We all face this dilemma with our kids when they watch tv. What content is acceptable and what is not? With parents of my kids' friends, I have seen views run the gamut, from tv watching that is practically non-existent to parents that believe that their kids that can watch almost everything that they watch. I fall into the category where everything they watch is screened so only PG movies, mythological cartoons and sometimes the News are allowed. So be warned, this is going to be a very biased post. And this post mostly will reference Indian movies where the ratings are questionable at best and are ofcourse, rarely followed.
Early when my older boy was a baby, I came across a parent that allowed their daughter to watch "Gilli" once a day atleast, she loved it that much. When I asked if they did not think the violence was too much, their response was "If we protect them too much, they are going to be shocked when they finally understand reality. The more they watch, the more it desensitizes them so there is no shock factor." I have since met many parents that feel the same way. I wonder though, what this reality they talk about is. Is real ife as violent as movies suggest they are? Are all police officers as corrupt or all politicians mass murderers? Even assuming they are, why would a 5 year old need to learn that reality, when in our daily lives, we rarely have to face the trials and tribulations most heroes and heroines on our silver screens face in their movies ? I don't know what the stats are about the results of childhood exposure to violence in media, but I have a theory - desensitizing kids to violence leads us to become indifferent people, indifferent to very real issues in the world where women and children are raped and people are dying of different causes. I feel that it breeds a community of people who believe that we live in a broken system, in a constant feeling of helplessness about their ability to do anything to change. I am not saying that the system is perfect, far from it. However, ask people and their perceptions far exceed reality. People essentially think they live in a system where they cannot help others because they will be penalized for it.
Now here's the killer (no pun intended)- many of the same parents that allow their children to watch gruesome murder scenes (ala Anniyan) shy away from allowing their kids to watch two people kiss on TV. THe channel is changed in a hurry or the kids are distracted quickly or at the very least, there is a very uncomfortable silence. Sex is more corrupting than gruesome violence apparently!
Ends on a laugh, shaking head.
2 months ago