Two years ago, my husband and I took a radical step: We got rid of the TV. Sort of.
I could see that my then seven-year-old was becoming addicted. Television was always his first choice activity. I was getting tired of the daily fights when it was time to turn off the tube after the kids' allotted TV-watching time was up. I'd been considering taking this step for years but the day my son said he didn't want to come swimming with me because he would rather stay home and watch TV, I decided to take the plunge.
Rather than throwing it out, we put the TV in the closet. Now, we take it out for special occasions. And you know what? It hasn't been that bad. To see what happened in our family and in others who took this seemingly drastic step, click on Families Without TV and Getting the Box out of the House by our humor writer Sherri Lederman Mandell. On the same page, you can laugh over Sara Eisen's 12 Steps to Ending TV Addiction. We know this solution isn't for everyone. And parents with televisions have their own concerns. If you feel your teens are watching too much MTV, click on Addicted to MTV to see what the experts have to say.
Most critics of our television-watching culture point to violence and mindlessness on our home screens and subsequently in our kids' minds. But some experts claim the very act of sitting and watching television is harmful to a growing child. Check out Alternative View of TV to find out more.
In the past two years, we've seen a lot more floor play, outdoor activities, creative projects and reading at our house. And post-TV crankiness is a thing of the past. If you feel your kids are watching too much TV, try the closet method for a week. Let us know what happens.
Copyright Ruth Mason, 2000