Hello mums and dads! How can we intentionally mould our children’s TV viewing and their psychology towards televisions and other screen media devices?
Just how can we shape their appetite for the content that comes along with these devices?
There are different methods, tools and approaches that can be implemented to instil a healthy viewing culture in our homes. However, the driving force in successfully attaining this end is solely and dutifully up to us as parents. Our lives and daily activities are increasingly being surrounded and framed by electronic screens and devices. Constant media streaming and interactivity have become the very air that we breath as a society. It is the consequence of living in a digital age laden with revolutionary and fast evolving technology.
How then can we parents, in choosing to become and remain “media wise”, easily create a healthy, practical and rewarding viewing culture for our children? Here are 3 major tips!
1. View, then approve or disapprove
Our children deserve only the best; high quality programming as well as structured, impeccable content that impacts on them positively. Just as we strive to encourage good values such as honesty, respect, kindness, humility and empathy in our kids, so should we aim to select appropriate content for their viewing.
The messages and themes that are carried in different television programmes will influence kids’ general outlook on life as well as play a role in shaping a number of character and personality traits. There are many modern day platforms that offer kids’ shows. Showmax is one such platform that is worthy to check out. It is an internet-based video-on-demand service is a one- stop, multidimensional haven that offers kids of all ages and inclinations an extensive and expansive viewership experience.
One charasteristic of today’s screen media is its video-on-demand nature. Some online platforms for example, give you access to an endless array of TV shows, movies, documentaries, kids’ content and so much more. These are literally available to you right at your fingertips, with efficient, user-friendly accessibility.
In the case of Showmax, all you need is an internet connection and a partnered device like your smartphone or tablet, and your family can enjoy a magnitude of TV shows. Kids are spoilt for choice even within their preferred viewership categories.
It is a good idea to browse these platforms and view the different programmes beforehand as adults. That way, we can easily discern whether or not they are appropriate and offer positive messages for our kids’ perceptive minds. We can approve or disapprove as appropriate.
2. Structured screen time
One word that depicts the essence of good and effective upbringing is “structure”. Structure instils discipline, direction, time efficiency, planning and many more attributes within our kids. These make a good foundation for self-reliance and offer building blocks towards self-worth and individual autonomy. In establishing scheduled screen time for our children, an appreciation for valued content as well as limited and adequate viewing is implemented from an early age.
Why are structured “Kids’ Profiles” important?
With our little ones being almost as tech-savvy as ourselves (and indeed surpassing us at times), keeping them from harm’s way has become one of the most daunting tasks parents face. For this reason, one of the great features to look out for when shopping for the best screen content for your family is the kids’ profile feature.
According to Showmax, which provides such a feature, this comes in handy “if you’ve got tech-savvy little ones who feel completely at home browsing through all the apps on your tablet or smartphone, and who have no trouble connecting to apps on your smart TV.” The function of the KIDS’ PROFILE feature is simply blocking, censorship and filtering of content that is not child friendly. It’s a good example of how to monitor/structure kids’ screen time.
PIN code blocks adult content
The Showmax profile tool is amazing because it uses a PIN code to block kids from potential access to adult and any other undesirable content. It enables parental controls with the secret PIN code for different age settings. In this way, kids aren’t able to access content that’s only appropriate for higher age categories.
You can set up multiple Profiles from a single account, with each member of your family having their own Profile with their unique content selection based on the settings of that profile. Cool, right? You can try out this feature free of charge through the link below:
Further, structured screen time can be created for Showmax, and scheduled in an activity roster, such that television viewing is conditioned as part of a number of daily activities rather than the only activity that our children become akin to. This is particularly important, because screens should not replace physical health, mental growth and social development.
3. The 4-W rule of screen/TV relevance
As we seek to demarcate the value of screen time and TV to our kids, the “4 W’s” naturally come into play as selective measuring tools for relevant content.
- What they watch
- Who they watch
- Why they watch
- When they watch
These are all powerful elements that assist in the thought process that goes into structuring screen time for our children. This is because the intention behind “structured screen time” is that of complete and total additional value which is beneficial to mental growth, social interaction and societal understanding.
Relatable content for different age groups
Once again using the example of Showmax, the platform contains a library of shows and series for kids and their multifaceted mindsets. The service structures viewership according to the different age groups and mind development structures that all youngsters fall within. These categories have specific content, relatable to four age settings:
- Younger Kids (under 7 years)
- Older Kids (8-12 years)
- Teens (13-16 years), and
As a parent you want to work with this kind of platform as it gives you great latitude to bring relevance to your kids’ viewership while ensuring you do not “bore” them with irrelevant programmes. The wide array of kids’ content available on Showmax means that no young mind or age setting will go unchallenged, and applying the 4-W rule becomes relatively easy.
Adventure, comedy, edumentary, fantasy, musical, reality shows and many other themes are easy to customise and complement our children’s individual profiles. Options range from learning and educational shows like Dora and Friends to action franchises like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles; from toddlers’ favourites like Peppa Pig to the hilarious Shaun the Sheep.
Themes and genres are endless on this service and that’s what a parent wants to see in a TV platform.
In conclusion, our children are extremely perceptive, and the analogical comparison that their minds hold to sponges is spot-on. They are explorers, analysts, adventurers, scientists, artists, playwrights and superheroes just from the different media that they take in.
Screen time should thus be monitored and supervised. It should be an interactive experience between parents and children. In this way, screens will not be elevated to a position of companionship by our children; it ought to be an open ended conversational and interactive platform for the entire family.
By this token, we should never cave into the easy temptation to embrace screens as replacement nannies or babysitters.
Note: Sponsored content, Courtesy of Showmax.