ByÂ Lekha Saini:
The advent of television in every home in the country has, on one hand, widened the information we are exposed to, but on the other, has resulted in a dramatic drop of creative levels in the entertainment industry. What was funny a couple of decades ago, has been buried in the sands of time. The sheer innocence and playfulness in the jokes of the actors is now being replaced by stand up comedians introducing promiscuity in their scripts to gain a couple of laughs. And surprisingly, these are not the only flavours of reality TV that we find nowadays.
There are those which invite you to show your mettle in a few ‘tough tasks’. Incidentally, a friend’s daughter, all of 11 years, is a huge fan of one of these shows. In her view, these are the ‘in- things’ and she has to follow them so that she can be a part of the discussions which are sure to follow the next day at school. After a quick mocking session of my ‘lame taste’ when it comes to my choice of watching TV to follow up on the news or tune in to my all-time favourite cartoon channels, she went back to watch couples almost twice her age taking part in useless, and mindless (to say the least), tasks to prove to the rest of the world that they are made for each other.
Is this really what we want our kids to indulge in? Unsupervised TV viewing while giving our kids a broader view of the world we live in, is also destroying the purity associated with these early years. It is not new to hear about kids as young as 9 year olds having girlfriends/boyfriends and being serious and committed to each other. But that’s what they see in TV and movies nowadays and hence try to emulate in their lives as well. How can parents even let them be exposed to such notions is beyond me. It takes away their childhood and replaces it with a fervent desire to grow up sooner.
Being called a kid is now almost a swear word and everywhere you look, people are coming up with innovative ideas (and some mostly copied from foreign channels abroad) to streamline the children into the rat race which the grownups are a part of. From being given ad-shoots, to modeling, to singing and dancing on stage, you can see children being motivated to be a part of it all and being grilled to soak in as much glory as they can muster in their formative years. There’s hardly a commercial left, which doesn’t have these kids prancing away asking you to hurry up and buy the product. It’s not just their childhood that is being taken away: it’s their innocence, it’s the spring in their steps, it’s the unbridled laughter, which is being bargained for two minutes of fame.
Gone are the tender smile and the infectious laughter, gone are the cute frocks and little shoes. What’s left is a generation of underage kids fighting with all their might to be called adults!