Q: My husband and I immigrated to the
2003, and since then, we had a son, who is now two years old. We have The Filipino Channel at home, and my husband and I watch telenovelas and variety shows on that channel all the time. Should we let our son watch with us? I know some telenovelas can be emotional and disturbing. How will I know if they affect him negatively?
–Telenovelas at Two in
A: Dear Telenovelas,
It can be challenging for families—including those like yours that have recently moved to the
Unless what is on screen is well-designed educational material for his developmental stage, he’s almost always better off doing something other than watching TV. That’s not only true because the content might be disturbing, though. In addition, your son’s developing brain needs certain environments in order to grow as healthy and strong as possible. And even though The Filipino Channel may seem to help him connect with his culture, a screen isn’t an ideal learning environment for children his age—it doesn’t respond to or interact with him. Therefore, if you’d like to help your son connect with his culture, have him engage with it in the real world—by eating your favorite foods from home, for example, or reading books in your first language.
Watching telenovelas for yourself can be entertaining and may provide a connection you crave, so I recommend that you enjoy them after your son has gone to sleep.
>>See other questions and answers about media and toddlers
Enjoy your media and use them wisely,