'Turn off your TV week'.
"Just one week Mom" Middle Man said, "Not years and years and years. Did you misunderstand?"
(How clever, a nine year old's sarcasm, does it get any better?....*note: I'm being sarcastic)
I try and explain that I really believe that we are better off without being inundated with flashing images and sound bites, advertisements and violence. But I can tell my words fall on deaf ears.
"Did you see American Idol? Can you believe what Sawyer did last night on LOST? I am soooo smarter than a fifth grader, where do they get these people?"
My 15 year old chimes in, "This is what it's like Mom, this is my bus ride to school. Do you really think I'm going to join the conversation with, 'Who is Sawyer again? The doctor or the conman?' or 'I hope you are smarter than a 5th grader you're in 9th grade.' or 'American Idol, yes I know that show, my Grandmother tapes it for us and mails it to us. We're a week behind so don't tell me who got eliminated okay.' NO, no I'm not."
He has a point.
I guess I never gave much thought to the social implications. Hearing him say this I was reminded of my reaction, of complete and utter horror by the way, to a classmate of mine in the 5th grade when she shared that she didn't know who Cindy Brady was (GASP!). I regret my reaction now. I was/am a tad dramatic at times.
Here is what I know:
There have been more than 4,000 studies about TV's effects on children. While definitive conclusions are difficult to arrive at, most studies suggest that excessive TV-watching correlates with:
- aggressive behavior
- lower academic performance
- a child's belief that he/she will be the victim of a crime
- diminished attention spans
- stereotyped gender role attitudes, images of older people and racial perceptions.
*Number of murders seen on TV by the time an average child finishes elementary school: 8000
I'll get down from my soap box now, I don't like preachy. And honestly, I am NOT passing judgment on any parents who do have TV. I was raised in front of that glowing box. I loved TV until I realized I could live without it. My husband and I came to the conclusion that we could not afford the bill each month. It wasn't worth it and money (which we have little of) was being wasted. And so the TV service was turned off. I was absolutely grumpy for honestly about 1/2 a year.
I missed ER, PBS on while I prepared dinner, I missed the morning weather report and home improvement shows. I did not like this major change in our lives. Even if it was for the best. But now seven years later, I don't miss it, well maybe PBS and home improvement shows...
We use the Internet to stay "connected" 'Taller Than Me' looks up the scores to big sporting events and yes, who was kicked off American Idol, so he can stay in the ninth grade social loop.
And I obviously I am very thankful for our computer connecting me to all of you.
So what did we do without TV on Tuesday?
TV free activity#1: Making Mosaics:
Not much involvement from 'Taller than Me' (which was expected, although he did comment that they would make good coasters and suggested we use them [when they dry] on the dinner table) but Middle Man and Little One enjoyed it. 'Middle Man' sat high up at the counter stool because he used the small round (choke-able) tiles and 'Little One' sat at his small table with cut felt and tissue paper squares...both LOVED using school glue. It was messy but tons of fun.
Enjoy your TV free day, week, month, year~whatever. Enjoy your time with your kiddos.