Who controls your TV? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 4 Old 04-25-2003, 06:03 PM - Thread Starter
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After reading the Action Alert on the main home page here I was ready to email my representative regarding the parent's bill of rights and television.

Then I thought about our home and how we parent our son. He doesn't eat junk. He doesn't watch junk on TV. When he wants something marketed just to him, we exercise our responsibilty as his parents and either chose it or not. He loves Thomas the Tank Engine but has no clue who Mickey Mouse is.

Am I naive in thinking that I can explain our family's values to my son as he grows up and hope that he adopts them?

I agree that commercialism in schools, on television - even - PBS is pervasive and that it would be great to adopt some of the rules used by other countries to control it. But as a parent, my job is to educate my child about the world. At some point parents must own up to their part when they let others parent in their place.

My brother just removed a BB gun from my nephew's possesion because he showed it to a friend when no one else was home. My nephew is 10 years old. My brother, a minister, was firm when instructing his son about the rules of this gun. It was only to be used with my brother there and they would use it together.

When I gently posed the "Why does he have a gun at all?" question, my brother said,"Well, what are you gonna do? He loves weapons and I figured this way, we would have an activity together that I could use to teach him about gun safety." I believe, in this case, that my brother passed up on an excellent opportunity to teach bigger lessons to his son. The lessons of peace, parental supervision, etc. My brother is well meaning and he and his wife believe they are good parents. His children are greedy, uncompassionate and insensitive.

Did commercialism do this to them? Or did my brother just let this happen?
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#2 of 4 Old 04-25-2003, 07:24 PM
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You have some very good points! We have struggled with the TV issue in particular. Dh loves to watch it in the evenings at the cost of talking to his family. I had it on for company during the day but after dd got older I didn't want her watching the same junk I was (we don't have cable so it's talk shows mostly-PBS is boring during the day). We had it totally off for awhile but then when 9/11 happened I was glad to have it on because I really wanted to see it "in person" to get the full understanding of what happened. Dh and I love Frontline, too.

So, just recently we decided to move the TV out of the greatroom and into our office. We dragged a loveseat in there as well. Now if anyone wants to watch TV they have to excuse themselves from the rest of the family. We have found that the TV hardly gets watched anymore at all, unless it's dd's videos or something after she goes to bed at 9 PM. It's taught our dd and ourselves that TV can be useful as a tool and entertainment, but it's no longer going to be the center of our lives. Our livingroom furniture is no longer going to be arranged around it either.

I know that gets beyond your main point but I just had to add my experience on the matter. As far as your brother and the gun, it depends on what he believes about guns. My father and I share different views on the matter-- he is a proud NRA member and a gun dealer (always does the background checks). When I was younger he had me take a course on gun safety and he never ever let me touch them, always kept them locked away. I learned to fear and respect guns through him and it kept me safe. I don't share his passion but I do respect his right to have them and I'm glad he taught me to handle them responsibly. Your brother should not have let him have access free access to the gun, even if he allowed his son to have one. That's what gun cabinets are for. We don't plan to have guns in our home at all, and will find other ways of bonding and other lessons to teach my dd about life.


7yo: "Mom,I know which man is on a quarter and which on is on a nickel. They both have ponytails, but one man has a collar and the other man is naked. The naked man was our first president."
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#3 of 4 Old 04-26-2003, 12:19 AM
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To my knowledge, my ds has never seen a pretend or real gun used on tv. But it sure does look fascinating to see a bunch of children running around the park "shooting"each other with plastic Playskool golf clubs, held as rifles. No, I won't buy him guns, but how much can I do if he begins to use other toys in their place? I realize that this is off the TV topic, but it is related, in my opinion, to your issue.

My ds does watch some PBS. What drives me crazy is when characters he knows and loves are used to market unhealthy food items sold in our regular grocery stores. I've already explained to my 2.5 year old that the people who make the food want mommies to buy it, so they put cool pictures on it even though it isn't healthy. He now identifies the brightly colored, fun packaging in the store by saying, "Not that one, right mommy. It's junk, right?" And how humiliating when he does the same while pointing to a box of cereal in a friend's kitchen!
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#4 of 4 Old 04-26-2003, 02:44 AM - Thread Starter
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I was a bit worried about posting this topic because it is very sad that schools are no longer a neutral place where our children are safe from the evils of marketing. But there is Taco Bell Food in the cafeteria, the book covers with licensed characters, lunch boxes...why is a TV show at school different? When children watch TV at home they expect commercials. My son loves the commercials that are part of the videos he watches. These are videos about recycling, construction equipment and trains. He even says, "I would like to see the horse commercial." that comes on before his excavator video.

We actually only watch BBC Amercia or basketball when he's awake. He loves the PetMeds and Lea and Perrins commercials and although he's only 2 1/2 years old, he knows what is and isn't a commercial.

While nursing and listening to NPR with me a couple weeks ago he said, "They are fighting in Baghdad; we can't go there." I was very surprised he was listening so closely but I am not going to stop listening to the radio or completely eliminate TV.

USAmma it is a great idea to refocus the livingroom away from the TV. We are trying to get there at our house too. We want to integrate the TV and computer screen so we only have one box in our house - we only have 750 sq ft!

I have always explained things to him, much like the junk food lessons you you've taught, teachma. I love that your son is so perceptive!

Parenting is work, not parenting is more work!
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