Certified Family Life Educator, Oregon
This Great Adventure Blog
Why I hate television.
Actually, not really. But I do. It’s really more a love-hate thing. One moment I’m drooling over sizable flat televisions and the latest and greatest in home sound systems. The next moment I’m threatening to go Amish in terms of electronics in our home. I lecture the boys on violent video games, yet I secretly love that Steven Seagal movie (Under Siege 2, in case you were wondering) where the trains run into each other…that must have been awesome on the big screen!
Sometimes television can be educational…I watched Sesame Street and Reading Rainbow as a child. When we had cable, the most viewed channels were Discovery, History and Food, with Nick Jr, and HGTV coming in close behind. But even then I feel the costs outweigh the benefits.
So here are the reasons why I hate television:
1. Lack of face time. When we are facing a screen, we are not facing each other. The same goes for video games and computer time.
2. It’s a time suck. We could be spending this time learning new things, enjoying hobbies, visiting with friends and family (see #1).
3. We laugh at behaviors we shouldn’t. Or accept things. Sex outside of committed relationships, drugs, murder, dishonesty, lack of respect. These are things we should abhor, but we welcome them into our homes and into our heads, and ultimately our hearts. Garbage in, garbage out.
4. It is a petri dish of discontentment. Action, drama, romance, comedy. Our lives can seem bland by comparison. Home decorating shows are the worst for me. My home does not look like those (c’mon, I have five SONS). A line in Sleepless in Seattle goes something like this “You don’t want to be in love, you want to be in love in a movie.” Real live isn’t like television, and really, it would be exhausting if it were.
Does this all mean we don’t or won’t have television in our home? I doubt it. But I try to be responsible with it. Sometimes I fail, sometimes I let things slide, but then we just try again. Here are some ways we are trying to be more responsible with our viewing:
1. Limiting the time and type of shows and movies the children watch. It is recommended that children watch no more than 2 hours per day (and this is on the high end) and children under the age of two should watch none at all. Preview movies before they see them. The rating system is a guideline, but each family is different.
2. Watching television with the children. And talk about what you are viewing.
3. Have TV free times or days. And plan other activities for these times. It’s too easy to say “There’s nothing to do, what’s on TV?” Game nights, reading nights (think blankets, pillows, hot chocolate, and a pile of good books!), go to the park. We also try to have a “screen-time curfew”. The artificial lighting and rapid stimulation from television/video games interferes with our bodies natural rhythm. Turn screens off at least an hour before bedtime, Mom and Dad too!
4. This is very important: COMMUNICATE. DaddyFoster and I have different view and emotions about television. United parenting is important to the emotional health of children, and communication is the key to this, in media viewing and so much more.
So, if you’ll excuse me, I think I will turn off the screens now, and challenge my sons to another game of cribbage.