TV debates cramming space for family time?

News time

A year ago, before the popularity of television debates, families would sit together and try to spend some quality time. In the same households, there was of course space for the 9 o’clock news or as it was called Prime Time news, but the major portion of the evenings was dedicated to family affairs.

Be it education of a child, health of the elderly, office politics and so on, everything used to be discussed before a sort of a panel consisting of one’s parents and in case of joint families, grandparents. Metrolife spoke to some of the elderly who, with quite a lot of interest in socio-political affairs of the country, cannot help missing the bygone days.
“I remember just a decade ago, the evenings were spent with family. We used to have dinner together followed by some news. The night would generally end talking to each other, but now the drawing room is quite a scene. Children are busy with phones, while the elderly tune in to television debates which are more like shouting matches,” said Noor Mohamad, a retired government official.

Another resident spoke to Metrolife about the quality of news. “Everything used to be covered, from international news to weather. I used to encourage my children to watch news but definitely after spending some quality family time.”

The problem is more serious for Veerji Sharma, a city-based counsellor. He said that the children are the ones who are affected the most as the elderly of the home spend more time watching television.
“Kids follow their parents. If they see their parents watching television for hours, it gives them a sort of a confirmation that they can do it as well. I personally believe that every family must make it a point to speak to their children at least for two minutes every day. Try to get involved in their lives,” Sharma said. However talking about the serious implication of the debates, Sharma accused the panellists of setting a wrong precedent.
“First of all children should not be watching certain news material as the issues raised might be too much for them. But if they happen to watch news every day, just because their parents are doing so, they end up copying the behaviour of the panellists. It is no secret to anyone that all of the panellists and in some cases anchors as well; yell at each other just to score brownie points. This is bad for the children who need to be taught the value of being civilised while talking to others,” Sharma added.
Deependra Yadav, a resident here, also shared the same view. “News is an important part of our society and to suggest alternatives to it, according to me, is not a bright idea. We do miss family time but had it been replaced with something constructive, I would have been still happy,” Yadav said

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