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Wednesday, October 12, 2005

I have no problem with old-school icons like Fred Rogers, or even newbies like Buster (even though Buster’s dad is a human with rabbit ears—what’s up with that?) There will always be good TV shows, and those will always be outnumbered tenfold by crappy TV shows. The real harm is the process of watching TV, which suppresses brainwave activity and subconsciously teaches kids to embrace a passive, detached sense of reality. Watching TV seems like an experience, but it isn’t, and little kids are too young to know the difference.

The highfalutin PhD’s who consult on children’s TV shows know this and have created shows like “Blue’s Clues” and “Dora the Explorer,” which encourage children to interact with the characters. But it’s an abysmal failure, because TV is not an interactive medium. Steve asks, “Is the clue to my left, or my right?” After a brief, awkward silence, a studio voice or two yells “Left!” And sure enough, he looks to his left. Why should any kid bother answering when he knows some ringer will do it for him? Besides, if they want my son to learn how to yell at the TV, he can just watch me during a Red Sox game.

We’ve had to resort to TV as a temporary distraction from time to time, but whenever I can, I engage the kid physically rather than let his brainwaves slouch around. Like that time we watched the “New Yankee Workshop” and afterward took apart and rebuilt his clothes dresser. He may one day think I’m a lunatic, but at least the experience was real.

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Comments

Love the New Yankee Workshop idea. I am constantly trying to find something better to do with my daughter than watch cartoons all the time. What do you get them to do when you are busy doing something else? I do a lot of work at home (part of my job) so I need to have some good projects for an almost 4 year old, although she does love vacuuming and dusting, haha!

Posted by: Suz | Oct 13, 2005 2:31:48 AM

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