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aquagirl3
Hello,
I recently read a great book called "The Big Turnoff: Confessions of a TV-addicted Mom trying to raise a TV-free kid" by Ellen Currey-Wilson. It got me really interested in the idea of raising my son, who is only just newborn, without TV (at least for the first few years). "TV" means movies, TV, or video games. What I enjoyed about it was that the author herself was a complete addict who grew up watching a ton, and she references shows constantly while also talking about how bad TV is in many ways, so it was very relatable to me and I'm sure would be to others who have a love-hate relationship with TV.

I went on to read "The Plug-in Drug" which was much more academic but also REALLY interesting in terms of how a lot of people think that educational shows like Sesame Street and the Discovery Channel are fine for kids, but research shows that doing pretty much ANYTHING in "real life", even just kind of fiddling around the house, is better for toddlers' intellectual and social development. It made a good point that even though we think it's great for kids to watch African safaris and the like on TV, very few kids know anything about the nature in their own backyard or neighborhood.

I would love to hear other parents' views on this topic. Do you restrict TV? If you do do you still watch it yourselves? Have you tried doing a "TV-Turnoff Week" which they have in April and promote in some areas?

I emailed the author of The Big Turnoff and was able to meet her for lunch when I traveled to her city, Portland, recently. If anyone lives there she is very interested in getting parents together to network, but she also hopes to see the movement spread to other cities. Her son, Casey, is 12 now. She didn't allow any TV until he was 6, and then 2 hours a week, and he turned out to not really be interested in watching it much once he was allowed. She thinks this is because she always tried to distract him and offer alternatives instead of just forbidding it as an exciting and mysterious pastime.

I will be letting Ellen know about this thread because I am hoping she will come on and join the discussion if we get some responses to this. I really recommend her book, too, to anyone who is interested! (I promise I'm not a relative! smile.gif )
mouse
i was raised without tv or video games--i was allowed to watch sesame street and mister rogers (and sometimes pee wee, because my parents wanted to too!) every couple of months as a Special Treat. movies were few and far between, and monitored pretty strictly. my parents still keep their tv unplugged behind a chair and have to lug it out, plug it in, and let it autoprogram before they watch anything (which as a result is done very rarely). i also went to a school that discouraged tv as well.

for the most part i think it's a great idea, but i think it can be taken to extremes. on the one hand, i had a really awesome, imaginative, outdoor childhood, but on the other, i did miss out on quite a lot and more often than not have to admit ignorance due to my "media hole", as i like to call it, on most subjects of 80's and 90's pop culture that is second nature to most people, which i kind of feel a little regretful about. not that i really want to know every single hall and oates song or remember what happened in that episode of gummi bears...but it's annoying to have people keep going "OH MY GOD, you don't KNOW WHAT THAT IS? oh my god you've never SEEN THAT? YOU'RE KIDDING!!!1!!1"

however, with little kids, i do think it's important to make sure that tv isn't their only stimuli, and that they are encouraged to come up with their own ideas for play and not turn to tv as a solution to boredom. people say that tv stimulates imagination, and i think that in a very small sense that can be true, but i also think that after a certain point (a point that's reached pretty soon) that is absolute bullshit. it's one thing to be shown a story, but it's another to come up with one on your own.
aquagirl3
TV was fairly restricted for me too, and yet once I could make my own decisions I definitely became somewhat of an addict. Now that Tivo is ubiquitous, I can't decide if it's good or bad--I haven't watched a commercial in several years, but on the other hand, I can watch a favorite show any time of the day I want because they are all stored. Whereas before, I never would have bothered turning on the TV at 2 in the afternoon.
erinjane
Tv was never restricted for me growing up, but I don't remember watching a lot of it. I was fortunate to live on a street where I was surrounded by at least 7 kids my age so all my memories of my childhood are outside playing soccer or baseball or hide and go seek, or building snow forts and jumping in leaves. I definitely remember watching some, but I always felt like my parents gave me and my brothers lots of alternatives to TV and encouraged us not to watch, even though it was never formally restricted.

