Posted in #atozchallenge, Blog Hops and Fests, Commentary, Parenting, poetry, Social Consciousness, Unschooling

Television and Trust: #atozchallenge for April 24, 2017

Slices of An Unschooling Life Theme Reveal Post

Today’s Poetry Type:

Trolaan

 

TV is Dangerous

Television gets such a bad rap

“They” tell parents to keep kids away

That brain-sucker, that addictive trap –

“Turn it off; make them go out and play.”

 

Everyone knows TV is dangerous

Extinguishing the desire to learn

Except that it’s not like that for us

Excitement sparks; plentiful fuel to burn.

 

“Violence is glorified on television shows.”

Vilification is heaped on higher and higher.

Viewing too much is harmful, everyone knows –

But for us, it fuels learning’s bright fire.

 

It’s not what we’ve been led to believe

It’s not turning our brains to dead dust

Intelligent conversations dance and weave

It’s true: television’s a tool, in my kids I trust.

Lise makes a Musical.ly video at the mall, after her twelfth birthday shopping spree and lunch, and before going to a movie, July 2016. Screens are simply one component in a life lived on her own terms - another one of many ways she explores and interacts with her world.
Lise makes a Musical.ly video at the mall, after her twelfth birthday shopping spree and lunch, and before going to a movie, July 2016. Screens are simply one component in a life lived on her own terms – another one of many ways she explores and interacts with her world.

It’s been fashionable, as long as my kids have been alive, and longer, to bash television. If the media (ironically, often televised) are to be believed, most if not all of the world’s ills can be placed on kids watching too much TV – or, in this modern era, in allowing them too much “screen time.”

But is that really true? Are kids helpless against the evils of television or things seen on screens?

It’s not that way here, and it hasn’t been for all the years we’ve allowed the kids to watch television or use screens when and as they wish.

What's that teenager doing with his iPhone? Plotting terrorist activity? Cyber-bullying...? Nope, he's playing Pokemon GO! Three weeks after this photo was taken, he'd had enough, and moved on to other things.
What’s that teenager doing with his iPhone? Plotting terrorist activity? Cyber-bullying…? Nope, he’s playing Pokemon GO! Three weeks after this photo was taken, he’d had enough, and moved on to other things.

In our reality, television is a tool. Honestly, the kids don’t watch as much television as their parents. They tend to watch specific things they plan for, rather than “vegging out” in front of the TV.

They do use assorted screens frequently – to read, write, play games on their own and collaboratively, to research, to chat with friends and make new ones…very much the way many adults use screens, as a matter of fact.

But what about “inappropriate content?”

                          Here's one way to keep it clean!  Yes, this was her idea!
                          Here’s one way to keep it clean!  Yes, this was her idea!

Well, there’s a very interesting thing that happens when kids (or anyone) has freedom. It’s not usually the free-for-all those imagining the chaos think it is. Yes, there was a period of intense watching for a while after we removed the restrictions we’d placed on “screen time,” but it gradually tapered off into more natural patterns.

And they don’t just watch whatever’s on, whether it’s right for them or not. They have the freedom to walk away or turn a show off if it’s disturbing to them. They also know they can share what they watch with their parents, talk about it, and ask questions without being punished, reprimanded, or ridiculed. 

With the freedom to choose when and what to watch, they want to watch things they actually enjoy watching. My son has always enjoyed animation; he went from Popeye to Kenny the Shark, Tutenstein, and Time Warp Trio; on to Family Guy. South Park, and The Simpsons when he got a bit older. Then it was on to anime like Soul Eater and Spice and Wolf, with a consistent mix of comedies (recent favorites are Scrubs and Parks and Recreation, though he’s also been watching “bad movies” like A Talking Cat?!?! and The Brave Little Toaster, and he also attended a film showing of George Takei’s Japanese internment camp musical, Allegiance as well as documentary previews of PBSHamilton’s America and our local PBS station’s accompanying piece, Hamilton’s Albany.

As he’s nearing adulthood, his tastes are maturing, as well.

My daughter was chewing through nature documentaries before she had a label for what they were; she never cared if they were oriented toward children, like Wild Kratts or Dinosaur Train, or adults, like National Geographic or Nature. She also has a fondness for horror with an edge of fashion; when she was smaller, that translated to shows like Monster High and Ruby Gloom; today, she’s very fond of the anime Death Note.

What’s the point?

People who have the freedom to choose to watch television or peruse screens will do so in ways that fulfill them, serve their passions, entertain or challenge or enlighten them. They will be a part of life – like books, or music, or friends, or any other thing. No magic power, no pixels of poison….just a television, or a screen, there to be used, or not.

If you are a  parent, do/did you limit “screen time” and/or television for your children?

Did your parents limit your TV and/or “screen time?”

If so, how did you feel about that?

Tell me the truth – you’re looking for more terrific T posts. So don’t tarry – click here, or the icon below, to take a spin on the Blogging From A-Z April Challenge turnpike.

Trot by tomorrow, where we seek to understand uniqueness.

Election Night, 2016. Lise and I at a local coffee shop for a National Novel Writing Month write-in. Screens, conversation, and creativity blending naturally and easily - no need for limits, for me or for her.
Election Night, 2016. Lise and I at a local coffee shop for a National Novel Writing Month write-in. Screens, conversation, and creativity blending naturally and easily – no need for limits, for me or for her.

Author:

I am myself. I own my life, and live with three other people who own theirs. My intention is to do only those things that bring me joy, and to give myself wholly to those things I do. Writing has been my passion throughout my life, and this will become the home for my writing life...because it brings me great joy!

Take a chance! Type something in this box, and see what happens! =D

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s