There are options good and bad and ultimately every individual should strike a balance by making the right decisions.
KNOWLEDGE is the key to freedom, says my mother— a phrase she truly believes in. Every day she finds some interesting short story and reads it to me.
Over the years, we have read hundreds of short stories. She carefully selects something appropriate to suit my desire for knowledge.
Reading is not the only way she uses to create a fun learning environment. We watch TV too. Be it educational or just entertainment, we enjoy watching TV together.
On average we spend more than two hours a day watching TV. For us the TV acts as a visual talking encyclopaedia, entertainer and placid company.
What preposterous upbringing, you may say, going against the normal rule of life.
To some, lessons can only be acquired in a formal setting and some others, seize any opportunity made available to them.
Quite often friends who visit are perplexed with my mother’s choice of TV programmes.
Coming from an era where knowledge could only be obtained from reading a book, she often reminds us how lucky we are.
History can be dull and boring if one has to read laboriously. Go and tune in to Discovery and History channel where you can watch animated history for hours.
A simple way to gain knowledge. For the curious mind, these programmes act as a trampoline to acquire a greater understanding of an area of interest.
We have made the world a smaller place with television. You need not leave your home to learn about another country.
Gone are the days where only the privileged were able to appreciate foreign lands. People obviously have been greatly influenced by watching TV.
Observe their way of life and you will notice how much other cultures have seeped into their lifestyle.
Do realise that TV can be good company. All of us do need a break from our daily routine.
So you may seek the company of a good friend or a good novel. While this is encouraged, have a thought about the ease of switching on a TV.
You can plop yourself on the couch, tune in to a good movie and relax. Get away from the realities of life and immerse yourself in the land of fantasy.
Take some time off from your hectic day to break away from communicating with people.
Be it reading good literature or watching television, it envelops you from the stress of having to relate with people. Even the most social people yearn for such a break.
So much is shown on TV, from unrealistic reality shows to exceptional ground-breaking documentaries.
Keep in mind whatever you choose you are responsible for it.
Many have negative opinions on watching television. To them watching TV simply is a waste of time. Every programme is given equal weight.
Rather than blankly dismissing TV altogether, isn’t it better to choose wisely just as one would choose anything else in life.
Parents tend to blame television for their children’s poor performance in school. Adding on to the cauldron they also blame TV for today’s shocking social problems. Aren’t they now also victimising TV for children’s obesity?
Begin looking at your own children’s choices. Children will choose shows that are popular among their friends. Like adults who need to keep up with the Joneses, children seek confidence by being popular.
The more they do things that are accepted among their peers, the more popular they become.
Without proper parental supervision the choices that children may make very often sit at the bottom of the hierarchy.
Every child grows up yearning for acceptance. How they seek it and what they receive sometimes worries many parents.
Could this be avoided if parents spent more time with their children? Both children and parents will benefit if choices are made without favouring the influence of their friends.
Forcing a child to watch only educational programmes will often end in the child rebelling.
Giving a little freedom in the choices they make, will make them accountable for their decisions. Of course caring parents will guide their child tactfully so that they make responsible choices.
Clogging a child’s day with academic activities will not only make the child a dull person buried in his textbooks, but the child will also be denied an opportunity to learn out of the classroom. Can there be a balance between work and play, giving more time to the things that are important?
For a child, freedom must come with boundaries — set and monitored by parents. For adults freedom must be accompanied by responsibility.
If we want to keep up with the speed knowledge floods the world, we have to embrace technology.
Not everyone is lucky to have technology in their homes, but for those of us who are privileged, let’s make our choices wisely.
> This is the final instalment in a series of six articles written by the columnist, a 15-year-old non-verbal autistic. He can be reached at email@example.com.