Friday, April 17, 2009

Turn off the TV week?

Today Emily brought home a flier from school, with fun facts (average 2-11 year old child watches 1000+ hours of TV a week?!) and a signup for Turn off the TV Week. I have so many thoughts about this, I hardly know where to begin.

First, last week might have been seen informally as Turn On the TV Week for my daughters, since they spent a week with grandparents, and therefore had access to TV. They watched all their favorite shows and several new ones, familiarizing themselves with the modern genre of talent shows. I see this as an important aspect of their education: cultural literacy. In addition, as you can see, this enables my dad, even when he is only home from his rehabilitation hospital for a couple of hours, to catch up on the world of Emily's thoughts. He does this with the same willing acceptance he showed when he listened and enjoyed music with me in my teenage years.

Second, the irony of the timing could hardly be greater, because on Monday I have an appointment with their principal for me to be a complainer. I have spent 4 years now hearing about indoor recess on any remotely wet or cold day, or "blacktop recess" if it was wet yesterday and the ground is still muddy. This is, to me, outrageous, especially on a safe, clean school campus of at least 20 acres, with lots of open, green space to play. I have spent the last year waiting for the new principal to change this problem, after making a very gentle comment at the year's beginning, but I've given up waiting and hoping and am now about to be demanding, with scientific papers and books and the power of persuasion which I may not have, but have to try out.

Tuesday Emily will take her turn off the TV week form to school, with my signed commitment to have our TV off for the week. Not too hard - we just got a TV at Christmas, but still have no stations, no cable. I can't claim screen-limit virtues - we watch plenty of movies at home, and the girls play computer games and watch pirated TV on YouTube. But I can say this: I am very happy that the TV on is still a celebration for the girls, while TV off is the state they take for granted.


Ser said...

Ooh, I like this idea, that the normal state of affairs should be that the TV is off. While my boys do get access to the same sorts of things your girls do (youtube, videos on the weekends, online computer games) they also still view "screen time" as a celebration, not the norm.

Oh, and I'm with you on the indoor recess and blacktop recess. It is ridiculous. I can understand it if it is pouring rain, but otherwise, come on!

Jennifer Bremer MD said...

Your blog and photos are wonderful! And, I'm with you, too, that TV off is the way to go. FYI I blabbed on the kids & TV thing on my blog at:

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