The Television, PG and the Nightmares that stole my childhood.

He chased me down Dogo Street into the dark corner where the vulcanizer used to be at daytime. He promptly covered my mouth with his huge left hand to muffle my high pitched scream while placing his right hand on my crotch. Then came a Nollywood “something bad has happened” kind of thunder. I jerked up from the nightmare trembling with fear as I ran top speed to mum’s room. I recounted the bad dream to her. She brought out her bottle of golden anointing oil and rubbed it all over my crotch while mumbling the Blood of Jesus!

The nightmares remained a regular part of my childhood.

The root of the nightmares was not difficult to detect. All evidence pointed to the plastic box atop the stool in our “parlor”- The Television. Just like any other kid when given the opportunity, I was addicted to the Television. The problem is I wasn’t addicted to the cartoons like regular kids, in fact I disliked cartoons and considered them senseless as a 10 year old. I was addicted to something much more mature and volatile –NOLLYWOOD.

I grew up watching heavily fetish Yoruba movies (the likes of Koto Aye, Eran Iya Osogbo and Izakaba from their English counterparts. These were days when virtually all Yoruba movies ended with a madness scene, and when almost all Igbo films(as we call English films then) are built around money rituals and the predictable horrible deaths of Pete Edochie or Kanayo O Kanayo. The radio contributed its fair quota too. The legendary real life stories of Nkan Nbe by the late Gbenga Adewuyi was my favorite. I must add that Aki and PawPaw played a major role too as I found myself copying some of their admittedly funny but silly pranks on my classmates. I could arguably say that my exposure to these contents virtually killed my childhood and to some extent still affects me till date: first being the fact that I have a large bank of conc yoruba curse words I occasionally use on oloriburuku, ma shanfani kind of people.

The television has grown to be the number one home entertainment system in the world. It’s positive values cannot be overemphasized while it’s largely negative effects on children remains (un)consciously ignored in Nigeria.

The Television is doing much more damage to children than replacing the disciplinary role of parents -it is killing childhood. Childhood is meant to be enjoyed but Television is shortening its lifespan through early maturity, negative psychological imprints, and just maybe nightmares. For every good thing you teach and instill in your kids, the television is probably doing ten times better negatively through increasingly high levels of nudity, violence, sex, vulgarity and heavy spiritualism. I remember pointing to the TV numerous times when Mr & Mrs Adeleye asks me where I learnt my newest bad behavior.

Now you know, that screen on your wall might just be the reason your cute innocent looking kid is misbehaving.

But yeah, there’s a solution (all thanks to technology) — PG Control. PG was born out of the need to curtail the exposure of children across various age groups to potentially dangerous television content. It’s not new but I understand how difficult it could for a typical Nigerian (including myself) to embrace new technological solutions.

But the next time your kid gives you the “I saw it on TV” excuse, don’t blame him, blame yourself.