Plugged In

October 5, 2006

I recently visited Lori Borgman’s blog (she’s one of my favorite authors and has been ever since I read I Was a Better Mother Before I Had Kids) and she wrote about new shopping carts that have televisions in them to entertain children while their moms shopped.Oh no, I thought. Surely this can’t be true. But it is true.

Whatever happened to talking to your kids while you shop and using that oh-so-mundane task as a way to educate them? There are so many opportunities to share information with your kid on a run of the mill trip to the grocery store — no matter how old they are. From the elementary stuff like shapes, colors, and reading to more complex subjects like health & nutrition (why are you buying those veggies?), math (you have a coupon for brand A but Brand B is cheaper — which one costs less?), common sense (put all the cold stuff on the belt together so it gets bagged together and stays cold)… the educational opportunities are endless.

I thought it was bad when TVs-in-the-car became a commonplace occurrence not too long ago, but this is just another dreadful way in which people in this country avoid interacting with their children. The result? We are raising a generation of self-absorbed brats children who expect to be entertained 24/7 and have their demands catered to without question.


Check out this excerpt from Stranger in Your Living Room: How the Media Hurts Your Kids by Peter DeBenedittis, Ph.D.

Would you invite a stranger into your home while your children were there alone? Would you let him in if you knew he would mouth obscenities, engage in lewd behavior, influence your kids to disrespect you? Would you let him in if you knew he was there to turn them on to drugs? Make debtors of them? Destroy their confidence? If you knew he could affect how their brains developed and how they turned out as human beings?

If you’re like most American families, you’ve not only invited this stranger in, you’ve made him and one or two of his relatives (a second television, the Internet, video games) a permanent part of your household. In 54 percent of homes, this stranger, in the form of a TV set, resides in a child’s bedroom and bombards her with information two or three or more hours a day–as opposed to the estimated 16 to 37 minutes a week kids and parents spend talking to one another.

And now we’ve not only invited these malicious “strangers” into our living rooms, we’re driving them around town and taking them on grocery shopping trips too.



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