Sunday, 22 March 2015

Watch What Kids Are Watching




Enjoying the show from front row!
Cartoon channels meant for kids are now changing their menus to include whole families. It sounds absurd since channels meant for kids barely fulfill the needs of their conventional audience. Should not they be doing justice to their names and paying more attention to their core job rather than expanding into vague areas?

It was a moment of truth when my hitherto unspoiled-by-TV-cartoons two-and-a-half year old son came home after playing with a neighbor's kid and demanded to watch Doraemon. I huffed with disappointment at this sudden turn of events. I had always carefully kept him away from such cartoons to serve multiple purposes. I had seen homes turned upside down by TV (cartoon) watching habits of kids, before having a child of my own, and had formed a sort of pledge in my mind to keep a check on it whenever such time came. On the suggestion of a friend, I used to show him BabyTV when my son showed interest in watching TV. Initially his TV viewing duration was small, but it grew bigger with the baby.

As I tried my best to decrease this time, in order to keep it healthy and refreshing, somehow he found out that there were more appealing, louder and naughtier cartoon characters than his usual tame, nursery-rhyme-singing, A-B-C chanting, obedient characters from BabyTV. Just the other day, I saw my husband's cartoon lover cousin standing in front of TV, surfing through the cartoon channels, and as he stopped at a certain channel for a few minutes, I was flabbergasted after hearing the cartoon characters talk to each other in Bollywood actors' voices.

Obviously, it was dubbed in Hindi, using voices from mimicry artists. But it was definitely not meant for kids. It sounded weird and almost profane, something that I would not want my kid to watch at this highly impressionable age, especially after him proving his parroting skills of the highest degree. He not only repeats what he hears verbatim, he can also recall it with miraculous precision weeks later. I know deep within that what sounds cute now might be very undesirable in future. Speaking like an actor, using heavy vocabulary, being rude and irreverent to everyone around and sounding way older than their innocent childhood years are some of the characteristics that I routinely find in kids these days and this premature departure of childhood just breaks my heart.


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