When I think about raising kids in the future, TV is something I would like to restrict in their early life just because it seems to rampant now. My niece is 4 and I wish she wasn't so into TV and video games. But at the same time I understand how hard it is to restrict her. My brother is a single father and doesn't always have the time to sit down with her and play. Even when I babysit her sometimes I'll need to get things done and it's just easier to put her in front of the box. It's really difficult to find that balance.
grenadine
mouse, i had a similar "media hole" experience, but i don't regret it or think it was a big deal. what i discovered in my twenties was that it was easy to catch up on the media deficit i had just from conversations with my peers and a couple of hours of tube-watching. i wasn't, however, totally tv-restricted as a kid, but we didn't have cable and i was a big reader so i didn't have the relationship with shows that many of my peers had.

we don't watch tv with our two-year-old habitually; he has very occasionally seen some pbs shows (sesame street three times, curious george once) and shows minimal interest/loses interest quickly, and the only video he likes is "the red balloon," which i think he mostly likes because there's no talking and we sit with him and talk ABOUT it when he watches it. i'm comfortable with that. i confess that i do occasionally watch tv (specifically i sometimes watch one particular show about slutty, emotionally stunted doctors), and i think it's total trash and junk food for the mind. which i think is more appropriate for older children/adults than for young children. however, i think i'm lucky in that neither i nor my son has tv-junkie tendencies -- for example, when said slutty doctor show was in reruns all summer, i never watched it or any other tv, and that was just fine, and he shows no interest in regular tv-watching (possibly because literally the ONLY time the tv -- which is very small and has to be dragged out of a cupboard-- is on is from 9-10 on thursday nights, when he's in bed). i don't know what i'd do if/when he demanded TV. i suspect i'd throw the tv out the window. it's not that i think it's evil, it's just non-nutritive. i particularly HATE tv news and dinnertime tv-watching, as i think they destroy critical thinking skills in the case of the first (sensationalistic stupidity, anyone?) and social skills/family bonds in the case of the second.

ETA: oh, and my dear friend's young son is a video game ADDICT and constantly talks about video games, which he always wants to play with me because i have some aptitude for/experience with tekken. i think it's REPULSIVE. video games are for arcades. movies are for theatres. 'nuff said.
humanist77
I'm fascinated by the effects of TV watching on both children and adults. I guess I grew up watching a lot of TV, but at some point in my teens, I began analyzing the obvious and not so obvious messages and influences in commercials and tv shows, which led me to basically avoiding the TV completely for a long time. I couldn't watch anything without seeing between the lines and often being very bothered by it.

A couple years ago I read a fantastic book called "Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television" by Jerry Mander, which pretty much confirmed and cemented my feelings about the effects of TV watching.

I'm also really interested in the connection between ADD and other behavior/attention disorders and TV watching in children. I was never diagnosed as a child, but I was very spacey and uninterested in school, causing a lot of problems. I don't doubt that it at least in part had something to do with the amount of television I watched everyday. I have to wonder how it would've been different had my parents been more restrictive. I'm glad that I have now come to my senses, but I definitely wasted a lot of time and energy sitting in front of the TV..
pepper
we had barely any tv growing up but i had a serious addiction during my teens and it took more than half my life to be able to be around a television and not zone right in and zone right out. these days i can have a tv on in the background for noise while i do housework and never even look at it once. i find the radio distracting, i think it's designed to get your attention with noise whereas the tv is designed to be looked at and is easy to ignore if you can only hear it.
little has watched cartoons and videos and played on the computer but i limit it. if i have a working television and let him watch it he'll ask for it every day, all day long so i don't keep one in the house. there's a screen for video games and movies but it doesn't get channels. even so, screen time is very restricted, there are so many other things going in there's barely time for it anyhow.
shinyx3
my family did not have a tv till i was 13. then it was pretty much for movies. i liked that so i have not had a tv for quite a while in my home but we do watch movies on the computer. i never really feel like we are missing anything. as a child i did sometimes feel left out when my friends would talk about tv shows but i don't really remember being too bummed about it. when other people came to my home as a child we never had a hard time finding something to do. even when i did have a tv in the house (it was my ex's) i still was very restrictive with what i allowed my kid to watch. he doesn't seem to miss the tv now that we do not have one. i actually did buy him a gameboy a while back and he has lost it. (because he forgot about it and hardly ever played it) so yes. essentially i think life with out tv can be richer. where are so many ways we can entertain ourselves with out tv. on that note i think i use the computer far too many hour a day and basicly use it like others use tv. bad me.
aquagirl3
It seems like everyone in here restricts TV! Do you guys know people whose kids watch tons and tons? I read that the average American kid watches like 35 hours a week, or something ridiculous, and I don't know who these people are. (I can see myself doing that, but not letting my kid(s) do it!)
missladyj
There is a great study by the Kaiser Family Foundation called Generation M about media in the lives of 8-18 yr olds. One of the findings is that kids who spend less time watching tv, read more which can lead to better school performance. Also that parental mointoring is important .


