Silence that idiot box!
See the referenced article at: http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/editorial_opinion/oped/articles/2009/09/27/silence_that_idiot_box/
The message is stronger than ever. No mincing of words here–
“That so many kids wallow in it veers on child abuse. Some parents speak confidently of “educational’’ television, an oxymoron on the order of “diet ice cream’’ and “congressional wisdom.’’ Children don’t become educated from watching TV, and the more TV they watch, the less educated they usually end up.”
“The baleful effects of TV aren’t limited to education. The University of Michigan Health System notes on its extensive website that kids who watch TV are more likely to smoke, to be overweight, to suffer from sleep difficulties, and to have high cholesterol. If television came in a bottle, it would be illegal to sell it to children. Yet on any given day, 81 percent of 8- to 18-year-olds watch TV, and they watch it, on average, for more than three hours. Even the very youngest Americans are steeped in TV. According to their parents, 43 percent of children younger than 2 – babies and toddlers! – watch television every day. More than 1 in 4 have a TV set in their bedroom.”
This scathing Boston Globe article is probably much too damning. Before you go off on a guilt trip about allowing your kids to watch TV, remember that this article is clearly directed at parents who allow their kids to watch too much TV. As with everything in life, moderation is key. According to our earlier article on safe media consumption, kids should not be watching more than an hour or two of TV in a day. Additionally, if TV viewing is restricted to sensible, dare we say, “educational” programs like those on PBS, National Geographic, Animal Planet, Discovery Channel, and History Channel, we think kids will be alright. Be aware of the harmful side-effects of consumerism and exposure to advertising. Eschew TV channels that feature too many advertisements and also be sure to teach your kids to be savvy about what they see and hear on TV, especially in advertisements. See SmartBean’s article titled Defense Against the Dark Arts: Teaching Kids to be Critical Consumers of Media.
That said, the fact remains that TV viewing is indeed largely “passive and sedentary spectating“, and does not compare favorably to other more active and playful pursuits your children could be spending their time on instead. So “do them a favor. Turn the idiot box off“ - at least for most of their free time.