Thursday, November 01, 2007

An Open Letter To Television

It's back! In honor of election season, and the monthly blog exchange, I am debating TV and children's viewing habits with the lovely and talented Alex Elliot. Please head on over to Formula Fed and Flexible Parenting to read her side of the story, and weigh on in!

Dear Television,

We need to talk. I've been feeling really conflicted lately. We have such a love/hate thing going on right now. On one hand, I love you. I always have, but ever since TiVo has revolutionized our relationship I feel an even stronger bond with you. The Daily Show, Survivor, Inside the NFL, the whole gamut of programs just waiting for me to watch. Every night, I as soon as the kids to go to sleep we get down to our dirty, sinful business.

Therein lies the rub.

While I love you so much I want to make out with you, I don't want my kiddos to share my affections. Occasionally I'll allow some educational DVDs or an episode of Sesame Street, but by and large you remain turned off while the kids are awake.

It's not you TV, it's me. Strike that, it's you. You sold out, TV. Why is AstraZeneca trying to convince my 2-year old that their asthma medication is best? And why are there so many commercial for McDonald's? Call me a crazy conspiracy theorist, but I bet McD's and big pharma are in bed together. All this trans-fat laden childhood obesity leads to major medical problems down the road. Follow the money!

Besides all drugs and unhealthy food you're trying to sell my kids, what about all those licensed characters? I've seen an obsessed kid or two in my time, and let me tell you, it's not pretty. Thomas, Dora, Elmo. And it's not just the kids, either! Have you ever seen the parents come holiday season? I can't think of many things that would drive well mannered, rational people to fisticuffs, save for the last Tickle-me Whoever. Oh, and he is probably covered in lead-based paint FYI.

So let's make a deal, TV. I'll continue to watch in the evenings and during nap time, and you leave my kids alone, ok? I'll even promise to occasionally buy some of those products you keep trying to sell me. But only because I was going to buy them anyway. And when they're older and more capable of thinking for themselves, maybe the kids can watch a little more often.

Until then, we'll be at the library.

Love, Amy Jo


As always, head over to The Blog Exchange to check out all the other debates, or to find info on how to play along!

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soccer mom in denial said...

Here here! (But where are the comments?). I didn't let my boys watch television until they were 2 and then it was only a little bit a day. Now we're up to 1-2 1/2 hours during the week and a bit more on weekends (don't ask how much they watched during the Red Sox World Series run).

It does get harder as they get older. I'm allowing the ocasional cartoon but will not allow Hannah Montana or the other Disney garbage.

Suzanne said...

Excellent points, indeed. The commercials are really over the top these days. OK, I guess they were always a problem, as my mom told me that when I was a kid watching TV, I'd point to every toy advertised and inform her that I wanted it. Not that I ever got it, but it is still troubling to think how effective commercials are.

Lora said...

commercials are where it's at, isn't it? i am convinced that television programming is researched and geared toward keeping you tuned into one channel so when that channel airs the big money maker commercials, you'll be sitting right there waiting.

Arizaphale said...

I have exactly the same love hate relationship with the computer. I have to admit to allowing my child to watch TV...well actually, mostly videos and DVDs....that way you can control content and exclude commercials. As a single mother for 10 years it was handy to have 'down time'. She was an addict from birth too. It must be genetic. She was once spied in a hardware store watching a video about how to hang a door. "Mummy", she called, "Look, video!!!!" (aged 18 months. :-(...)
At the same time we read every night and covered such classics as "Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats", "The Lion the Witch and The Wardrobe", "Worzel Gummidge" and "The Muddle Headed Wombat". I think balance and discussion about programs viewed is the key.
I also experience some guilt.

Amy Jo said...

It's easy to keep it turned off now while they're little. I know that as they get older it's going to be harder and harder, so I'm trying to start good habits now!