here is a link to some great resources from them

http://www.kff.org/entmedia/index.cfm


another good organization is commercial alert. Ralph Nader was one of the founders.

http://www.commercialalert.org/


also there is a national event called TV turn off week that happens in april.


EllieJay
I just joined this discussion and am very interested in the conversation. Also, aquagirl3 asked me to comment since I wrote a book about the subject, "The Big Turnoff." It seems that Bust readers/parents appear to be pretty savvy--not like the average parent who has the television on all day long. Even so, I'm curious if anyone has challenges dealing with relatives, child care providers and others who like using the electronic babysitter with your children. I would be very interested in learning about how parents deal with those situations. Do you just go with the flow or ask others to turn it off?

Also, I really like the groups that missladyj mentioned and I want to add that TV Turnoff Week is part of The Center for Screen Time Awareness:
http://www.google.com/search?client=safari...-8&oe=UTF-8


dustoverroses
I never had a TV growing up, and I did not really miss it. I am not a parent, but I have noticed that there are a lot of kids these days that are really addicted to tv. Some of my friends who are in school with me have children and they let their kids watch tv so they can get their homework done. I think this may not be the best child rearing technique, but it can be hard when people are busy with other things. It is easy for me to say that I would never do that, but as I said, I don't have kids yet.
aquagirl3
My baby is 3.5 months and already he really seems interested in the TV! I have decided as of today no more TV on when he is awake. The Washington Post has had a couple of articles lately about TV and kids, and Baby Einstein:
article
pepper
dude, the princess was staring at the computer screen today, i had her on my lap while typing something somewhere. did it ever freak me out! no more computer on while she's awake! prolly for the best anyhow, i'll spend even more time talking straight at her, she loves that.
missladyj
There is a conference coming up about Consumer Culture and kids sponsored by Commercial Free Childhood
if anyone is interested and has the time to attend.

here is the link

http://www.commercialfreechildhood.org//events.htm

CCFC's 6th Summit
Consuming Kids:
The Sexualization of Children and Other Commercial Calamities

April 3-5, 2008
Wheelock College
Boston , MA



Registration is now available for CCFC's 6th summit: Consuming Kids: The Sexualization of Children and Other Commercial Calamities on April 3-5, 2008 in Boston !

Featuring an all-star lineup of presenters, CCFC's 2008 Consuming Kids summit promises to be our best ever.



On Thursday, April 3rd, the summit will kick off with the presentation of the 3rd Fred Rogers Integrity Award to Morgan Spurlock, director and star of the acclaimed film, SuperSize Me. Friday and Saturday will feature presentations and workshops on the impact of commercialization on children - and what we can do to stop it.

We expect this year's summit will sell out early so register now and take advantage of early bird rates.



