to t.v. or not to t.v.? that’s the question


T.V.  Television.  The idiot box.  The tube.  There’s some good on there.  There’s a lot of bad on there.  Then, there’s that stuff that’s in between.  The stuff that looks innocent but when you pay attention there are things you don’t want to teach your kids.

We have cable.  We love American Idol, Chopped, So You Think You Can Dance, stuff like that.  Our kids love the Disney Channel.  That’s about all they watch.  But I’ve noticed a trend in those kiddy shows: children who constantly lie, disobey, and deceive.  Not the evil characters, the main ones.  The ones on the commercials, making music videos.  The ones our kids like.  And it’s beginning to really bother me.  I don’t let my kids act like that.  And it’s not a light subject.

One episode really got to me.  The main character (a high schooler) was fed up with a disrespectful teacher so she took one of his pencils and broke the lead on it in front of his face.  Disobedient and disrespectful.  She deserved to be punished.  And when her parents found out they disciplined  her as well.  Right?  Not exactly.  The teacher punished her.  But when her mom found out she exclaimed, “But you did nothing wrong!”  Nothing wrong?  Are you kidding me?  The mom then when down to the school, swiped everything off the teacher’s desk and chased him around the school.  What a great example.

So, now we have to worry not only about the obvious stuff on T.V., the language and inappropriate material, but the attitudes as well.  Role models who really aren’t good role models.  A subtle destructive message that seeks to program our kids with unbiblical attitudes and behaviors.  “Seeks?” you say.  Yeah, seeks.  The god of this world seeks to steal, kill, and destroy and he’ll do it in the most effective ways he can.  T.V. is no exception.

So, I’m torn.  I like some things on T.V.  I hate others.  I don’t want those influences on my kids.  So…big decisions may be ahead.

What do you think?

Brian

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3 responses to “to t.v. or not to t.v.? that’s the question

  • Kristal

    This is a toughie. Growing up, we had cable, but my mom was incredibly strict about what we could watch and how often we could watch. At the time, I thought she was super lame, but now I totally get it. We also watched TV as a family on Friday nights (always with a big bowl of popcorn!) but Full House and Family Matters were a lot more wholesome than anything you can find on TV now.

    Chad and I don’t even own a TV now. We got rid of it about 3 years ago simply to make some budget cuts but now we see how much of our time it was wasting! There are a couple shows I catch online on Hulu (Parenthood and Glee) but I never find myself stuck in front of mindless TV anymore, ya know? Plus, with Isaac around now, I like that I don’t have to worry about what’s on TV while he’s in the room.

    From the little I see when my cousins are watching shows at my Grandma’s, I think Disney is one of the worst offenders. With many shows on TV, the bad stuff is blatant – language, sex, drugs, etc. But on Disney shows it’s much more subtle, which I think is worse for kids because they can’t single out the bad as easily.

    I don’t think no TV is the right answer for everyone, but it’s the right answer for us. Maybe you guys could try a week of no TV? Or TV only if you are all watching together? I’ll be interested to know what you guys decide to do! 🙂

  • Ashley

    I agree with Kristal – growing up, my parents were VERY strict on what TV we watched! In fact, I don’t even recall watching regular programming. We watched “I Love Lucy” episodes at night together, and I would watch the Jetsons. Anything else were VHS tapes.

    This is pretty much the approach we’re taking. We do have a TV, and I’ll admit to liking probably more shows than I should. With Evy, she’s never seen regular programming except for Barney and Mister Rogers. Kurt and I have decided that our kids will only watch DVDs of old shows (Mickey Mouse Club, classic cartoons, etc.) and movies that we know are appropriate. Since we plan on homeschooling, I think that peer pressure will be a slightly less significant issue (“Hey, did you see what was on TV last night?”).

    There will be a time when we have to address what’s on regular programming, and decide how to handle it. In some instances, it can be a teachable moment (how NOT to act), but parents can’t be in the room all the time.

    I will also be interested to see how yall handle this!

  • Mike

    We have a BIG idiot box at our place…hope that does not correlate to our level of idiotness. This is what takes place at our crib—Brandi will occasionally watch a cooking show in the afternoon while the kids are resting (I know that b/c when I turn the TV on after the kids are in bed, it is sometimes on Food Network). I like to watch Fox news after the kids are in bed so I can become depressed about our country. I also like sports—so Sunday afternoon golf is good and helps to put us to sleep. College BB is a staple, and there is something about FB during the fall and winter as well. I have learned that is not always clean, however, with Hardee’s and beer commercials, etc–so we try to mute commercials and change channel when needed. Should we just scap it if we are having to do that? Out of 30-40 channels we get, we watch about 5. Is it worth having? Our kids only watch cartoons or movies appropriate for them that we have DVR’d. Brandi said she read that kids watch an average of 4-5 hours of TV/day. We are telling our kids they can have 4-5 hours of TV/week. If it were up to Brandi, we would scrap the TV, but for now I could not part with the sports—gotta be able to watch March Madness! I think it is good that people are being convicted about this. R. Kent Hughes in Disciplines of a Godly Man talks about being desensitized to things such as this—and I think this is the danger to too much TV. You hear/see things that are just wrong, and over time, you just get used to it. It then does not strike you as offensive. So we try to keep it clean–nothing but cartoons/appropriate movies (Star Wars!!!) and sports for the kids….cooking, sports, the weather channel, and the news for me and the wife. There is some good stuff on the tube—we watch Johnny Mac on the NRB channel, and there is some good stuff on the History channel from time to time, but much of it is crap. Brian, if you do pull the plug, don’t tell Brandi!

    Maybe it is deeper than TV??? Do you think this speaks more to what are we doing with out time?

    mg

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