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How can you live without a Television? How do you entertain your toddler? How do you make him eat? How can you possibly survive without a 24*7 access to the big screen?
I am frequently asked these questions by my friends, neighbours and relatives. Many people have even suggested me to take an idiot box for at least some amount of entertainment for myself and my poor 2-year old son. However, the fact is that it is a mutual decision for me and my husband that we will not take a television, even though we can very well afford to. Now, the question is why?
The reasons are plentiful. Just to name a few:
1. To reduce screen time
This applies to us and our son. There is already an access to 24*7 WI-fi connection. We own a laptop and an I-pad. We have our mobile phones in our hands most of the day. At our offices, we are glued to the screen.
We cannot keep our child completely away from the screens that we already have. Then, what is the need to add one more screen to his life when he can instead explore the rest of the skills that he has, in the time thus, saved.
2. Choose and watch whatever you want at any time
Yes, this is possible with a television as well. But, I have seen in many homes that people, without being aware, will keep the television on even though they must not be watching anything specific.
It keeps on playing and the person carries on his or her job in other room. But, with internet connection, we can watch whatever we want, that too at any given time.
3.Easy access on the internet
Now-a-days, you name something and you get to see it on the internet. It is cost-friendly, easy accessible and you can store the video too to later see it. You can see film trailors, children movies and tales, art and craft shows and any old and new songs too.
4. Reducing exposure to vulgarity
Television means continuous access to those item songs that will crop up in between shows in any channel. At least, for now, we want to keep our kid away from such things.
We can choose the shows that our son watches. Sometimes, we also show him certain good movies and non-violent cartoons meant for kids like Finding Nemo, Finding Dory, Shaun the Sheep, Tom and Jerry or old classic comedies and songs etc. We also show him videos of numbers, colours, ABC and shapes etc and he is thankfully able to focus on them and learning them as well.
5. Reducing superficial success ideas to crop into the mind of children
This is what reality shows ultimately do. I do show my kid certain videos of singing and dancing reality shows but they are just the performances of the performers minus the grand ceremonies done on the stage that make it appear out of this world.
So, I keep him out of the superficial "success" idea. For him, it is shown just as a thing to learn from, get entertained just like he would if he sees anyone perform at school.
6. Continuous access to relevant news on social networking sites and news channel videos
This is where choosing relevant information comes in. On television, there is a section of news where they update on what will happen in the upcoming episodes of daily soaps. I mean who cares? I am not interested in them and even if I am in some, I can always watch them myself.
Now, the question is that was it easy for us?
For us, it is about keeping a balance. People owning a television also try to do the same. But it becomes easier to keep the tabs without giving a 24-hour access to our kid. The point is that it is certainly not fair to keep him completely cut-off from it. So, we choose to show him whatever is the best for him at this stage. The second point that makes it easy is in terms of lesser exposure to negativity and vulgarity for us and our son.
We do not even realise that we do not have a television. We can focus our energies on better things in life like Yoga, exercise, reading, spending time with our son, talking to him, becoming creative in whatever dishes we make.
We spend more time with each other rather than glued to the screen. We go for outings rather than sitting and watching TV at home. We try to explore our hobbies and love to draw with our child. We read story books to him. We show him rhymes and songs on our phones.
The result is that thankfully, he is much more active and interested to explore new things in life with a well-preserved innocence of his own.