Remote control

Remote control

“Splitsvilla!” When I didn't react she repeated, “Splitsvilla! Axe your ex!” her voice going up a few decibels. I continued to give the school teacher a blank look. “I'm talking about the TV shows that are popular with children these days” she declared.  I was trying not to let my jaw drop to the floor. “Using foul language and riding rough shod with other kids is what children are learning from these shows” she lamented. “There's either a lack of parental control or utter ignorance about what the kids are watching.”

I could hardly wait for my own children to get home that evening from school. When I bombarded them with questions about these shows, they declared that they'd heard of them, though they had never watched them in their “whole entire life”. I tried hard not to roll my eyes. My two drama queens adopted identical solemn expressions on their faces. At that moment, the generation gap had never seemed wider.

Where does one draw the line as to what programs a child can or cannot watch? Television continues to be the most powerful medium today and children have 24/7 access to it. The channel czars depend on TRP ratings to determine the life of a show. But are we missing out on the influence of these television shows on young minds? While vernacular shows are often dismal with hackneyed plots and poor acting, English shows watched by the YouTube generation are not far behind with their coarse language and lack of any morality—certainly not fit fare for young children.

Technology has proved to be a boon as there are parental controls for television—if only I knew how to use them. By merely setting up a password, parents can prevent children from viewing programs, on a particular channel, time or by rating.

I know these are small sops for millions of hapless parents. But are parents making use of these advantages?

So when my daughter's friend gave her a full-blown explanation on what happened in the latest episode of “Balika Vadhu” my daughter wondered if she could swap places with her.

But that was a passing thought much to my relief.

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