw the line and at what age?

I understand that with the current speed with which the kids get onto the internet (it has also become necessary these days what with home works and results and tests – everything being online for the kids) and the exposure they get from it, the awareness will come much sooner than we did at our times.But is this loss of innocence so early on good for the kid? With half information or incorrect/assumed/hear-say information where will it lead the kid? Will we be able to answer all their questions? And how aptly can we answer those questions?No, Im not being a prude-Im only being a cautious parent.How much is enough/how much is too much?

And Im just touching the surface of the iceberg here I feel. There is a lot more on exposure to technology to the kids that I find un-necessary – what with gifting 8yr olds iPods and iPads and online games – including dressing up the dolls and online cooking-is there really fun in it I wonder. Where is the good old doll or kitchen set with which we would do ‘real’ dressup or ‘real’cooking with puffed rice and water mixed with a little chutni-pudi and salt and jaggery?!! Well, that must probably for another post-for now, I reserve this post only for the limit of exposure on TV/internet for what I have mentioned above…

Answers anyone?

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12 thoughts on “Children and Technology Exposure

  1. Awesome post…you know my views already na…

    Its sad that six year olds are losing their innocence..and like you say, how long can we shield our kids from TV..R hardly watches TV but is able to identify all cartoons and all songs..why? because in her daycare someone is singing it or talking about it

    She now a days says ‘I am barbie girl’ (Yuck!) and I am like where did you hear this and she says ‘Samaira ne bola ke woh barbie girl hai toh main bhi hoon’ abhi what can I say?

  2. Really scary…and depressing. I sometimes wish we could go back to the world before this technology bubble burst….where kids played with mud and sand, and in the playground, instead of online and with computers…. 😦

  3. well based on wat I see from my SIL’s kids.. All they want is Laptops, Ipods, Xbox n I phones.. When I insist them to go out n play there is no mood or energy, When I insist we hv something outside they want burgers, pizzaz and KFC…

    I feel so blessed that all these were alien to us when we were kids… I guess we will all hv to deal with this so called “Tech advancement” v carefully by teaching them that there is life out of Ipods and Laptops and mobiles!!
    Good luch with Chutku!!

  4. There are times when as parents we teach our kids n number of things but seeing the same happening often and so naturally again and again on TV and internet not only dilutes our lessons but also makes the kids wonder that parents have a habit of saying NO to everything under the sun.

    It is a very confusing and frustrating state to be in and I am sure I too am going to face these situations someday soon 😦

  5. i know TV is becoming a pain nowadays.. even if you stop kids watching them, still they will learn from friends in school.. we just have to be cautious what we reply them when they ask us about such rubbish things..

  6. I hear you! and I agree…with Chirpy right from the start I’ve been careful that she doesn’t watch tv..another few years she might be allowed but with a limited time and some adult being by her side,of course we have to check what children are watching and if at all they are watching such stuff they’ve to be properly directed to the reasoning as why it is like that that they are seeing!

    parenting is tough and all this to just get our children on a right path and learn good things-isn’t it the simplest thing parents would want for their child? wonder how difficult simple things in life have become 😦

  7. A wonderfully articulated read that is, RS!

    I really thought I was the only one who thought the Vodafone ad as weird. Glad to know there are others too! But I am sure there would be some (or even many) who would find these commercials cute.

    I have lots and lots of stuff to talk about when it comes to kids’ exposure to television and technology. This Madras trip is also making me realise how much of an impact TV has on kids. How I see a few kids whiling away their entire summer vacation lying like a couch potato in front of the idiot box with no one to monitor them! Sigh. If I begin ranting, I guess it is going to go on. So I’ll stop!

  8. Pingback: Technology Exposure-Me Vs Chutku « lifeslittletwists

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