Sunday, February 7, 2010


Most of you know that we do not have a TV in our house anymore. It just worked out that way. We never had cable and did not watch much so when the digital converter box did not work, we just got rid of the whole thing.
We still watch shows online or on our awesome apple cinema display screen, so we did not move back to the dark ages.
Some of you know that I did my internship in college at the National Institute on Media and the Family. It was definitely the coolest job I have had (other than being a Mom of course!). While there, I learned so much about all the awful video games that are out there as well as the extreme power of advertising. I read and was involved in studies on the effects of media on children. So when I read articles now about how careful we parents need to be about our children's media consumption I am not surprised.
I set out planning on limiting my kids' exposure but I always had a lingering feeling that if it was completely withheld (as in any other circumstance) it would become more desirable. So while we had tv, the only thing the kids were allowed to watch was PBS. It was the advertisements on other channels that really worried me. They were fine with that. They still get super excited when we allow them to watch a movie since it is only allowed on weekends and the rare rainy afternoon when we don't have something else going on. It is not so much that I want to shelter them form a big bad world so much as I do not want them to be the innocent targets of advertising. I see it at work whenever I set foot in a large retail or grocery store with them. We can do a whole shopping trip at Trader Joes with no problem, but we walk into Jewel or Dominicks and the begging and whining begins instantly. They want the fruit snacks with their favorite characters on them or the Doritos. (yes, I avoid big grocery stores unless in complete desperation)
While Eli and Evie and I were waiting for the car to be done at Jiffy Lube, I tried to distract them from the tv by playing rock paper scissors. They were happy to play and only rarely glanced up at the tv. I tried to keep an eye on it to make sure that I dragged them out of there if something inappropriate came on. Then it came on - a brink home security ad. A young woman says goodbye to her date and when she returns to her kitchen you hear a banging and see her terrified face as the camera pans to the intruder who is smashing in her back door. What in the WORLD???!!! I could not believe this and it happened so fast I do not even know if Eli saw it. An R rated ad for sure, that was so scary! And on tv in the middle of the day. how many little kids out there have seen this? And are they so desensitized already that it does not phase them like it did me? What does that say about our culture?
I am so glad that we do not have a tv in our house.

Oh, and yes, I know the Saints won the SuperBowl. I also spent the afternoon and evening planning our trip for next week, making dinner and reading with the kids.

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