Confirmed speakers include: Michael Brody, American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry - Nancy Carlsson-Paige, author, Taking Back Childhood - Gail Dines, co-author, Pornography: The Production and Consumption of Inequality - Julie Gale, Kids Free 2 B Kids - Allen Kanner, co-editor, Psychology and Consumer Culture - Tim Kasser, author, The High Price of Materialism - Joe Kelly, author, Dads and Daughters - Jean Kilbourne, author, Can't Buy My Love - Diane Levin, author, Remote Control Childhood - Susan Linn, author, Consuming Kids - Alex Molnar, author, School Commercialism: From Democratic Ideal to Market Commodity - Alvin F. Poussaint, MD, co-author Come On, People - Michele Simon, the Marin Institute; author, Appetite for Profit - Juliet Schor, author, Born to Buy - Susan Gregory Thomas, author Buy, Buy, Baby - Ana Lucia Villela, Instituto Alana - and many, many more!
EllieJay
Sounds like a great conference. I've heard good things about it.
Ellie



QUOTE(missladyj @ Oct 27 2007, 06:23 PM) *
There is a conference coming up about Consumer Culture and kids sponsored by Commercial Free Childhood
if anyone is interested and has the time to attend.

here is the link

http://www.commercialfreechildhood.org//events.htm

CCFC's 6th Summit
Consuming Kids:
The Sexualization of Children and Other Commercial Calamities

April 3-5, 2008
Wheelock College
Boston , MA



Registration is now available for CCFC's 6th summit: Consuming Kids: The Sexualization of Children and Other Commercial Calamities on April 3-5, 2008 in Boston !

Featuring an all-star lineup of presenters, CCFC's 2008 Consuming Kids summit promises to be our best ever.



On Thursday, April 3rd, the summit will kick off with the presentation of the 3rd Fred Rogers Integrity Award to Morgan Spurlock, director and star of the acclaimed film, SuperSize Me. Friday and Saturday will feature presentations and workshops on the impact of commercialization on children - and what we can do to stop it.

We expect this year's summit will sell out early so register now and take advantage of early bird rates.



Confirmed speakers include: Michael Brody, American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry - Nancy Carlsson-Paige, author, Taking Back Childhood - Gail Dines, co-author, Pornography: The Production and Consumption of Inequality - Julie Gale, Kids Free 2 B Kids - Allen Kanner, co-editor, Psychology and Consumer Culture - Tim Kasser, author, The High Price of Materialism - Joe Kelly, author, Dads and Daughters - Jean Kilbourne, author, Can't Buy My Love - Diane Levin, author, Remote Control Childhood - Susan Linn, author, Consuming Kids - Alex Molnar, author, School Commercialism: From Democratic Ideal to Market Commodity - Alvin F. Poussaint, MD, co-author Come On, People - Michele Simon, the Marin Institute; author, Appetite for Profit - Juliet Schor, author, Born to Buy - Susan Gregory Thomas, author Buy, Buy, Baby - Ana Lucia Villela, Instituto Alana - and many, many more!

member
Its the message, not the medium!
Entertainment, education, commercial, etc...
We (my family) prefer educational and mute any commercials...
pinkpoodle
I love TV and I'm not ashamed to admit it. I think it's weird to sit down and actively watch it for several hours though. Like mouse said, it's about moderation.

For me, TV fits into a wider pop culture fascination that I have. I'm the same way with movies and music. I enjoy laughing with people about the Saved by the Bell episode where Jesse becomes addicted to caffeine pills or the episode of Happy Days where Fonzi jumps the shark on his water skiis--which, by the way, started the term "jump the shark" to denote the point at which a TV series goes downhill (i.e. "Good Times jumped the shark when James Sr. died.") TV is interesting, because it reflects the mindset and politics of a period of time. Same goes for music, movies, fashion, art, literature, and so on. It's not inherently evil and I don't think it fucks up the mind nearly as much as some people like to argue. Really, anything in excess is not all that great for you. Isolating a kid from culture messes 'em up to the same extent that placing them in front of a TV all day does. I wouldn't want my kids to hang out in front of the TV all day watching reality TV, but I also don't want them to be totally out of the loop.

On books...Reading fiction is just as much of a "waste of time" as watching TV is. When a kid is young, it's important to develop their reading skills by reading a lot, but other than that, literature isn't any more relevant than a TV series or movie. There's nothing inherently "better" about a book versus other media. It's a preference thing.

