We all want to do the best for our kids – that’s part of being a parent and there are times when we torture ourselves on what’s the best thing to do. We all know that too much TV is not good for kids but it’s not just the amount of TV that kids watch that we need to keep an eye on. We also need to be aware of the quality of the programmes that kids are watching and to make sure that these are age appropriate.
While many households enjoy settling down in the evening to watch the soaps on TV, if you have kids under the age of 10 or 11 years, you need to think carefully about watching your favourites. Although these soaps are usually aired in the early evening (after tea when the dishes have been done and bedtime is approaching for most little ones) they very often feature situations and conversations that are not really suitable for kids. There are arguments, fights, deaths and even murders (usually around the Christmas period to imbue the festive season with some extra drama in a fight for ratings) and many of these situations are portrayed as ‘normal’ family or community life. Younger children could end up with a fairly skewed view on life if they think that soap operas reflect reality.
Soaps are really not suitable for under 10s – they deal with adult situations that are beyond the comprehension of most children. Okay, soaps do tackle important social issues and they bring matters to the public awareness – they can provide a great starting point for debate and make it easier to discuss issues that were once ‘swept under the carpet’. However, most of these conversations and debates are more suited to older children or secondary school age.
What about films and dramas on TV – it’s very important for parents to monitor closely what their kids are watching to ensure that it’s suitable and they’re not coming across information or the portrayal of situations that they’re just not ready for yet. There are plenty of children’s programmes that cover social and emotional issues that are age appropriate for the children they target – and cover these issues in a more gentle way.
Keep on top of what your kids are watching – sit and watch with them when you can. This way you’ll be on hand to answer their questions and make sure they have a well-balanced view of the world and don’t think of life as one big soap opera.