Since March 18 when government closed schools, among other measures, to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic, the issue of learners have been a subject of debate arising from the lockdown.
Just last week, residents of Nantabulirwa village in Goma Division, Mukono District, were left in shock following the death of a seven-year-old Derrick Waderu, who reportedly died while trying to imitate a movie he had watched with his brother. Waderu is said to have tied shoe laces on a double decker bed before using them to hang himself.
His mother, Hannah Tumwekwase, told authorities that after having lunch, she instructed Waderu to mop the house, but he disappeared minutes later. On looking for him, the brother found him hanging on the decker bed. He was rushed to a nearby hospital only to be pronounced dead on arrival.
In another incident, a 16-year-old boy in Mukono Municipality reportedly committed suicide after he was allegedly found defiling his six-year-old step sister. The boy was reportedly caught in the act by his stepmother, who threatened to report him to his father.
Kampala Metropolitan Police spokesperson Patrick Onyango told journalists that the boy, out of anger and embarrassment, locked himself in a pit-latrine and hanged himself using a sisal rope.
True, watching television (TV) can entertain, educate, open up new world for a child - giving them a chance to learn about different cultures and gain exposure to new ideas. This is especially true with TV programmes and messages that have positive effect on children’s behaviour. Programmes that feature societal role models can influence children’s attitudes and beliefs for the good of society.
However, the reverse can also be true. When children watch movies characterised by violence, they also tend to start acting in a violent manner. When they watch movies where family members - father, mother, as well as siblings - engage in fights, quarrels, abuses, etc, it is most likely that they will pick up such mentality and when a situation presents itself, they will quickly put it into practice even when it puts their lives in danger.
Therefore, it is important that parents should understand about the role TV plays in nurturing their children. This demands that parents should regulate and allow their children to watch only programmes that are constructive to both their physical and mental growth.
With Covid-19 lockdown ensuring that our children are not about to return to school, the best we can do is protect them, including by denying them space to watch movies that feature life-threatening antics .
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