What harm did TV do?


Two weeks ago, the mother of one of my guitar students told me that she is sending her 8-year-old son for Badminton coaching because he watches TV otherwise.

Last week, the father of one of my guitar students told me that he canceled the cable subscription because his kids are watching TV.

Let me tell you my story.

I have watched so much TV than anyone I know. The reason I got interested in roller-skating is because I saw kids skating on TV when I used to go to Middle-East for my school vacations, way back in late 1970’s.

Roller Skating gave me a platform to meet lots of people and to travel to different places for competitions.

The best thing I remember is, when our school Head Master came to know that I became a state champion in my age group, he asked me to do a roller skating demonstration in our school hall.

No one really knew about roller skating in my hometown, way back in 1980-1982.

Imagine me skating inside the school hall and the entire school watching me perform… Thanks to TV.

If I am making a living with music today, the reason is TV.

First of all, I got inspired to take up the guitar by watching videos on TV. I was spellbound watching these larger than life people on the stage with so many guitars, huge amplifiers, and their walls of speakers with Marshal or Fender written on them.

We never had youtube or the internet to watch all these in those days.

So, I used to sit in front of the TV every day for hours to record music programs on Video Cassettes when they used to show it on Doordarshan. I was 13 or 14 then.

Imagine what would have happened to my life if my parents did not allow me to watch TV? I would have been leading a great life as a Charted Accountant or a businessman. (Thank God, it did not happen)

If someone says I cook well, it is because of the cookery shows I watched on TV. If someone says I am sensitive to world affairs, it is because of TV. If someone says that I know so much about world war 1 and 2, it is because of TV.

I am a person who hates to go out of my house. Whoever knows me well would know that it is easy to find me. I’ll be in my room. But that is a blessing for me in a way because I have traveled the world many times with the help of TV that I actually don’t have to go to a place to experience and enjoy the good and the bad of that place.

Now, I don’t know how to explain that phenomenon. Maybe an avid reader can understand what I am talking about. He can visualize everything in his mind when he reads.

Umm… when I was 13, I saw how to make love, on TV. By watching TV I understood, there was something called foreplay, oral sex, and why they invented condoms.

It would have been really stupid if I had waited for my Dad, Mom or Hendry Sir (who taught me Biology in St. Joseph Boys High School, Trivandrum) , to explain to me all these.

More than all these, I learned how to kiss a girl by watching TV.

Did it help? Yes, my friend, it did! When you are in your early teens, no one would advise you on all these matters, right? I don’t know. At least in my case, no one did.

Yeah… before learning to kiss, I learned how to make love; if I write in chronological order. Isn’t that weird? 🙂

I have watched so much and got so many information that now, I can live without it. It gave me whatever I needed to last a lifetime, by the time I was 19.

Yes, kids can live without TV. But then, are we a walking encyclopedia to give our kids all the information they want? Are we going to sit there for one hour every day and explain about arts, cooking, music, sports, relationships, world wars, history of Croatia, Judaism, Buddhism, politics, Shakespeare etc.?

Is there anything really we tell our kids other than, study well, get good marks and become an engineer?

Now some may argue that reading is better. I agree. But kids already have so much to read in the school syllabus. Isn’t that enough? On the top of it, you want kids to read a book on music, sports etc.? How long you think it will take a kid to read a book completely?

Yes, TV is not a must. Then, is Pressure cooker a must? Anything can be cooked without a pressure cooker. The only problem is, it might take a lot of time.

Anyways, these are all my own opinion.

I am no one to tell others what is good for their kids.

But as a music teacher, one thing is sure, if your kids want to play an instrument, there must be a song. To create a song, there must be a songwriter. To write a song, there should be a story to tell. To tell a story, there must be a real life experience.

I don’t know if you have noticed. The story is the king. If there is no story to tell, no one will listen to the song or watch a movie; no matter how big the rock stars who play instruments or actors played the character.

And usually, the stories are about deep love, pain, despair, heartbreaks, and hardships.

Again, my opinion. Cannot generalize.

Yes, your kids may write songs about the latest technological breakthrough and might win a Grammy Award. Good Luck. Don’t let them watch anything other than some Cricket matches on TV.

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