Television and Children’s Imagination

Rosa Martinez

guantanamo cityHAVANA TIMES — Television can either be very good or very bad for children – it all essentially depends on how we use it and the times during the day when we allow our little ones to sit in front of the small screen.

One of the positive aspects of television – shared by reading and playing – is that it helps develop one’s imagination. Through fantasy series, stories and children’s movies (particularly those dealing with other cultures), our children travel to places we know they’ll never visit and get to know renowned characters (most of them from famous books) who are never quite as dazzling as when they are brought to life by the cameras.

Esa fantasía se puede volver en su contra si les permitimos ver series hechas para adultos, principalmente de horror, pues pueden ocasionar pesadillas, temblores y otros trastornos que pueden requerir la atención de un especialista.

Police dramas and action films can also do a fair bit of damage, for, after watching these, child viewers tend to start kicking and hitting everyone or identify with the drug trafficker, thief or outlaw.

Here’s an anecdote illustrating the influence that television has on one of my little girls:

An enormous fair had been organized in Guantanamo. My husband and I came home carrying loads of root vegetables, greens and other products, such as syrup and marmalade. This would help us throw together some snacks at home, very much in demand these days.

A small package wrapped in red nylon and taped shut caught my younger daughter’s attention. I noticed how she frowned when she saw it and I explained to her that it was processed cheese, that no one could touch that, as I was going to use it to prepare something special.

She was still curious about the contents of the package, but I thought it was simply the curiosity of a little girl who wants to touch everything.

For reasons beyond my control, I forgot to place this package in the fridge and I don’t know how it ended up on a box on top of the chest of drawers where we keep important things.

On one occasion, I caught Giselle trying to reach the drawer but, since I didn’t know the cheese was there (and she didn’t tell me what she was looking for), I scolded her for rummaging through my things.

In the afternoon, when I’d completely forgotten about the package of cheese, my daughter came running and, scared and out of breath, said to me: “Run, mom, run, hide your marihuana, the police are at the corner and they’re going to throw you in jail!”

“Marihuana? Giselle, what are you talking about? When have you ever see me with marihuana or anything of the sort? Are you crazy? Relax!” I said to her, somewhat annoyed.

“But, mom, that red package you hid in the drawer isn’t marihuana?” she asked, crying and wrapping my arms around her.