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Values & Education

Suspended Animation

We have never been fans of idiot box, but have always allowed the kids to dumb down with the help of idiot box in moderation.  We always thought we were making a compromise but thought it was OK to let them have a little dose of aimless animation till one day I heard some of the kids talking in the park, our younger one was part of the group.

Suspended Animation

While doing their acrobatics on the slides, the kids were also playing a popular animation series on the idiot box.

Some of the words that I was surprised to hear from kids were:

  • Chaparghanchu  (not sure what it means)
  • Dayan  (Witch)
  • Chudail  (Witch)
  • Bhootia Mahal (Haunted House)

To be honest we have always thought that cartoons are OK for the kids and have negotiated a quota for each one of the kids to watch cartoons, but now I was worried. Not that these words are new to me, but to listen them in regular conversation of 3-5 year old’s was something new to me. While the kids were discussing, one 3-year-old boy jumped and punched a 2-year-old in the stomach in WWE style. Fortunately the parents of both kids are mature individuals and they separated the kids and took them home. I don’t blame the little boy for he was just practicing what he saw on one of the popular cartoon serial.

But I was wondering what the kids are learning from the TV. We always felt that the cartoons meant for the kids are OK and they can watch them without any issues. But when I hear the words being used on some of these animation series made in India as well as imported from all parts of the world, I wonder if this is the right TV program for them.

I spent a couple of hours watching animation with my kids to see what all is happening in the animation universe. The English words were also not very flattering like Bozo, Moron, Sissy; you stupid and idiot are almost in every conversation.

But equally worrying is the violence the series portray and physical beating of a character is considered to be normal and even entertaining in serials like Chotta Bheem, Tom and Jerry, and Ninja Hattori etc.  Superstition and ghostly objects keep on making appearance at regular interval and nobody blinks and eyelid on them.

Then in the end there will be a small sermon which will tell one of the naughty kids in the cartoon what he did wrong and he should not do (in some cases not always). No wonder kids in the garden or in the birthday party we encounter are so violent and aggressive. As the very source that we feel is safe for them to watch is actually influencing them in a very negative manner. My worry is more because these cartoon characters are the heroes the toddlers idolize, they innocently follow the actions and language of them.

While I don’t want to be a TV Nazi and ban the same completely for kids like one of my friends in Bombay has done for last two years, I am still wondering what the right entertainment for the kids is where they will not be exposed to violence and words that are not right to use at any age leave aside such a young age. Giving them iPad, laptop continuously is not the solution as internet has its own dangers lurking from every corner.

What is your experience of the so-called kid’s entertainment on the idiot box? We would love to know some programs that do not have explicit violence and foul language that the kids can watch both in English and Hindi or your respective mother tongue.

Sasha and Prasad Np are proud parents of 2 girls whom they fondly call Princess (11 yrs in Feb 13) and Pinkette (4 yrs next month). He wears many hats after taking a break from being corner office critter for a long time. He is now entrepreneur, blogger, photographer, traveler and an investor in startups with unique concepts. He blogs at Desi Traveler, and can be reached at Facebook and Twitter.