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Friday, 1 February 2013

Life Beyond the Screen ... What One's Imagination Can Do

Without going into all the scientific/behavioural/health research about this topic (of which there is a very substantial well-founded amount and would take far too long!), I want to share with you something that has hit me like a tonne of bricks over these school holidays. The negative effects of television viewing on my children.

Am I completely against watching television? No. But I am becoming more aware of  how even just a little viewing is so impacting on my children, in a negative way. I am not suggesting that I sit my kids on the floor, pat them on their heads and say, "stay here all day while I go paint my nails, drink tea and talk on the phone!!" (Pffft, when is there ever time to do that?!!) And I'm not saying that I always put it on for the kids while I am doing housework,  just to keep them out from under foot (although, I have done that a few times!).

What I have seen is a troubling over-all decline in their ability to problem solve without fighting. A lack of concentration with activities/tasks. A battle to always 'be the child in charge', even though I've told them its actually Dad and I in charge many times! (Yes, other factors can cause these things too, but there is a direct relation to TV viewing and these behaviours in my children). 

I am fighting to keep them paying attention to me when it's on and I'm talking to them ... so, I've started turning it off. Gasp! I tell my children, "Too much of this in your life is unproductive and unhealthy. God gave you all amazing brains and imaginations, I'd like you to think of something else to do".  I have actually declared that today is a 'use your imagination - no T.V. at all day'. Right now, they have made a giant cubby in the playroom and have been playing there happily for well over 2hours! (It's been raining here for a few days, so it's perfect cubby weather!)

Our children enjoy a very wide range of activities. Everything from riding bikes, climbing trees, jumping on trampoline, gardening, basketball, playing with our dog (hard to do when raining yeah?). But they also enjoy painting, play dough, dolls, reading, knitting, board games, baking, lego, drawing, cars, scrapbooking, card games, hide-and -seek, collage, listening to music, making cubbies, writing stories, playing superheroes (Mr. R has just named his super-hero alter ego 'Hero Boy' ... love that kid!), playing Kings and Queens, Mums and Dads (in which Little Miss P always ends up talking in an American accent! ... too cute!)

These activities are so amazingly easy and simple and they love doing them too, so it's a given that these are a healthier option. All of these encourage team-work, waiting and sharing turns, making sure everyone is involved, concentrating, deep thought, creativity, development of life skills and they even help them with school work (weighing with baking etc.). They are all relatively cost-effective if not free, and what I love the most is they encourage positive imaginative play, development of family relationships/friendships, an increase in communication/comprehension skills, and sweet priceless family memories (I'm sure there are many more positives too).

So, what things are we, as Godly Mothers up against when our children view too much TV?

 
Provocative dress, foul language, nudity, divorce, suicide, violence, fighting, materialism, greed, same-sex promoting, theft, anger, dis-regard for the law, display of sexual relations, lies and deceit, me-ism, murder, drug usage. Stop there. I don't allow my children to watch any show with any of these things in them, I screen what they watch very harshly,  these things can be viewed in commercial adds alone. It's appalling and disgusting. I urge you to really pay attention to even the content of the adds these days, some of them are revolting and completely inappropriate for adults, let alone children!

There are lots of great shows that can be viewed where you learn good information (I still think a book is better any day!). However, I co-labour too hard (and I'm very sure you do too) on reaching the hearts of my children with the values and virtues that honour God alone, I will not stand by and let it be sabotaged by the influences of television which more often than not, follow the ways of the enemy and encourage us to imitate that instead. I am simply stating that for my children and family, the television is going to be on even less than it has been, and I am looking forward this year with another change, to be seeing what ones imagination can do!!

 
 

If you have been convicted of too much TV viewing in your home, please don't' feel condemned. You are so loved, I am so loved. We are not failing, or failures, we are His children! Start making small changes and experiencing the big differences! In God's strength alone (and how I need it!) we can choose what is best for our family in all areas - even TV viewing.

 
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Romans 12:2

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