Recently, an upstanding member here on ATS authored a thread, the subject revolving around the banning of television, which is really incidental with
this particular post of mine, other than their sharing somewhat of a similar focus (the T.V.) and that shortly after he posted his thread, I came
across two articles in a local small-town paper, the focuses of which were on entertainment, specifically computer games and television programing for
young children and toddlers. I guess I bring up his post because, although there was a resounding response from the members on this site who have
either in part or in full, eliminated T.V. programing from their daily routine, there was still an unsettling amount of you who either took offence
to the entire idea and defended television tooth-and-nail (by throwing the internet under the bus for instance), while some didn't appear to see any
immanent threat posed by this box at all. All of that is largely parenthetical. I am not going to attempt to change anyone's mind about their
television habits, nor am I really trying to give the “anti-T.V.” gang fuel for their witch hunt campfires, even though I am one among their
throng. What I am trying to do however, is first, show you some of the mental context in which these two local articles were received by my brain and
secondly, ask you to consider the implications of that which is plainly stated by each of the respective contributing authors.
Now then, the first article which I consider less insidious personally (but by no means do I ask you to do the same), was the one about the computer
games for, what I can only assume to be, preschool and school age children. I wasn't really opposed to anything the author was saying until she, near
the end of the article, informs the reader that she often plunks her child down in front of the computer before bedtime for what is purported to be a
“wind-down” routine and to help her learn. Now, I don't think that I have much of a burden to find the actual references to support what I'm about
to say, because I'm pretty sure the information is essentially common knowledge among the constituents here on ATS. How can anyone possibly think they
are actually building cognitive skills with these child-focused computer games, such as the “Baby Einstein” brand and the like? Haven't there been
enough studies that have shown no significant or measurable benefit (in children and adults alike) to utilizing these alleged “cognitive skill
building” games? People still buy into this?
Secondly, concerning this woman's routine, I have to ask how she thinks putting her child in front of a computer screen for 15 minutes before bed is
even remotely a “wind-down” activity? I thought the effects of computer gaming on the chemistry and electromagnetic function of the brain was well
known by now as well.
I don't really care that she lets her child play the games (I have children and I will let them play games too, when they are old enough. Better
cognitive based games then others, I suppose) and I don't care that she lets her child play the games before bed. I am sure that I will inevitably be
guilty of that someday too. What bothers me a little is that she has convinced her self of the validity of two obvious falsehoods. How?
Now, I don't know much about the rest of the woman's daily routine, so she may very well read to her child earlier in the day and even though it is
the norm in our house to have a good long before-bed-book-time, such may not be the case at her's. Fair enough. But if it is not the case that she
spend time reading to her child, as I'm sure is the case in innumerable homes across the nation, then I have to ask; what the hell? That is what
bothers me most. Although, she has not come out and admitted this to the reader, I know for a fact, as many of you do also, that this is becoming more
and more the customary way across the continent. Parents spend less and less quality time with their children, teaching and nurturing them and pass
more and more of the responsibility on to the state and now even worse, entertainment technologies. I don't feel this is just a question of my
stone-age mind having to “catch-up to the 21st century”. I am very concerned that this has been, is and will continue to be, a major pit-fall for
our collective culture. And then when the schools finally step in and inform us (in their own words, mind you), that it is their job to
“co-parent” our children, we manage to rip our faces away from the screen just long enough to mutter some hardly audible halfhearted response in
limpid resentment. We were going to write someone about this issue but then something good came on T.V. or there was a new viral video to check out
and the school board is now the parents of our children...
So, I read this article and just sort-of shook my head to myself and kept moving through the low-budget collection of what is mostly poorly designed
ads for what is mainly sub-par business ventures, when lo and behold, SMACK! The second article hits me right in the face!
This one, unlike the first, really gets me going. Here is a mother of two who is so inoculated by the vaccine of television that she literally has an
emotional response to the point of tears when she hears the theme music of what was her child's favourite shows.
Don't get me wrong, when I hear music or clips from the shows I was brought up with I too have a noticeable response to them. But I am afraid I can
not see how she could be moved to tears when she hears the music to the “Teletubbies”. I understand crying when looking at photos and videos of
your young ones in years past. But to have such a strong and consuming emotional reaction to television programing makes me think...
Is this what we are going for? Is this article, as innocent and impinging as it is trying to be, really speaking in clarion testimony toward the way
we have and are assembling our societal psyche? Do we want to be so habitually and intrinsically tied to the shows we watch, that they become an
inseparable part of remembering our past? Do you really want television to be eternally linked to your strongest and most inveterate emotional
responses? I have many memories of watching a variety of shows with my now deceased grandparents and I have very strong emotions when I reflect back
on my time with them and their love for me. But never has this show or the next show, when viewed now some ten years later, stirred up the kind of
retrospective emotional duress that our periodical's author undergoes when seeing “Tinkie Winkie” (or however the hell you spell it).
The second thing that irked me about the fore-mentioned article is that when the daughter showed very little recollection of what was supposedly her
favourite show, the mother couldn't just leave it at that. No. The mother felt ripped off that the child didn't share the same autonomic response to
the show and so mom decided to try and “freshen” the girl's memory by plopping her down in front of YouTube videos and going through the names of
each character and otherwise replanting the memories for the girl. Doesn't anybody else find this disturbing? The mother is so tied up in this that it
actually broke her heart that her child didn't have the same responses to the memory of the show or to it's being played again after several years. It
seriously concerned the mother that the child's memory had become vague. This is just twisted and it's all rooted in deep concord with, of all things,
the T.V. She should have shouted a praise to the heavens that the sensory equivalent of oatmeal had largely been forgotten by the preteen.
Maybe I'm missing something. Maybe it's just because I'm a man, and I don't get it. But I don't think I am missing anything and I don't think my
gender as dick-diddly to do with it. I think this is malapropos and a growing indicant, a tell-tale sign of the sallow, calamitous emphasis and value
we as a society are placing on the degree of intimacy we allow the television to have in our lives. For many among us, it is that thing by which to
measure all other events that may occur in ones life and the thing which gives gradient value to the mental/emotional response to said events. And
that my dear readers, is pitiful. I am sad for that.
Whether you concur with me or not on the television being a maniacal menace, I hope these two stories will be enough to make you give pause to the
roles you permit entertainment play in your life and in the lives of your children, if you have been so blessed as to have them.
There is so much more out there than the T.V. can show you and so much more to know than the internet will ever contain.
edit on 20-10-2012 by Philodemus because: spelling
edit on 20-10-2012 by Philodemus because: (no reason