Who is responsible for what we teach our children

Feb 8, 2012 – Who is responsible for what we teach our children, is it the Internet or the stars on television, why oh why”.

These are lyrics from the hit song Fire on the Mountain by ASA. I loved the melody of the song the minute I heard it, but more importantly the lyrics struck a chord in my head.

A friend of mine came to my house with her own kids, and the kids ran upstairs into my children’s room while we were in the living room downstairs chatting away. After a short while her kids came running down angrily and we found out that they were upset because there was no TV in my kids’ rooms for them to watch.

So I told them to go up to the living room upstairs and watch TV. They ran up there and after a few minutes they ran back to us saying that they could not change the channels. I asked what channel was on and they said Nickelodeon which I believed was good enough for them at their age. They insisted that they wanted the other very popular channel that starts with a “D” which I said no to because of the content.

They grumbled and went upstairs and then I got the shocker of my life when my so-called friend thought I was too ‘military’ in my approach. She turned to me and said she was shocked that I controlled my children that way and she didn’t think it was fair on them. I thought that was the end of it but alas she continued and this time she thought I was either stingy or old fashioned.

At that point it occurred to me that she was one of those parents who would give their children anything they wanted, anytime they wanted it even if it’s an iPad for a ten year old all in the name of “ajebota”.

For me, that is a very risky way to bring up children because of the kind of content we find especially on television. I advise every parent to be extremely careful as regards children’s exposure to inappropriate content.

This information came to me through my sister who asked if any of us had ever sat down to watch all the programmes on the various children’s channels. She also asked if we noticed that kids’ entertainment has changed to more violence, sexual undertones, wizards, magic and supernatural destructive powers and the rest of them.

I got so scared and for the next one week I stayed home and watched every programme on every kids’ channel I had access to and boy, I was shocked to my bone. Lots of plots on how to destroy an opponent, kissing which is now called making out, kids who have magic wands that turn them into anything, how bullying is cool, how to be among the bad and popular girls in school and so much more.

I was so stunned that I took out the TV from both their rooms, left one in the living room upstairs and I put parental control on the decoder and I made sure they can only watch the channel put from my room so that I am the one who controls what they watch. It also occurred to me that I had to pick out appropriate DVDs for them, watch them myself before handing it to them.

Sounds military but better safe than sorry. I can’t forget a lady who was ignorant about such things and bought two DVDs for her kids just because she saw cartoon characters on the cover and colorful animated graphics. They turned out to be adult series. I am talking about the SIMPSONS and FAMILY GUY. A lot of these things can be deceptive if you don’t exactly know what the content is about.

This taught me a huge lesson because we all know our kids learn numbers and alphabets with repititions, songs, fruits and nice graphics. We also know that our kids learn lyrics to songs faster than their multiplication tables. This tells me that entertainment gets to children faster than any other thing or method. This means that we have to be careful not to expose them to negative entertainment.

We need more children’s content so I am calling on the brands, companies, banks and the government to support independent people who have great concepts for children’s entertainment.

Here are a few tips I believe will help:

Familiarise yourself with different kids’ channels and their content

Before you give them a movie or series please try to watch them

If they have computers please do not let them have Internet access without a password or code, encarta kids is good for homework, there must be adult supervision for them to search for anything.

Be careful not to encourage chatting via Internet because this exposes them to pedophiles.

Do not expose them to music video channels when they are still that young.

Choose appropriate music you can play in the car when they are in it.

Times have changed, our kids are wiser, faster and more exposed. We must make sure we help them grow positively.

Quote of the day: “the problem is not where you begin life geographically. The issue is where you choose to situate yourself in life” By leek Alder.

No matter what anyone says, you are the only original copy of yourself. Love yourself, love God.