ETA- You're gonna mess your kids up somehow, anyway, so you might as well throw 'em a bone and allow them to watch Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles every so often. I would be more worried about the impacts of my personality flaws and history on my child than the influence of Michelangelo and his numchucks.
Reality SuperStar
Hi,

I am a long time LURKER, I had to come out of hiding to say BRAVO Poodle.

I'm at work, Busting, so I have my window small to only show a little at a time, but I was so in agreement with your post that I maximized my window, switched to Lo-fi version, and created a user name, etc. so that I could post to you and tell you how much you RAWK for pointing that out...

People are so serious about things at times. I guess everyone just wants to declare a position or choice....Sometimes about important things, but most times about trivial things...

I too, love TV, Reality TV in particular.... While I don't really watch much TV during the week, due to work and having other things to do, on the weekend if I have no plans I definetly catch up. Will plan my whole weekend around all of the shows that I have autotuned my TV for...

Currently I am watching Keeping Up With The Kardashians, A Shot At Love With Tila Tequila, America's Next Top Model, Dancing With The Stars, Salt N Pepa, Gottis Way, Kimora Lee Simmons: Life in the Fab Lane, and my favorite Dexter (on Showtime)...Others include Tyra Banks Show, Oprah, and Extreme Home Makeover....

I really enjoy watching TV. It relaxes me. Depending on what I'm watching it inspires me, it motivates me, it teaches me... (Not any of the shows I listed I'm currently watching, but other shows and movies)

Everyone has a vice or addiction, drugs, alcohol, TV, food, shopping, it goes on and on.


Poodle you are smart and sassy. I heart you!
pinkpoodle
Awww....shucks, superstar!! That's sweet.

By the way, I'm a huge Dancing With The Stars addict and have been for the last few seasons!! I'm still pissed that Sabrina was voted off this week...grrr...
erinjane
I would hardly say reading fiction is just as big of a waste of time as watching tv. As a kid I loved reading fiction, it really allowed me to expand my imagination. I constantly had my nose in a book and really loved being able to have total freedom with my imagination. And now when I read fiction depending on what I'm reading, it's the same thing. I mean, if I'm reading Anne Rice, clearly I'm in it for the fluff of the book, but when I read something like "Everything is Illuminated" or "A Short History of Tractors in the Ukraine" I definately feel like I'm getting more out of it then watching an hour or reality tv.
pinkpoodle
Like I said, it's a preference thing. I would rather spend an hour watching Dancing With The Stars than reading a fictional book. I've always hated reading fiction because I feel like I can't do anything else but sit there and I'm not learning anything that I consider useful. I do enjoy reading, but only non-fiction. When I was little, I preferred reading my bro's college anatomy textbooks more than the fictional novels I was assigned for school. Actually, when I was a kid, I didn't like to read or watch TV. I spent most of my time playing in the woods or drawing in the living room. That involves a LOT of imagination and creativity.

Anyway...I'm not saying that you're wasting your time reading fiction. I'm just saying that your time reading isn't any better spent than my time watching Wayne Newton do a Paso Doble. They're both forms of entertainment/media that we enjoy. If reading works for you, then fine, but don't judge me for finding pleasure in a TV show.
missladyj
Member,
the official quote from the media guru Marshall McLuhan is " The medium is the Message"

content is not important it is the form in which that content comes to you.

He would also disagree with Poodle about a fiction book being the same waste of time as television. A book is totally different expierence than watching tv. He divides media into hot and cool media. A hot media is one in which it requires the viewer or reader to actively enagage with the medium. TV does not require the same type of engagement as reading, he considers print an extension of the eye which requires linear, tv is cool. He also considers any electrical medium as an outering of our brains or nervous system which can have a numbing effect. All media produce an environments that work us over in different ways. The is a HUGE difference between the environment a book creates than compared to tv. It is not about which is good or bad or about demonizing television it is about understanding the different environments and how the affect us differently.

