Meet A MediaParenting Family: In Conversation with Rasna Saini.


Rasna Saini is mom to a young adventurous boy, wife to another young adventurous boy and daughter of an army officer (father) and a research scientist (mother). She spends her days raising her son, running a startup (www.ThePineTree.co) and delivering lectures at various investment banks globally. She has an engineering degree from The University of Pune and an MBA from The Cornell University and The London Business School. She enjoys traveling, spending time with family and friends, eating healthy food, taking care of her body and sometimes going open water diving. In this freewheeling chat, Rasna (RS) shares with Deepa Duraiswamy (DD) why she and her husband Aman chose to be a MediaParenting family and how they make it work.

DD: Hello Rasna! Thanks for talking to ChildSafeMedia about your MediaParenting journey. As you know, we advocate screen discipline due to the complex impact it has on children.

RS: Thank you Deepa. It’s a pleasure talking with you about a topic which is so close to our heart. I am very happy to share our journey about media parenting. In fact the word journey is also close to my heart, as I travel often for work and I see families at the airport all engrossed in their own devices, just not talking with each other.

DD: I remember reading your FaceBook post sometime ago in which you shared how you’d turned off the TV in your home. #SwitchOffTheTV is one of the major themes at ChildSafeMedia. Could you share what prompted you to do that?

RS: Well, we’ve now been 4.5 years without a TV! We used to live in HongKong where the apartments are tiny and we had a swivel TV to serve both the living room and the bedroom. When we moved to Bangalore, we were faced with the decision of buying a new TV and when we pondered about it we decided not to buy one.

DD: Why?

RS: When I got pregnant, I started reading many books about pregnancy, babylove and brain development of the child. The book on brain development is a heavy book. You can’t finish it in one read. One of the things that really stuck with me was that in any cartoon or children’s video, the picture frame changes every 10 second. And the brain gets acclimatised to that. Even if it is Einstein TV or farmhouse animals. There's so much action - the inside of a farmhouse, the outside, goats, sheep, farmer. But in reality, when you take the child to the actual farmhouse, it isn’t so fast-paced, so real life seems to become boring to a child. So the child wants to go back to the TV. It then becomes a vicious cycle!

I was recently re-reading the book. And here’s another thing that I found, relevant to our son’s age right now - the child’s far-sightedness develops at the age of 4-6. As per our environmental evolution, it develops based on the exposure to sunlight. Which means, outside play time but during sunlight. Whereas, increasingly now our children are in school and daycare during those hours, focussing on l