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From 4 to 5 years of age, children establish permanent habits and emotional characteristics through imitation and identification. Imitation is conscious, but identification is unconscious and occurs through the adoption of behavior patterns and attitudes of significant people for the child. For this reason, it is necessary to be vigilant regarding the effects of television on the child and specifically regarding television violence.
Violent scenes can generate aggressive behaviors in children, simply by learning and imitating them. If parents agree to their children watching television, they must first be sure of the content of the programs their children watch and the time they spend watching television.
The father and mother should be companions of their child, helping children to be judgmental in front of television. And they must also:
- Attend TV shows with them.
- Choose appropriate programs for the child's developmental level.
- Put limits to the amount of time: no more than an hour or two a day.
- Turn off the TV during lunch and study hours.
- Avoid programs whose content is not appropriate for children.
- Prevent them from watching programs with explicit violence. Soap operas, newscasts or dramas can cause unnecessary suffering to a child.
- Stimulate discussions with the children about what they are watching as they watch the shows together.
- Point out the positive values like cooperation, friendship ...
- Make connections of what they are seeing with real or study situations.
- Relate your personal values and relatives with those they see on television.
- Discuss with the children on the role of advertising and its influence on purchases.
- Stimulate the child to play sports, have hobbies and friends the same age.
- Record quality programs to see them at another time.
- Turn on the television to watch a specific program.
- Create the habit of turning off the television when the program ends.
- Avoid cartoons that show their characters suffering. This is very common in great animated films, in which the child becomes distressed when identifying with the character. There is no evidence of benefit for a child to suffer from watching a children's movie.
- Teach what fiction is as opposed to reality: Characters in movies are played by actors and not by real people.
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