There are many good truths about preschool television. Today there is more quality programming designed with educational benefits in mind than ever before. While we did have Sesame Street in our youth, today children have several stations designed specifically to offer quality programming (often created by or with educators). Through these days television programs, children can experience dinosaurs, volcanoes, sharks, rain forests and much much more. As a result they are much more informed and knowledgeable.
There are some bad truths about preschoolers’ relationship to television as well. The preschool children will able to learned bad habits, attitudes and language from some shows and networks. For some children, television takes the place of active play so the child lacks physical and mental stimulation. Not all television is appropriate for preschoolers and can expose children to violence, lifestyles, and sexual situations that young children cannot, and should not, comprehend.
The ugly truth about television and preschoolers is that TV is a tool, and like any other tool it can be either used or abused. Too many families rely on television as a cheap babysitter. I have done so myself. Too many families place no restrictions or control over their preschoolers’ television habits. Children can watch whatever they want, whenever they want. It is easy to blame networks or the entertainment industry for problems with our children. It is easy to diagnose that cutting back television viewing is the cure.
The simple truth is that balance and control are the real keys, and not by restricting your child’s access to television. Balance TV viewing with quality family time and play time. Control what stations and shows your child watches. Television can be a positive force in your preschooler’s life if you exercise balance and control, but if you don’t take care then it may well become a negative force. The simple truth is the direction of the pendulum swing is up to you as a parent.