Playing With Puppets
Is TV Bad? Yes, I believe it is, and please folks, these are just my opinions, nothing more. They are, however, opinions based on a considerable amount of study and personal observation. Part of becoming an expert on raising children was learning how and why to protect them from the tube.
I loved watching Sesame Street with my children. It was entertaining and educational. To put a child in front of something like that for thirty minutes or so is fine. They anticipate the show and are actively involved in it the entire time. The show is causing then to think and learn. This is rare for a TV show but it does happen. I can relate this to adults watching an educational show and actually getting something out of it. So I would never say TV is all bad.
You take that same child, the next hour, watching cartoons, and it is a completely different story. The child is becoming a brain dead zombie. One hour of TV max for kids is, in my opinion, perfect. School aged kids can tune in and zone out for an hour before starting their homework or chores. There is nothing wrong with a little down time, and they just might click on something educational, either way, it’s their time. With smaller children, the brain only stays alert for a short time. Just long enough for Sesame Street. After that the TV turns into a babysitter, and a brain damaging one at that.
The TV as a babysitter, another ten pages for a different day, how can parents do that to their kids? How can babysitters do it? When you sit a kid in front of a TV so they will be entertained and out of your hair, that’s borderline child abuse, in my book. And don’t forget to hand them a bag of chips and a plate of cookies, they will stay still longer.
Let’s observe a 15 year old in front of the TV for a few hours. They are very zombie like, except maybe the movement of the left hand going for the chips and the right hand hitting the remote every now and then. There is no possible way of comparing the same amount of time with the same child sitting in front of the computer. The computer is interactive, the child has to find her favorite tunes, check her email, reply to a few, check in with her my space friends, or whatever space they are using these days, send a few instant messages, play a few games on her latest game site and write that email to nana and papa like I have been bugging her to do. Hours later I am begging for the computer back so I can get back to work.
Ready To Play Softball
There is no possible way to compare the computer with the TV, at least not in my world. The TV, in most cases, is not interactive in any way shape or form. No matter what you are watching it is very easy to go into zombie mode. The tube is sucking your brains out, it is giving you little to nothing back in return and several hours later you walk away having gained nothing and having accomplished nothing. If you actually learned something that’s great, but with the non interactive way the TV works, even learning is difficult because nothing is asked of you, you cannot interact and so you zone out.
TV is the only activity you can do that asks nothing of you. Please do not ever compare the tube to reading a good book. First off, if you were to read a book in the same mental mode that you use to watch TV you would be staring at the same page for hours. Sorry, a book requires you to be mentally active, to interact your senses and your feelings. If you were not actively involved in the book you would soon loose interest. No, nothing like the tube, not even close.
If you just want to relax for a few hours, zone out and do nothing, there is nothing wrong with watching your favorite show or a good movie. I used to be a Monday night football nut, and most of the time my wife was kind enough to wake me up in time to see the last few minutes of the game. When football season was over Monday nights were sort of like date nights. We would have dinner over with, the little one off to bed and maybe some popcorn made. Then we sat on the couch together, cuddled and snacked and watched 24. One of my all time favorites.
My parents and my ex mother in law have the TV that never shuts off thing going on. In my parents house it might be two or three sets going at a time. This drives me insane. We come for a visit and have to talk loud enough to be heard over the TV. And of course, one or more of us get caught up in the program and are out of the conversation completely. My dad and my ex mother in law are both TV zombies, there is no other way to put it, and the tube has just about sucked the brains completely out of both of their heads. They are both approaching full scale senility and it is so sad. Maybe, just maybe, if they had spent the last thirty or forty years of their lives doing something besides watching the TV things might be different. Who knows. So please ask yourselves, Is TV Bad?