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BLIND SPOT >TV serials bad for your kids

BELGİN AKALTAN

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Children seem to believe whatever they see on TV. Children under the age of 8 are often especially unable to tell the difference between reality and fantasy. They think they are watching Sultan Süleyman when they watch the soap opera “Muhteşem Yüzyıl” (The Magnificent Century).

They imagine whatever is put on TV is real. This inability to distinguish between fact and fiction seems to be a widespread problem in today’s Turkey. There are also some adults who refuse to grow up.

Some of these grownups have successful political careers. Their percentage is very low, but they have been recorded to gain as much as more than 40 percent of the vote. Political scientists are still working on this phenomenon.

There is also an additional peculiarity with the Turkish society. Old time Turkish films were made with such an unusual level of unreality that several idiosyncrasies in the Turkish society today are associated with having been exposed to too many of them.

In a popular Turkish film of the 1970s and 80s, the heroin may be raped but does not lose her virginity, forced to marry the villain but stays a “good girl” for decades, then goes blind, never ages except for a few white powder shades on her hair, then meets the love of her life, her eyes start to see again, the villain dies, she marries her love and becomes a famous singer and also rich at the end. I’m not kidding. Crowds believed in such far-fetched plots. Naturally, the same crowds were able to believe in anything else later on in real life and children raised by these parents live in a delusional world (said Belgin, the philosopher).

In an article for Hürriyet published on Tuesday Yılmaz Özdil cited examples that illustrate just how far Turkish society can get carried away when watching soap operas: “The drug-dealer in the TV series ‘Beyaz Gelincik’ was beaten by a group in a dark alley. The mother in the soap opera ‘Çocuklar Duymasın’ was elected mother of the year at a time when she had no children. The surgeon named Kutsi in the ‘Doktorlar” series was approached by more than 20 citizens who brought their fathers with Alzheimer’s or even sick babies to the film set. The jewelry robbery In ‘Akasya Durağı’ actually triggered a call to 155 and anti-terror teams were dispatched, almost shooting the masked actors.”

“An anti-American demonstration was being filmed in front of a mosque for a TV series. Congregation coming out of Friday prayers joined, chanting ‘Allah is great.’ There was a scuffle, a plain clothes policeman passing by interfered and tried to arrest an actor burning an American flag.”

So, if you have a child over the age of 8 and if he still persists there is little difference between fact and fiction, don’t worry if you live in Turkey. He might have a bright political future. I have avoided the word “she” intentionally. Somehow girls have a better cognition of fact and fiction starting from an earlier age in Turkey. No scientific research has been conducted on this; the researchers are too busy studying the guys.

If you ask me, (even if you don’t ask me you are bound to read my opinion now), a good solution would be to assign “mummies” for every child. For those grownups without mummies around to help them, maybe wives can act as moms and guide them in separating fact from fiction.

Wait; is that not a tried option in Turkey? It surely is! What else can be done?

Teach the opposition to base their strategies on things good enough for 8 year olds? Ban TV all together except for TRT? Form a sub-committee for Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK) with a name such as, “Sultan Süleyman Fact Finding Committee?” Shoot a documentary about Sultan Süleyman’s life, where he spends 30 years on horseback? Wait that was also suggested, right?

Am I Turkish or what?

December/01/2012

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