I could go on about more media theory but I wont bore you. Instead I suggest you read Mc Luhan's Understanding media. and anything by Neil Postman.


P.S.
I watch tv too. so fuckin what? Micheal Franti was right.
pinkpoodle
That sounds very true, ladyj. The way I figure it though, is that I spend 8 hours a day looking at a spreadsheet and tinkering with numbers, so the last thing I want to do when I get home is to look at more linear information. TV helps me relax or "cool down" my brain after engaging it all day long. I rarely just sit and watch TV though. I'm always doing something else. I almost always have the TV on at home when I'm awake because I live alone and the silence feels weird. Music doesn't provide the same comfort for some reason. I read often, by the way. I'm just playing devil's advocate. Still, anti-TV elitism really pisses me off. I don't think that my heavy-reader friends are any sharper or more intelligent or enlightened than I am just because they read more. I dunno, maybe I do read just as much, but not long texts. I'm more into short pieces of information on different non-fiction topics. Anyway...
missladyj
the kaiser family foundation just did a study call generation M media in the lives of 8 -18 year olds and one of the findings was that kids who watch less tv, read more and do better in school . Some people would say this makes them smarter than kids who watch more tv. It makes great nonfiction reading if you're into that kinda thing.

http://kff.org/entmedia/index.cfm


Media theory is not " anti-tv-elitism"

Maybe you should look into starting a thread about your love for Dancing with the stars.
olivarria
I don't think being anti-TV is "elitist," anymore than being pro-TV is. I want to raise my future kids without TV mostly because i want them to have a healthy self-image, instead of wondering why they don't look plasticized and orange-tinted, or end up having Paris Hiton for a role-model. Also I keep in mind the fact that most two-year olds can recognize the McDonald's symbol by two years, and they see thousands upon thousands of ads each year telling them to consume consume consume. I find this quite sad, and also, i grew up with a family who "filled themselves up" with TV and food, and usually keep the TV on just to block out the awkward silence in the room. Everytime I would try to utter even a word to my dad, he was literally like, "Shhh! CSI is on!" and turn the TV louder until it deafened us, so maybe that's why I'm biased against TV. That and I want to be a librarian.
bustygirl
I have TV on in the background when I work because the voices soak up my nervous energy in a way that music doesn't. I don't think TV causes all the harmful effects it's purported to; I think the equation is far too complex for that. My kid will grow up with TV, as I did, and since I still read, write, draw, paint, work, and interact with others, I'm sure he will too.
sybarite
Our TV watching as kids was restricted to certain shows: PBS programmes, some movies and 60 Minutes every Sunday with dinner. Looking back I think this was a good approach, as it made us really pay attention to the programmes themselves, because there was a stated reason for watching them. However, my sister would watch hours of TV if she was allowed--such as saturday morning cartoons, before anyone else was up yet. As an adult, she'll quickly turn on the TV when she's staying in a hotel but won't have one at home.

I didn't watch much TV growing up; I hid in my room and read instead. Now, though, I will watch it for hours, but only if there's something specific on I want to see. If the mister or his daughter are watching something I have no interest in, I'll usually leave the room.

Now that we have the mister's daughter living with us I am newly conscious of how many references there are to sex on TV. She's 13, so can watch most things, but even Friends has recurring sexual references. I don't think seeing these is harmful at all, but I do think it embarasses her--or maybe it just embarrasses us. She's been somewhat sheltered but probably not as much as we think. She'll watch TV from the moment she gets home until it's time for her to go to bed, which I think is excessive, but it's not my call.

I think if I had young kids I would seriously restrict their TV watching. It can be hard though, simply because while they're awake, if they can't watch TV it means you can't either...
kaylafresh
I wonder if parents will monitor the computer as much as some monitor TV. I have soooo cut down on my TV intake but I'm obsessed with the internet. It feels like my parents could monitor TV watching easier because it sat there like a giant plastic behemouth in the room. But with their computer a kid can say, "I'm doing my home work!" It seems more insidious what kids can be exposed to on the internet too.
tommynomad
Hallooooo BUSTies! Loooong time no see!

