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#158653 04/26/06 03:53 PM
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I'll take a couple of guesses, not intending to try and step in for Alex, because a.) it wouldn't be right, and b.) I'm not a doctor.

I think the important word in his post was conditioned . No one watches plays for several hours a day, seven days a week, but lots of people do watch television that much. There is some connection between visual stimulation and the brain, I do know. There is a therapy that I can't remember the name of for the life of me (EMD,EMR?) , but it involves moving your eyes side-to-side from one point to another while thinking certain thoughts (say, to stop smoking), so that after a while when you move your eyes that way at any time, that thought pops into your consciousness.

A major concern I have about kids' shows--Sesame Street in particular; that's one I'm familiar with--is this conditioning. Never mind that it's set up to help them learn things; I can't help but wonder how it affects their ability to learn from other sources, say minor ones like school, and books. If they have been condtioned by three years of watching Sesame Street daily, how difficult will it be for them to focus on any lesson in kindergarten (and later) that lasts longer than 15 seconds? I wonder if anyone has ever done a study on that.

#158654 04/26/06 05:27 PM
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A study was done to see what factors correlated with standardized test scores and number of tv watching hours appeared to not be a factor. Not an attention-span study, but interesting. It also found that those who have lots of books in their homes (not necessarily being read by or to them) have a positive correlation to high test scores.

#158655 04/26/06 05:33 PM
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not to mention the study of music.


formerly known as etaoin...
#158656 04/26/06 06:13 PM
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No matter how frenzied the action onstage, for live theatre one generally sits in a seat and has the same point of view through the performance. When the play's over you exit the theater.

I'm not saying that watching a single television program will make your brain melt and run out your ears, but ultimately it is luxury that, like alcohol, should be used in moderation if at all rather than a staple that should make up a large part of the mental diet. I attended college with a couple of brilliant twins who grew up rich in books but with no television in the home at all. Academically, they blazed through college like a couple of comets. One was later a Fulbright Scholar in fact. Of course they had intelligence and academic motivation anyway, but I'm convinced that their lack of television gave them great stamina as readers. They could read large volumes of academic material with as much ease and gusto as I can muster for a gripping work of genre fiction.

Last edited by Alex Williams; 04/26/06 06:22 PM.
#158657 04/27/06 01:14 PM
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There is a running argument I have with my wife. The disagreement has become severe on some occasions. Frankly, I want her to 1. leave the kids alone and 2. quit passing on unsupported opinion as absolute fact.

Let me explain:
She has a really bad habit of saying something to the kids and - because she said it - it must, of course, be absolutely true. She'll tell them things like "If you bite your nails, your fingers will fall off." or "If you sit cross-legged, your hips will grow wider and no man will want you." Those are two exact examples, but the list of things she says like this is really very large.

Part of my problem is that she mixes in things that have a very large chance of being true (or at least correct within some limit) and things that are ludicrous.

One large peeve of hers is the "too much TV" thing which in recent years has grown into a "too much video game" or "too much computer game" thing. Every single time she sees the kids relaxing in front of the tv playing halo or playing scrabble online or what have you - she launches into a tirade. Additionally, she's taken to cutting out every article she can find that shows the dangers of video games and forces the kids to read them.

If there were any hint of a problem, I would be the first to say we have to do something - but everything with the kids is going wonderfully. In my wildest dreams I never thought I'd be this lucky. There's a lot of things I could say, but I'll leave it at this: my youngest daughter (age 13) is depressed because she got her first B+ ever. This is pretty typical of the kind of problem we have to deal with. It's not just academics. They're both pretty good swimmers - are actively involved with 2-3 teams throughout the year, and are involved with other activities as well. They're REALLY busy. My oldest (16) has been tutoring a girl a few hours a week and has just gotten her first job as a cashier at a local food store. My youngest is practicing violin and reading all the time. If they get a few hours free here or there and want to spend it playing video games - what's the big deal? They both spend a lot of time reading. The youngest is about half way through DaVinci Code right now. (Not a great book, but it's a pretty good choice for a 13 yo.)

I know the kids are not perfect. It could be they would benefit from other experiences. But we DO go to museums, zoos, aquariums. We DO talk to each other a lot. We DO read together and share experiences and articles. But I just can't stomach nagging them when they get a few minutes free.

That said, I can imagine that there are families where tv is a problem, maybe even a serious problem. In fact, I don't have to imagine - I *KNOW* families where this is a problem. But the problem in each of those cases - at least from from my pov - is not the tv, per se, but the lack of parental involvement. Using the tv as a baby sitter or a proxy parent is destined to cause issues down the road. I don't have a problem with parents who limit their kids' tv time or video game time. In fact, I applaud the fact that they're paying attention. But I don't think that the right answer is that alone. Nothing effectively replaces contact with the kids.

