The good and bad influences on the mind of a child

People and the media can have a huge impact on the mind of a child.

Mr Electrico

Ray Bradbury the great science fiction author of works like Fahrenheit 451 died recently aged 91.  Mr Bradbury often recalled as a child a meeting he had with a stage act called Mr Electrico, who touched the boy with an electrical sword making his hair stand on end, and commanded him to Live forever!  The action, probably a routine action of the stage act of Mr Electrico, had a major impact on the boy who was inspired to start writing, and the world gained a writing genius.

The hero

Children constantly look to those around them as role models, upon which they mimic and play out what they see in their own selves.  The smallest action by a person can have a huge impact on the mind of a child.  Luke Pace, aged 12, jumped into a river to save a girl, because he wanted to be like his “brave mum”.

Adult world crushes children’s minds

In the modern world children are discouraged from social contact with those that could impact their minds, instead having a large chunk of their waking life captured by television, video games and the internet, where less than ideal imagery impact and shape their minds.  Yasmeen Olya in her blog said:

“The child is best when he is certain of his life, 100% certain that he/she is in the right place, that everything is in its right place, that the universe is moving beautifully and perfectly, and cradling him.”

Mental illness in children

In their small pond in life the child feels in control, a giant, safe; but when they are dumped too early into the great ocean of reality the child feels small, frightened and powerless.  Television, video games and the internet sends the adult world crashing into the minds of the child before they are ready for it, and thus this contributes to the appalling statistics of mental illness in children estimated in UK at 10% or 20% of them at any one time.

Obsession with body image

The media sexualise and make children worried about their body image.  In my town of Colchester statistics show for instance in body image at the low-end 47% of girls worry about their weight (year 9), rising to 80% (year 11 to 13) girls. In a 2011 report in the Guardian newspaper 197 UK children aged between five and nine were hospitalised with eating disorders.

Ban television, video games and internet

There is now widespread debate in the UK about what is to be done about the impact of video games, internet, and television on children.  I have an easy solution, children should have no access to video games, internet or television before the age of 12, and that will be what I will be doing if I raise any child.


29 responses to “The good and bad influences on the mind of a child

  1. Today’s post by you is a ‘Must Read’.

  2. Reblogged this on OAK and commented:
    A wonderful post by Alex.’A MUST READ’

  3. It’s good that the U.K. is debating this. No sign of that happening on the North American side of the pond, I’m afraid.

    • Lots of money is thrown at politicians by special interest groups, which may explain why USA has not yet moved; this is less so in UK where there are things happening which may cause a ripple effect across the globe.

  4. It’s not so easy to raise a child in today’s world. It’s been two generations already that large numbers of parents have been making similar pledges to ban or limit their children’s TV viewing. So far, I haven’t noticed any reduction. Many, probably most, children spend more hours each day with their TV or computer screen than they do with parents, so who has the greater influence? Today’s kids may be more neurotic and more stupid than previous generations, but they are better consumers.

    • Television serves one purpose, to sell advertising, which grooms children into being good consumers. Modern society encourages parents to work long hours, which leaves them too exhausted to look after their children well, and so television is used as like a babysitting tool.

  5. Very nice and useful post Alex! All the good things and changes begins from us. We can enrich our family and surroundings with the true knowledge, everything will change slowly. So be the change, you want to see in the world! 🙂

  6. Some people I know have some adopted children they do not allow internet, video games, or even soda. They only allow them to watch simple childrens movies on tv like “Cars”, and only to play with simple old fashioned kind of toys. It is a non religious household, but secretly i’ve always wondered if it was a little harsh. But I think you’re right, the kids do seem happy overall, safe in the small pond, and more self disciplined than other children their age. Great post! You’ve given me something to reconsider.

  7. thesubterraneanworld

    One of the best posts by you Alex! Definitely a MUST READ!

  8. Great Article!!

    When between 1 and 8 years old, a child’s brain captures everything around him/her to shape his/her life.. It is upto to the parents what all they expose their child to.. The basis of one’s character, nature and thoughts are defined during these infantile years.. After the age of 8 years, the mind simply re-tweaks itself but no major changes happen.. I have seen 4 year olds abuse more than an average adult!! because they were exposed to that sort of thing at a very early age! It’s a child, it does not know what is good or bad, yet.. It does what is being done around him.. It’s very important for us to take care of our children..My kid is not going to have internet, cell phones, games and TV until he/she is 14 – 15 years old.. It’s very important for me that they have a meaningful spiritual life than a freakin materialistic one..

    Great Article Alex.. Always happy to read your stuff 🙂

  9. Some people aren’t fit to be parents and unfortunately, babies don’t come with a guide book. You’re correct to say that the smallest thing can affect a child, and the smallest thing could be positive, as well as negative.
    I was all of those things as a child, and I made it through, without mental illness. Or maybe not… Perhaps I’m crazy and don’t know it.
    When my first set of kids, now adults in their mid to late thirties were growing up with me, I limited the television to one hour per day. I can guarantee you that if you don’t allow ANY until 12 years of age, you’ll find your child at the neighbor’s or friend’s house, watching tv. Mine did, though not every day, but it did happen.

    • Hi seapunk, thanks for your comment.

      Parenting skills is like everything, learned, so good parenting teaches children how to be good parents through experiencing it on themselves.

      As you point out, it is unrealistic to expect to totally control what children will be exposed to, but in our own homes we are the authority, and there we have control of what happens, which of itself is a huge influence on how children will develop.

  10. We, too, follow the one hour max per day rule, being extremely careful about what is viewed. We record everything, and eliminate all commercials. Our emphasis is on books… more reading time than screen time. And, of course, tons and tons of free play time and lots of nature every day. 🙂

    • Well done on your strategy, the material from television, video games and the internet can be so damaging to a young mind. I have not watched television for several years.

      • Both my husband and I gave up television before we even met each other. We’d rather spend our evenings talking with each other or reading books. The only thing we watch is the Tour de France! People think we’re freaks…

      • Good outlook 🙂

        Without television I have time to do things like write my blogs.

  11. In all fairness, even the Romans complained about the youngsters being a nuisance and good for nothing and I don’t think they had television or video games.

    • I think that the strife of generations is so deep it appears a lot even in myth. Television, video games and internet is slightly different to the conflict of generations, in that it destroys the minds of all generations.

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