My husband has always been for the idea of not having a TV at home. He believes in family time without the TV switched on.
Growing up in a family where sitting in front of the goggle box is everyone’s favourite pastime, I couldn’t imagine life without it. So of course, we always end up with a TV in our home.
Through the years, however, the goggle box has slowly lost its appeal in our new home, a sign that my husband still sets the rules in the household.
Malcolm grew up spending very little time in front of the goggle machine. He has never have very long attention span for the TV and till today, he is clueless about Batman and Spiderman. He dislikes Spongebob. Seeing Diego and Dora on the newspaper makes him upset because they are NOT real. He has obviously forgotten how he went googoo gaagaa at Disneyland when he was 2.
I am glad to have introduced him to the Disney’s mouse and fowl when he was little. It was easy to feed him things then, his little mind has yet to take form. Today, his collection of Walt Disney bedtime stories sits on the bookshelf, awaiting his interest to be rekindled.
When we first returned to Singapore, living with my family made it so convenient and easy for me to revisit my old habit. Malcolm got really upset when he realised that he had to fight for my attention, not with anyone else, but with the TV. There were a few occasions when he blurted during dinnertime, ‘Eating dinner and watching TV at the same time is NOT a good habit’. He took the liberty and conveniently turned off the TV after that. Not the most polite thing to say and do in front of your elders but he was absolutely right and I didn’t know whether to applause or to jeer.
My dear sisters were eager to show their precious nehphew what he has missed out. The heroic Autobots and evil Decepticon soon found their ways to his fictional world. It wasn’t hard to get him hooked when Thunderbolts, Raptors, Hornets and the Falcons constantly flashed the screen.
When Revenge of the Fallen made its debut, everyone was eager to lure him there. We succumbed. We bought 3 tickets for a weekday afternoon screening, gorged ourselves on popcorn and coke and had the whole movie theatre to ourselves ! I was glad I sat through the 2 hours without dozing off.
I concluded that the lure of today’s visual media is inherent. It is our job as parents to teach them moderation and provide guidance along the way. Any effort to shield them is futile, like many things in life. They’ll get there whether we like it or not.