[NETIZENS’ VOICE]If you love your child, turn off the TV

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[NETIZENS’ VOICE]If you love your child, turn off the TV

A campaign called the “National TV Turn Off Week” was launched on May 1 by the No TV Network. I often have my 15-month-old grand-daughter, whom I am raising with my wife, watch EBS and JEI TV for educational purposes. I myself also frequently watch television during the daytime. Upon hearing news of the campaign, I participated and realized many things.
It is hard both for children and adults to live without television. However, for just one week, I hope we can turn off the television and spend more time with our children. This one week could be a time that our children will cherish and remember for the rest of their lives.
Suh Young-sook, a professor at Sookmyung Women’s University’s division of child and welfare studies remarked: “A home is where a human being obtains the motive power to go through all the hardships to be experienced growing up in society after they are born. There is nothing more precious than the memories of a childhood home. Modern scientific studies of the human brain have discovered that good memories during childhood enable people to view their lives positively and take action to overcome difficulties.”
Good memories don’t come by themselves. Parents and children must bond with each other, play together and share time in conversation. However, most parents these days say they are too busy to share time with their children. This is no way to make memories.
Although they say they are too busy, statistics show that Koreans spend three hours a day watching television. Three hours is one-eighth of a whole day. On an average life expectancy of 80 years, that means we could be spending 10 years out of 80 years watching television. We can’t claim, “We have no time to play with our children because we are too busy.” Let’s turn off the television set right now and spend time with our children.
However, it will not be easy. We are already addicted to television. Television sets sit right in the center of our living rooms and distract from the warm feelings and conversations that must go back and forth between family members. Television has become a kind of babysitter: with children watching TV we think they are safe and sound. Children seem to be growing up all by themselves, sitting in front of the TV set with no one playing with them or telling them stories.
Then all of a sudden, children sometimes shock us with weird behavior. They cannot speak correctly, they do not want to go outside to play or exercise and they show no interest in studying. Not until then do adults make a fuss, and then they think maybe the children have been watching too much TV. Television encroaches on a child’s healthy growth and diminishes his or her ability to overcome difficulties. When children get used to the fantasy world of television where everything is accomplished in short order, it will be hard for them to accept reality where one has to pay a price to earn anything of value. When they are grown and life is hard, they will take out their frustrations on their spouses and even their children. This is one reason why homes and families can easily break up.
I would not be surprised ― and not many people can say for sure ― that the unprecedented low birth rate and divorce rate in Korea is not one of the side effects of too much television in our lives.

by Lee Kyung-soon
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