When ‘idiot box’ rules a teenager’s life

I feel that a large part of what children – especially teens – see on television governs their lives. I would know as I watch girls re-enact scenes from the movies ‘Mean Girls’ or ‘Wild Child’ over and over again in school. But for them it is not acting, it is part of living. Television shows to some are simply entertainment but some seem to take it way more seriously than what it is. I mean, they practically live off the TV.

When I was just in second grade, I made the mistake of letting my mother join the parent-teacher association. She met a lot of parents; one of them told my mother all about her house rules. Her child was not allowed to watch television on weekdays, only on Friday and Saturday but not Sunday as it was a school night. On both the days, the child was only allowed to watch a maximum of two hours! My mother couldn’t thank that mother more and implemented the same rule in our house. We have followed this ‘television rule’ ever since. Though I hated as a child, only now I see the benefits.

Watching TV is a passive activity. It has been proved that this causes drop in your concentration levels. TV, especially international programmes have plenty of programmes filled with teenagers with perfect bodies, perfect wardrobe and perfect lives. I know most teens feel incredibly jealous of these ‘perfect’ portrayals.

Professionals say that the early teen years are considered a crucial time for the development of healthy self esteem. Insecurities over attractiveness and weight are increasing while at the same time teens are bombarded with TV images of impossible thinness, beauty and coolness. What teens don’t realise is most of the images on the screen are unrealistic and unattainable.

TV shows give rise to opinions in teens minds. It leads to stereotypes.

Obesity is also an effect of watching too much TV. Sitting on a sofa for hours, just mindlessly watching TV results in loss of physical activity which our bodies require.Watching TV for maximum 30 minutes per day is okay as long as you get exercise for a minimum of 30 minutes per day.

We teens must understand that television is simply entertainment and not something we can emulate in real life. There is a difference between just watching and doing. There is more to life than knowing who is dating who or what happened in your favourite serial – did the hero finally confess to the heroine or not? Instead read a book, play outside, study or just enjoying being a teen. Not spoiling it.