Friday, April 28, 2006

Leave the TV ON!

I guess it is National Turn Off the TV week. I tend to agree with Sandra Dodd when she says why don't we have Don't Read Any Books week. In a radical unschooling home, TV is no more important or damaging than books, or games, or the computer, or the backyard, or playdough, or forts under the dining room table, or art supplies, or baking goodies, or, or, or ANYTHING. If your goal is for the whole world to be open to your children, for them to learn from, television is an excellent source of information and exposure to the whole wide world. So why would you declare no TV for a week? HOW would you go about getting your kids to not watch TV? Coerce them? Threaten them? Convince them it is dangerous to their health and intelligence? Then what? Next time they watch it, they might be feeling bad about themselves because you said it was bad. Or they might know you were lying and then their trust in you will lessen. Not exactly the benefits the creators of this turn your TV off week intended, are they?

If your kid liked to lay around reading classics all day, chances are you would be proud. How about sit around watching Animal Planet or the History Channel? Why is that a sin and reading the thoughts and stories of some long dead writer a virtue? Why can't they both be valuable, simply because your child has determined them to be? For him. Who's life is it anyway?

Seems to me the core issue here is balance. Too much, or too little, of anything is potentially harmful. But who decides how much is too much, or too little, for any individual? That person? The mother? The "experts"? I tend to think the individual has that right.

Ok, rant over. Hope you enjoyed it!


Janet said...

Good rant. I agree.

Anonymous said...

Yep, I enjoyed the rant!

Tracie said...

I must say, I Loved it! I am always having this complaint with my mother-in-law. She doesn't even OWN a TV set! She is always on to me how it is rotting their brains. My oldest loves to watch Antique Roadshow, how is that rotting a 10 year old?? Clifford must really be Satan incognito, I with you, Leave the TV on. My kids have learned so much from watch science, history, and about the world from TV. They can't read yet, and most those types of books are boring to listen to, so it is great the Old Boob Tube gets turned on.

Tracie said...

ok, I was ranting there too and left out 'ing' and other little things that make reading English easy, LOL!!

Amy said...

I admit, I am not a tv fan. I don't have a problem with some of the channels and some of the shows. I have a HUGE problem with the commercials. I don't like that my 10 year old had to ask me why someone would want to "control their birth" while watching food network. I don't trust the "tv" to show all sides of things or "moral" side. I have a problem that producers want to make money off of a child's obsession with their program. I have a problem that I can't find an umbrella or beachtowel that isn't propaganda for another show. TV to a child is reality. I don't want my child to see some of those shows as reality. I see lots of value for the older child. But I really would rather choose programs to watch together without commercials by recording or purchasing.

I think the turn off the tv week was started to help parents reconnect with their children. There are lots of parents who use the tv as a babysitter so they don't have to deal with their children. I think it's a good thing to encourage those families to reconnect, at least once a year.

Miranda said...

I actually agree with you about commercials. That is why we have Tivo! However, I see anything that the kids are exposed to by watching tv as an oppourtunity to discuss my beliefs and values with them. Stuff I would not necessarily bring up gets talked about. My kids do not see tv as reality. Come on, give your kids more credit than that! They know from first hand experience that the commercials on tv show toys to be more fun then they really are in real life. And we always discuss stuff that seems unreal or bigger than life, so they get a chance to think critically about what they are watching. But my goal is to have them be critical thinkers, not to shelter them, so YMMV.

But my biggest beef about turn off the tv week is HOW do you accomplish that? Offerring your kids cool stuff to do with you instead of tv is GREAT! But just forcing your will and turning off the tv does not fly with respectful parenting, to me. It becomes just another rule to put up with or subvert, and it damages the relationship. So the true issue is control, not the tv.