Television, Family, and Childhood: TV is Not a Babysitter

Television, Family, and Childhood: TV is Not a Babysitter

A review of Juan Camilo Díaz Bohórquez’s book : Televisión, familia e infancia, Universidad de La Sabana, Colombia, 2014.

The fact that television has become an integral part of a person’s growth is not inherently negative. According to Juan Camilo Díaz Bohórquez, TV can offer incentives, promote the socialization process and the formation of personality, help “build” and recognize the world we live in, and transmit positive messages and role models.

It is essential however that parents realize how much television affects children’s behavior, and that they take an active role in selecting programs.

There are both good and bad programs: the parent’s role is to choose. As this book demonstrates with abundant examples, using the television correctly has a considerable weight on a child’s education.

Often, the author writes, for lack of time, not only do parents take little interest in the programs their children watch, but they also delegate their personal educational function to the television as well. The TV, formerly considered an “auxiliary tool,” becomes a baby sitter. It becomes a “third parent.”

The goal of Television, Family, and Childhood is to examine the topic of education in relation to a specific context: use of the TV in the family.

Just as a beautiful painting does not exist but thanks to a painter’s hand and wisdom, in the same way, a child’s formation should be the fruit of reflection and attentive work. Raising a child is an art that cannot be improvised. The role of those educating (thus, of parents in the first place) is very important, and entails great responsibilities. In fact, parents do not only have the duty of “generating” and “maintaining” their child, but beginning with the very first months of life, father and mother are also the child’s main mediators with the surrounding world. This mediation is indispensible so that children can be introduced into the world and protected by the dangers it might present.

In short, the commitment to parenting can not be called easy in any way. That is why, once parents accept these general considerations as their own, they often feel the need for help carrying out their difficult task. Hence the urgency to address issues specifically tied to childhood education and to propose well-designed plans for action.

The book speaks first about family in general, and describes it as a school of values. Within the family, parents exercise authority and are primarily called to be examples for their children through their behavior. They must also “coordinate” family life, supervise their children’s doings, and guide them through every day life. This also applies to the use of television.

To this end, the book proposes different strategies and offers useful recommendations for moms and dads who may not yet understand the TV’s power, or who perhaps find it hard to keep its use under control. Though a little repetitive, it reads easily and is fairly comprehensive. It is also a pleasant read for those who simply wish to delve further into the characteristics of what has become one of the world’s most influential media.

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