Do you “freeze” when there is “action” on screen? – Streaming platform and other hacks for Parents

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January 10, 2022

All parents are quite familiar with this scenario. You are watching a RomCom or just about any web-series these days, and just as the screen pair are about to get some “action”, you just “freeze”! Reason- a pair of cute, wide eyes are just getting a little wider! “Relax” flips to “tense”, do I try to appear cool about it and let it roll? Do I fast forward? Do I drop a coin, a pencil, my guilt,  as it’s getting a bit heavy to hold?  They are going to learn anyway, so might as well!? My parents always changed channels, and never knew what my nickname in college was, unlike Sexa’s Dad’s discovery in “Chichhorey”!Streaming platforms are indeed a mine-field for fragile minds! So then you would think, maybe YouTube is better? You may not be too bothered or aware of impact on a young mind of watching Fairy Tales or traditional stories, after all, we are parents not filters! But they too have some disturbing underlying themes:Women are damsels to be rescued by MenMarriage is the ultimate rewardOverall lack of racial/physical diversity There is a lot of violence in many kids’ stories tooWorst – female characters either confined to home or depicted as Evil step sisters, witches etcPromote gender stereotypesThen there is violence, whether it’s Games, Movies, even verbal. Sometimes, parents too frequently unleash verbal tirades in front of their child! Let’s top up the rant, dismal commentary, with the problem of “too much” viewing, even if it’s “relatively less harmful” content. So, now that a sketchy trailer of the concern or problem has been premiered, let’s talk of only two things, Impact and Mitigation/Control. These suggestions, are all gathered from credible research, inputs of child psychologists and specific for kids, less than 10 year old.ImpactExposure to repeated violence through either movies or games, leads to a reduced willingness to help someone in actual painIt also leads to viewing violent acts as less serious and increases agreement to idea that violence is an acceptable means to solve problemsReduced empathy, increased objectification, desensitization and erosion of moralityDecreased self esteem, negative body imageSex perceived as a substitute for healthier emotions – Love, care etc. Unrealistic image of sex, perceived only for pleasure than an expression of intimacyA deep dive into impact, may not be needed here, as we are perceptive enough to understand. We also realize, that we certainly cannot keep our kids shielded, and of course there is research which highlights the negative impact of an overly shielding behavior. So what’s more important are practical parenting tips to control the extent of impact, again remember this is more relevant for 6-10 year old kids:ControlOnce in a while, listen in to kids’ self talk or their role play with toys, dolls etc or chatter between friends, when seated and not actively playing. If there are any red flags – deep seated issues, pent up emotions, unhealthy curiosity, boasting knowledge from little information, child psychologists suggest that these sentiments usually surface during role-plays and games.It may help to understand beforehand, what Movie ratings actually mean, a minute or two of understanding the content, and what you are comfortable with, as parents, is better than some discomfort.,, are top personally recommended resources for kids centric reviews. In any case, covering the eyes, distraction behavior, changing channels may not be a good idea, always. Keeping a calm demeanor and encouraging kids to ask questions to satiate curiosity is a better bet than them getting unfiltered answers from net/social media. At some stage, in your own way, parents need to talk and explain the difference between healthy sexuality as an expression of positive emotions – love, caring, bringing a new life vs. arising from more reptilian urges – pleasure, ego, supremacy, revenge, associating self worth with the “act”. If the child picks up swearing he learns from social media or wherever, as a means to gain attention, the best bet is to stay calm and ignore the word. Instead give attention and praise, for good language. However, if swearing is out of anger and frustration, you can encourage children to use alternative words, even funny, which you make up together, “fish”, “flip”, “Holly!Molly!”. Feeling Angry is ok, but inappropriate words are not. Use techniques of Belly breathing, glitter jar, anything, but essentially encourage the kid to learn their “own” calming behavior, and not for parent to “distract” or “bribe” into good behavior.As a rule from the beginning, any watching of TV, videos should be done with open doors for the age group we are discussing here. Avoid closed door scenarios in the home, as much as you can.If you must create an account for the child which is certainly not recommended even by law before 13 years (Children online privacy protection act, COPPA in the US, but generally applicable everywhere, given Americanization of tech industry), then regularly check privacy settings and keep the profile private,Parents need to remain updated, there are new social apps springing up like Pheed, Kik,, Yik Yak, Discord – chat apps for gamers, which start off with good intent but morph very quickly into unhealthy and even serious subject-specific-groups. Again, like any of the above points, good heart to heart chats, and a relationship of trust is the backbone to safeguarding your child from the impact of negative influences.With the amount of vitriol on News channels, for the age group we are discussing, you are best advised to just purely avoid watching News channels before young kids altogether.Even with all above, there is no escaping toxic effects of social media, streaming content out there, which causes gradual desensitization. So some physical time out gifting old clothes, old toys to needy, visit to where your house-help lives, caring for animals, encouraging them to ask about well being of grandparents than just talk about themselves etc are behaviors we need to encourage and praise.Good stories, Song Rhymes, hearty conversations, healthy games need to be in a healthy proportion in the overall mix of exposure we give to our kids. Watch this little song which captures this emotion.- Dad view blog written by Harsh Roy for Valuez. Available for free download on Android devices at