Thursday, January 15, 2009

A rant

Why is "play video continuously" an option on children's DVD menus?

Truly, people, I ask you.

This is the ultimate in Television as a Baby-sitter Syndrome. Not only do our children sit in front of a box all day without blinking, but we cannot even be bothered to push the play button again. Ho.Ly. Crap.


In our recent jaunt to the States, I was horrified to see televisions in the shopping carts. Can we not do ANYTHING without electrical stimulation? We also bought a car while we were there. (Random, I know. End-of-the-year sales and all. We practically stole a brand-new Honda Odyssey. Go to the Honda dealer in Murray.) Anyway, I swear the sales guy almost had me put in a straight jacket when I requested a van without a DVD player.

Some of my favorite childhood memories were our family road trips. Notice I said trips - not destinations. (All kids ever remember is the hotel pool, anyway.) Sure we fought. Five kids in a van for twenty hours does not familial bliss make. BUT - we had a ball, too. Endless games, books, conversation and rounds of "I Know an Old Lady."

What will our kids remember? How many times they watched SpongeBob?

All too often I meet kids who just don't know how to play. We recently had a play date with two little boys just my kids' age. They immediately wanted to watch TV. I said no - that they were here to play. My Boyz enthusiastically showed them their swords, bow and arrows, play dough, farm, race tracks, etc. But "you be the bad guy, I'll be the good guy" was just totally lost on them. Little Prince and Ouro Branco tried many different games - from play kitchen to plain ole tag - and the other two just sat there, complaining that "this is boooooring." They truly did not know how to interact creatively with other children.

Disclaimer: my kids do watch movies. Shoot, I love movies. (Especially movie line challenges.) Our video collection is currently overflowing the designated two baskets and drawer, and my favorite place to stop at Wal-mart is the five buck movie bin. Little Prince, especially, will watch pretty much anything that moves on a screen if you let him. He loves Cars, Sesame Street, Robin Hood, Peter Pan, Finding Nemo - good films and shows, all. Some teach morals. Some are educational. Some are just good plain fun.

But we're talking maximum one movie a day, maybe 3-4 times a week. Tops. Sometimes days go by without us even looking at the television. One time the TV was broken for two weeks and I didn't even know it. Instead, my kids play. REALLY play.

And yet the national statistic still remains at 4-5 hours of television per day. And that's during the school year. No wonder these kids don't know how to play - they don't have time to.

I don't think there's anything wrong with relaxing in front of a good show sometimes. To be entertained. As long as our children don't lose the ability to entertain themselves.

16 comments:

Kristina P. said...

TVs in the shopping carts? Where the heck is this? Can I ride in one?

JustRandi said...

I could not agree more! I once had a daycare provider tell me that the lack of creative free time for children was going to bring down society, and she was serious. I'm starting to see it now.

Erin said...

I hate it when I find out that my kindergartener watched Word World at school. He is only at school for 2 1/2 hours, and they fill 30-45 minutes with tv watching? Horrible!!

Lara said...

I have never seen TVs in the shopping carts! That is pure craziness.

I have a DVD player in my van, but it is very rarely used. On long road trips, they might be able to watch one movie.

The Prices said...

My sister told me about the tv in the carts and I'll admit I thought it sounded cool, however, I definitely get your point and agree. There is a line to find with the tv issue.

Lady of Perpetual Chaos said...

I have to say that I've never heard of TV's in a shopping cart. When we're out driving we often try to figure out what movie the people are watching in their car. Obviously, we don't have one in ours! ;o)

Annette Lyon said...

We're a sad society at times, I grant you.

The irony with the continuous play DVD option is that really, in today's day and age, have you met a 3-yr-old who CAN'T work a remote and push PLAY on their own?

dawn said...

a HONDA?!?! You bought a HONDA?!?!

Heather of the EO said...

If they put TVs in our shopping carts here in MN anytime soon, I'll scream.

I couldn't agree more, lady. I heard about a study. The end result was that parents were spending an average of only three hours per WEEK in quality time with their kids because the kids were playing video games, on the computer, or watching TV instead.

I want more than three hours.

Steph @ Diapers and Divinity said...

Half of me says "yes, yes, yes!" and the other half of me was called to repentance. We have a DVD system we put in the van only for roadtrips, and that was selfishly for our own sanity. Much over an hour in the car and the kids start sounding very siren-like. So we squelch them with limitless digital entertainment. My kids have a one-hour limit at home, but they probably use it up every day unless we're out and about a lot. I'm not sure why, but my post turned into some kind of confessional.... I'll stop now.

Kim (Davis) Loudon said...

AMEN! We are looking for a car W/O a dvd player as well... I don't even want it to be an OPTION! You are an awesome mommy.

Jen said...

Yes, yes, and YES! to everything you said. I am anti-car-movies (for the same reason) and my children are also limited to movies only. And only Friday through Sunday. And they can play with the best of them. (And I bought three movies out of the five dollar bin tonight).

Wanna do a playdate?

Mommadj5 said...

Does my heart good to know that all that restricted TV watching when you were growing up actually did some good!! Not only were you a great student and socially fantastic, but now you are passing it on to another generation. Remember how much groaning there was at the "no TV during the school week" rule? I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to watch your kids play!! Here the kids had no school today (it was negative 11 this morning - too cold for the walkers...)and the TV has not been turned on once!!! After some serious room cleaning, your sister is reading Twilight and #3 bro cleaned out his car - now at work. On the other hand 3 kids have been by to borrow movies. Sigh....

Mommadj5 said...

I feel like I need a "disclaimer" also. We have so many movies I can't count them all and our home is the local "video store". However - how much viewing and when is totally monitored. I remove the restrictions once in a while to see what happens and believe it or not, no one really watches that much - just here and there. Little sister tends to spend her time on the computer so that is the next electronic monster to conquer! Thanks for the reminder...lots of love...Mom

Myrna said...

Hi That Girl, I am Abra's mom, and you read her blog.

I do road trips with university students about once every two years. Two years ago when we drove from Utah to Montreal--I am driving the van and just loving the incredible changes of the landscape as we head east--and the students are staring at computer screens on which they are playing DVDs. Or talking on their cell phones to other people besides the people in the van. I felt like screaming at them "Do you know what you are missing?"

Mind you, once when we were stuck in traffic on our way to the beach in San Diego, and my niece put a DVD in for her kids and mine, it was really, really nice not to hear whem whine while we waited.

mormonmommyblogs said...

TV's in shopping carts? For reals? Wow.


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