I would hope that smart parents would keep the internet in plain view of the family, just as they do the tv.

I think there's huge difference between TV habits as sybarite describes, and TV as most people experience it. Let's face it, the mere existence of the term "electronic babysitter" is indicative of how pervasive and overused the idiot box is in our culture. I just moved to New Zealand. We have a studio apartment, with a wall bed, but the giant TV takes up 20% of the "living room!" We've been here a month and haven't turned it on yet. For the last three years I lived in Korea and there was not a single kind of urban public space spared--not public squares, not food courts, not bookstores, not even parks--the intrusion of commercial tv. Think about where people congregate where you live: is there a screen there, telling you to watch & buy?

When we were kids, we too were allowed 30 minutes of commercial tv a day. News and PBS were unlimited. All tv was watched in the living room, where the family was present. Deconstruction of shows watched was part of the experience. Even with those limits, my second adolescence (20s) consisted of hours and hours of TV. Hours I wish I'd spent doing almost anything else.

I've been without a connected tv for four years now. I download and watch TDS maybe once a month, same with Real Time, South Park, and Weeds. If the mood takes me, I watch some sports. Everything else I pass on, simply because I'd rather be doing yoga, playing ulti, guitar, or board games (our family time will gravitate around the game table, not the boob-box) to relax.

Is TV evil? Of course not. But the people who run it, plan it, and legislate on its behalf seem to be. Broadcasting used to be the right of all people. Then the airwaves were carved up by the FCC and licenses for air were sold. Freecasting was made a crime. (Network conglomerates have already effectively killed local radio, and they're petitioning governments to kill PBS and local access cable as we speak.)

More than 200 studies have identified a clear cause-and-effect relationship beteen TV violence and real viloence. Every credibly agency from the AMA to the Surgeon General to the U.N has accepted the conclusion. But parents largely don't know. Why? "Because the most powerful and far-reaching delivery system for the message won't broadcast it." (Kalle Lasn, Culture Jam) Just this is enough to illustrate TV's overall (outside the bounds of violence) influence. PBS aside, I've never seen *any* programming that wasn't either inappropriate for kids, or laced with advertising aimed at them, which is definitely out-of-bounds in my book.

I firmly believe that the obesity epidemic among children of this generation (and at the risk of sounding like a fogey, when I was in school, there was a "fat kid"--a horrible, cruel epithet, but the fact remains there was only one) can be traced to three simple factors:

1. TV and the soporific state it promotes and induces (thank you, missladyj)
2. The shitty food choices it (and everything else) generally advertises at kids
3. The passenger car

No one is farther from perfect than I, but I have all but eliminated these three from my life. I hope that I can instil in my future kids the same awareness of, and contempt for those things. But there is a HUGE difference for contempt for the medium and contempt for the viewer: if people choose TV as their medium of entertainment, then good on them--more space in my FNBS for me. Besides, I'm sure lots of people would take issue with my love of....almost anything: board games, e-fora, pornography, parks, activism, paper-based entertainment, air travel, the list goes on. I may not want to talk about Desperate Housewives with you, but that doesn't mean I think less of you for watching--jeez, how self-important can one get?


McLuhan was right. What many people forget is that the central lesson of 1984 is not that "Big Brother is Watching," but that the citizenry voluntarily purchase telescreens that enable him to do so.

In the postmodern age, what we allow on, and how (much) we use and deconstruct our TVs is much more important than whether we own them.
missladyj
most kids are watching tv alone in their rooms where they sometimes have computers and video games there is little to no parental interaction or guidance. the same goes for the internet. kids need supervision with both forms of media and are not getting it. there is more about this in the kaiser family study also Jane Brown from UNC chapel hill has done studies on this as well.

As for me, I don't have kids but am about to finish my master's degree in educational media with a media literacy concentration so this is a subject that is near and dear to my heart.


The American Academy of Pediatrics says that kids under two should not watch tv
here is some research that relates tv viewing with attention problems later

http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/cgi/...tract/113/4/708




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