Whose priority should sustain-elders’ or kids’? - 2

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 18 Feb 2018 09:57:25


THE large number of calls in response to last week’s ‘Loud Thinking’ was rather perplexing, in the sense one could not anticipate that the issue could be raging in so many homes: the invasion of television on families! Most callers agreed that for reasons not in their control, television sets are on almost through the evenings when everybody is at home. Therefore, in most cases, the kids end up sitting in front of the TV set, engrossed in watching those TV serials whose stories and plots make little sense. Yet, the kids’ time is wasted, which otherwise they would have spent in studies or other creative activities like painting or drawing or listening to stories told by elders. Most callers also said, in effect, that very little communication was taking place in families because the TV blared all the time. Among the callers were young parents as well as elderly people. Their refrain was common: TV is actually ruining the evenings and something has to be done about its ill-effect on family-life.

The issue, thus, is well-defined. Everybody realises the ill-effects of TV-drenched evenings, but nobody seems willing to take the bold step of switching off the monster. For, there is always some or the other person in the family who insists that TV cannot be done away with. This brings us to another dimension of the issue -- belling the cat named television, or the ones who cannot do without it.

However, it is necessary for all the elders in the family to sit down together and think openly about the menace that TV addiction has become. This column has discussed the issue on several occasions in the past. Yet, I find it necessary to raise the issue once again as I came across many families disturbed due to the fact of how TV addiction of one or two or more plays havoc with the quality of evenings in homes.
Over time, it has become clear to almost everybody in the society that television is a menace that needs to be curbed severely if not done away with totally. When such a social awareness is already available, then there should be no difficulty in fighting off the menace by either switching off the gadget totally or regulating its viewing very strictly to limited period that would not infringe upon the common family time particularly in the evenings.

It is quite understandable that the elders with not much activity to do in old age post-retirement may want to entertain themselves suitably. But if that urge to entertain themselves in front of the TV every evening is so strong as not to consider the priority the kids in the family deserve, then it is time to take a serious call on the issue together as families and not just as individuals. In other words, this means that the families should sit together to discuss what the kids actually require by way of family atmosphere and how that goal could be achieved.

The issue is both -- simple and complex. Simple because the kids’ priorities should be paramount; and complex because quite many elders may not agree with this. That is why I insist, it is time families sat together and sorted out the issue by threadbare discussion on how to help the kids stay away from TV addiction. Of course, there is also the cellphone addiction that is more menacing than the TV addiction. But the discussion on that issue can wait for some other occasion.