Notice how your child hardly pays attention to what’s on TV when what’s currently playing isn’t a show that has Mickey Mouse or any of his friends in it? On the other hand, observe how the first note of a commercial jingle or the first line in a catchy slogan immediately makes your child look at the screen. (We honestly believe that if you played different commercials non-stop, kids wouldn’t even notice they’re not watching any show at all!)
Despite the argument about too much TV time encouraging aggressive behavior or straining your little one’s eyes, sometimes, the results of watching TV (we advocate monitored TV time, of course) are more hilarious than alarming. This is what we mean:
You know your kids watch too much TV if…
1. They can’t believe actors are real people too.
One mom recounts, “We saw an actress one time at the mall, and I casually told my daughter that that woman was one of the characters in a local teleserye (soap) that we would watch together. She could hardly believe it! We couldn’t stop laughing when she said, ‘What? People from the TV are real?!”
2. They know exactly what you need when you need it. Mom Nora’s son came home from school one day with his uniform stained with paint they used in art class. She couldn’t hide her disappointment, not to mention her anxiety about getting the stain off. But her son says, “Don’t worry, mommy. You can use Breeze! Remember? Sige sa mantsa!”
3. They call commercial models by the name of the product they endorse. There’s this Nescafe TV ad with Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla that keeps playing on local channels. The two also star in a teleserye and a host of other TV commercials, but mom Nina’s precocious six-year-old can’t help but call them “Nescafe Creamy White girl” and “Nescafe Creamy White boy” every time they appear on the screen.
4. A square opening in a box can turn into a TV screen. Dad John took his toddler daughter to a fast food restaurant and ordered a kiddie meal that came in a box. When they were finished, the daughter started tinkering with the box and managed to make a hole in the middle. She then set it on the table and peeked through the hole, watching customers order at the counter. “Look, daddy, my very own TV!” she said.
5. They relate real-life to teleserye plots.
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Relates a mom of two, “I let my child watch local channels to help him with his Filipino. I admit that also allows me to indulge in a teleserye or two. Once, we were talking about his classmate who has an older brother in the same school, but in a different campus. When I asked why they go to separate campuses, she said, ‘You know, like in "Bridges of Love"!” ("Bridges of Love" is a story of two brothers who were separated when they were young.)
6. They can’t help but quote those tag lines. Try strolling down the aisles of the supermarket and your child is likely to blurt out all sorts of tag lines when a particular product logo or name catches their eye. “Uy, Safeguard! It kills germs!” and “Look, Tide with power bleach! Six pesos lang!” are some of the things that mom Erin’s preschooler says. She adds, “Frankly, I don’t really mind because it keeps my child entertained, and I get to concentrate on my shopping without her bugging me to finish right away!”
7. They know what’s currently in the news. Even if they’re too young to understand, kids who pay enough attention to news programs would recognize faces easily. Take for instance mom Connie’s toddler, who would shout, “Na-polis! Na-polis!” every time a report showing alleged "pork barrel scam" mastermind Janet Napoles would be shown.
8. They know the MTRCB ratings by heart. A first-grader with excellent memory can recognize the TV classification ratings (green for General Patronage, blue for Parental Guidance, and red for Strict Parental Guidance) upon seeing it at the bottom of the screen. If, for instance, the rating is in blue, 7-year-old Luke would ask his mom Annie, “I can’t watch that show by myself, right?”
9. They expect a commercial break – even when you’re watching a movie.
It’s right at the climax of a scene in a TV show when a commercial break is bound to happen. Kids know this, too! Once, mom Fely took her seven-year-old to a movie, and when the characters started fighting, the youngster covered his eyes and said, “Mom, is the commercial coming on yet?”
10. They can tell which show is coming on just by the first two notes of its theme song. “It’s Little Einstein! Mickey Mouse Clubhouse is up next! Is that Jake and the Neverland Pirates? Sofia the First!” But hey, as long as you're there to monitor and guide them while watching his favorite educational TV shows, why not?