|Bishop Fransiskus Kopong Kung of Larantuka who heads the Indonesian Bishops’ Commission for the Family says that parents have key role in preventing children from exposure to negative impacts of television (Photo by Dokpen KWI)|
Indonesian Catholic families, alarmed at television programs that display violence and the exploitation of women and children, have pledged to support a government initiative to curb the trend.
A study by the Indonesian Broadcasting Commission in 2016 said that most programs broadcast by the country's 15 television stations contained some kind of physical or verbal violence. Only tourism and culture-related shows had mainly benign content.
Following the findings, Women Empowerment and Child Protection Minister, Yohana Susana Yambise, signed on Feb. 1 a memorandum of understanding with the commission to improve the quality of TV programs.
Yambise said in a statement that the agreement aimed to remove violent content from television programs. "It's also to educate people about how to protect women and children in Indonesia from the negative impacts of [violent] television programs," Yembise said.
Bishop Fransiskus Kopong Kung of Larantuka, chairman of the Indonesian bishops' Commission for the Family welcomed any initiative to diminish the impacts of mass media on families, but said that it would not be easy because the media is so powerful.
"We must realize that the main key is the parents. If children are allowed to watch television programs on their own, I am afraid they will get unduly influenced," the prelate said.
Fransiska Wijayanti, a mother of two from St. Joseph Church in Jakarta, agreed with the plan.
"There are several television programs for children, but they contain scenes and words unsuitable for children," she said, adding that she feels she must sit with her children when they watch TV.
Monica Atmi Dwi Susanti from St. Anne Parish in Duren Sawit, Jakarta, said that parents have an irreplaceable role in protecting children from being exposed to TV violence. The mother of two said that she always sets limits for her children.
"It's dangerous if I allow my children to watch television all the time, they could become influenced by what they see or addicted," said Susanti.
Meanwhile, Florentina Fiona, a 16-year-old student at St. Teresa Senior High School in Central Jakarta, admitted that television shows can move viewers to imitation. She said that when she was a child she was inspired to slap her friends after watching such acts on TV.
"Children can easily imitate what they see," said Fiona.
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