Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Days without television

Ah, how I love the sound of silence!

Spyder has had a serious television addiction lately, one which required intervention. Skeeter and I have a television in our bedroom, mostly as an incentive for me to fold the laundry, a most mindless task that I detest. That's pretty much the only time that either Skeeter or I use the bedroom television. Spyder had started sneaking into the bedroom and watching The Disney Channel on the sly, but particularly after he had been told "No television" in the living room.

As a result, we got rid of the cable in the bedroom. Oh, the wailing and gnashing of teeth! Sass wasn't bothered by it at all, but Spyder . . . well, let's just say that it's certainly not coming back.

During a recent study of children's programming, The Disney Channel was cited has having the least violent content. That may be true, but many of the programs directed at the elementary/pre-teen group seem to romanticize or play down the consequences to disrespectful behavior. Most of the shows that come to mind -- Lizzie McGuire, Raven, The Suite Life of Zack and Cody, Phil of the Future -- all feature children who are disrespectful to their parents, as well as siblings who are disrespectful to one another. Of course, everything is resolved in one single 30 minute episode. Parents forgive and forget because, obviously, the child knew more about what to do than the parent. Siblings forgive each other and stick together when the going gets rough. But things don't happen that way in real life. There are lasting consequences for our actions that simply aren't seen in television shows.

And I really wonder if this is only meant for comic effect or if much of this is intentional, to undermine parental authority. After all, if the parents (particularly fathers) are portrayed as buffoons, why in the world should the child believe that the parents' opinion and judgement is valid? When a parent does exercise judgement that goes against the child's wishes, doesn't programming like that only increase the child's feeling of "Oh my parents just don't get it!?!" Does that allow the child to give the brand's opinion (and, oh yes, The Disney Channel IS a brand) more weight than the parent's opinion? Thus, when the children ARE outside of parental eyes, wouldn't the Brand be chosen over the Parent?

Questions exactly like these have been floating around my brain for quite some time, and I think I've been hesitant to face them. I have become a television rebel, and I'm anxious to see where this takes us on our journey as a family.


Julie said...


Brendy said...

Doooo it girlfriend (and yes I got that saying from a movie, but hey, not a tv show!)!
I think you are completely correct. I get more trouble from my boy for his mouth than anything else, and I DO contribute SOME of that to the desensitizing (not my sister, dont know correct english, so probably didnt spell that right) that comes from television.
We dont even HAVE cable, but those shows come on regular channels during the weekend, and also many movies have the same thing going.
You are right, and hey, if you're not- it's just LESS tv for them!@!!