I just finished a really interesting (and appalling) read; The Plug-In Drug: Television, Computers and Family Life by Marie Winn details how TV watching is harmful for children in a comprehensive way at the same time it notes just exactly how much American kids are watching today. Although the book was originally written in the 70’s the testimonials and observations seem as pertinent as if they had been spoken yesterday and for this 25th anniversary edition she has updated to include the similar effects of other electronic media (VCRs, video games, computers in classrooms etc) and here’s the short version … its pretty much all equally bad.
The book focuses on the effects of television on small children and families but I couldn’t help flinching as I read because some of the points seemed as relevant for me as they do for toddlers. I love TV as much as the next person – I don’t watch a lot of live network television and I don’t have cable but I can go through a season on DVD in a week pretty easily and, as that’s how they are available from my library – a season at a time and checked out for one week, I often do. I notice on those weeks that I stay up later than I mean to, accomplish less than I plan and spend less time interacting with other people or even reading on my own. I’m not saying I’ll never do this again – I will probably do it again quite soon. But I am going to be keeping my eyes open a bit more for a while for just a few of the following reasons. Read the rest of this entry »