27 February 2013

Gambia: The Children and the Satellite TV Channels Are the Parents Really in Charge?


Affluence comes with its advantages and disadvantages. One of the most important disadvantages is the lack of time for children. The more affluent a person becomes the more the likeliness of being made a patron to grace many ceremonies. Some of these ceremonies continue up to the late hours of the night.

During such periods children control the channels on TV. They switch on and select what they like. Since the programmes are not geared for Gambian society there is no demarcation of what are children or adult films. The children often watch the most violent films since they are more dramatic. Intimate relationships are not censored. Hence children are exposed to a way of life at a very early age, day in and day out without the supervision of parents or guardians.

It is not uncommon to see children imitate their role models from films in playing games with other children. They imitate manners of speech, dress and other behaviours and display such values in their daily interactions. Sometimes children would hold toy guns or knives and take KARATE postures when playing with other children. Such role playing reflects the types of behaviours and values the children have internalised. Might is often revered more than right. Lack of mercy, arrogance, intolerance and vengeance become their way of life. The children sleep late and find it difficult to get up early in the morning. In many instances, parents do not even watch what the children are watching. Hence parent usually are not in a position to conduct an intelligent conversation with their children on the lessons to be drawn from a film or show. Parents and children are beginning to live in different worlds with more children gaining more exposure than their parents. Children are exposed to cyber crime in an entertaining way thus teaching them craftiness or dubiousness which is mistaken for smartness.

Many parents even surrender their route to have access to technology to the children who develop capacity to manipulate gadgets in more sophisticated ways than their parents.

No wonder affluent parents are being shocked to be told that a child who is being sponsored in University has joined this or that terrorist network or has become a suicide bomber. Technology should exist for people and not people for technology. The sooner we tame technology and make it user friendly for the common good the better. The children are the future; if they are lost to cyber space the future would be betrayed.

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