RETIREE Vincent Anthony found it increasingly difficult to lessen the frequency of his grandchildren watching television until their kindergarten embarked on a “no-television week” campaign.
The 62-year-old said his grandchildren Thytus Benjamin, six, and Nixon, five, who lived with him during the week, watched about four hours of television a day.
“After the Turn Off the TV Week campaign from April 21 to 27, I managed to cut the time by an hour. They took it as the rule of law and tried to follow it except for their favourite shows,” he said.
The campaign was organised by the Federation of Malaysian Consumers Associations.
“It’s worthwhile investing time in the children. They cope better in school because they understand things better and no longer dread going to school,” he said.
Thytus said he went to the playground a lot and read story books while his brother Nixon added that he did a lot of drawing, colouring and practised playing guitar with his brother.
“I missed watching TV but I enjoyed playing the guitar,” Nixon said.
It was also difficult for accountant Pearly Chuah to turn off the television during the campaign. But she managed to reduce her children’s six-hour daily viewing times to two.
“The campaign helped me bond with my children,” she said.
Her son, Ng Jia Hao, four, spent the television time drawing, colouring, playing with puzzles, toy cars and block games while her daughter Ng Jia Xin, three, listened to music and stories read to her.
Chuah said she would still practice the things she had learned from the campaign.
She and husband have even decided to take their children out for a picnic this weekend.
In another development, housewife R. Sakthi Devi, 38, said her youngest child M. Janagi, six, managed to stay off television for a whole week despite failing to encourage her four older brothers to do likewise.
“Janagi controlled herself well and she used her time to practise her piano lessons, playing chess and puzzles with her brothers.
“She also did some colouring and drawing,” she said.
Sakthi said it helped the children share their feelings and become closer.
Sakthi added that she had tried reducing the viewing hours for her children but it did not work but she was glad that the kindergarten had initiated the campaign and that Janagi had listened to her teachers.
After the campaign, she allowed Janagi to watch television for an hour each day.
Taska Kinderland Playhouse principal, Evelyn Foo said she was glad that parents participated in the campaign and realised the importance of family time together and the need for pre-school children to be physically and mentally active.
The 3K Campaign Coordinator for the project Datuk Paul Selva Raj said the campaign involving five kindergartens in Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, Perak and Negri Sembilan was meant to create a closer bond within the family and to encourage a more active lifestyle and reduce obesity that resulted from viewing too much television.
“Children also face a lot of risks and influences outside the home and parental bonding and support are important in shaping and preparing them for life,” he said.