#158658 04/27/06 01:16 PM
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>>>> I'm not saying that watching a single television program will make your brain melt and run out your ears,


>>>>but ultimately it is luxury that, like alcohol, should be used in moderation if at all rather than a staple that should make up a large part of the mental diet.

Aye, that I agree with. Life is all about balance. Television, books, plays, games, sports, activities...they should all be used to expand your mental and physical horizons, not limit them.

When something starts to limit you, it is time to take a good look at what your are doing. That is for everything, not just television.

I'll give you an example. We all know we should exercise every day, however, a coworker of mine has had to cut down on her physical exercise because it was keeping her from getting pregnant. She did Iron-Man triathelons on a regular basis and was exercising too much.

A child or adult that is constantly plopped down in front of the television is not balancing his life with other physical, mental, and social activities. It is limiting the individual.

The same can be said about a child or adult that is constantly hiding behind a book. A shy person will justify limiting his social interactions because he is "busy" reading. Reading is a good thing, but in that case it is unhealthy for the development of the individual.

Life is balance.

Aye, and speaking of balance...I better get back to work if'n I want to get paid and balance my checkbook.

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Quote:

I *KNOW* families where this is a problem. But the problem in each of those cases - at least from from my pov - is not the tv, per se, but the lack of parental involvement. Using the tv as a baby sitter or a proxy parent is destined to cause issues down the road.




As I see it, this seems to be the crux of the issue; parental involvement. It seems that too often there is so little investment in children's lives. Having a 3 year old, I haven't had as much experience in this area yet, but we want to be as "intentional" about our parenting as possible. It sounds like you (TFF) have struck a good balance with your wife and hopefully, you both see the benefits.

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I was once told something that completely changed my outlook on the purpose of TV. Somebody who worked in the industry said to me: "You know, the product of the television industry is not programmes. The actual product of television is viewers, and this is what is being sold to advertisers".

I don't watch much TV anyway, but even when I do, the idea that somebody is selling my attention for their own benefit is disagreeable.

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FF, I had the same thing with my mother, re: my kids (when they were little) and fast food. She would launch into lectures if I'd mention taking them to McDonald's. BUT--looking at the overall picture, they got pretty much the nutritional requirements and balance every day; they were in good health. I saw and still see no problem with having taken them there once a month or so: possibly because I felt so "different" as a child, I place(d) a high importance on letting them be part of the same culture* their friends were in.

*Up to a point: they did have outside activities (youth baseball team at the Y, swimming, music lessons, etc.), but only one activity at a time, because I think it is also important for children to have time to just "be"--to be able to relax, think, and use their imaginations. My husband would occasionally say that they ought to do their homework as soon as they come in the door, whereupon I would remind him that adults wouldn't want to come home from a full day's work and immediately do another couple of hours of it, and that I thought the kids needed a bit of "down time" after a full day of school, as well.

It IS a matter of balance, and that does require parental involvement. They were in high school before I quit reading every single book they checked out of the library--which is how I came to know and hate both The Polar Express and The Velveteen Rabbit.

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Re:They were in high school before I quit reading every single book they checked out of the library--which is how I came to know and hate both The Polar Express and The Velveteen Rabbit.

Ha! when i was 13 or so, i read Pearl Buck's The Good Earth--and thought it was the raciest book i had ever read--(yeah, i grew in in NYC, but my parents did their best to protect me from many thing)

the book was filled with strange and sexy ideas --concubines (i looked that word up--i though i knew what it meant from context, but NO way would my mother smile at me reading books about people who had concubines! and opium.. people in the book took opium! (and there there was the passage after Onan has twin sons, and her husband gives her twin pearls (which she keeps--rather than wears) nestled between her twin swollen breast! wow did i think that was sexy!

a year or two later, i was reading the microbe hunters (a book she didn't approve of!) and i was reading about STD, but not about the sex part--more about the disease part, (as i recall, the transmittal part was covered by a simple sentence "caught by having (sexual) intercourse with an infected partner" nothing erotic there... but the science--that was riviting!

(the general policy was "no censorship"-- we were free to read anything we wanted.. but somehow, the microbe hunters kept getting helpfully returned to the library--it was years before i realize this was her way to discourage this book (i don't think she ever read it, but she might have looked at the chapter heading and say something about the fight against syphilis)

i know she hadn't read (and didn't read) most of the books we read --(she did actually read A Catcher in Rye--and couldn't see what the problem was.. (when i was a teen, it was banned in several school districts.) She counted on the nuns--if they didn't disapprove, she didn't. at some point, one of the parish priest must have told her the Microbe hunters was OK, and i finally finished reading the book.

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