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The future is far away and scary, but today is lovely.

Adrian H. Wood, PhD


Children's Television Is Torture

Children's Television Is Torture

Wednesday, July 06, 2016 Adrian Wood Comments (0)

Children's Television is Torture

Now, I love a good show more than anyone. Nothing better than dinner and rarely, a bath and clean pajamas, all to be topped off with some end of the day T.V. watching. I am afforded an opportunity to slack off my role as workhorse for a few quiet minutes and languish on the extra couch and scroll through my phone whilst all is quiet on the frontier. If it happens to begin on the half hour mark, I can sneak upstairs where I ponder a shower but instead get a glass of wine and plop on my yummy bed. Here I am awarded silence for nearly thirty minutes. Ahhhh, now why would I care what people watch with this benefit after a very long day?

In ten years, I really haven't cared even though I hem and haw when it feels expected of me, like at the pediatrician's office. I would not allow anything obviously bad and am fairly safe as my children are scared silly of Jurassic Park, boo hoo over E.T. and relish slapstick humor much to my husband's chagrin. The benefit of these average minds is that they relish standard crappy TV and generally gravitate towards mindless mess like Jessie. For the most part, I have minded my own business though occasionally raise cain over Sponge Bob. Mind you, I have never watched it myself but dated a boy that did many moons ago and found that repulsive. There you have it.

It was not until a recent bout with the stomach bug that I was enlightened of the drivel that my children gravitate towards, particularly if it is indicative of their futures. We could be in real trouble as we don't even have cable, but evidently Netflix and YouTube are plenty. You may think that the shows of my oldest children would be the most vulgar but no, I hate to admit they are just predictably annoying like Ninjago or YouTube videos of trick shots with a smattering of bad language, interesting though not after an hour. No, I was most undone by the innocent shows drawing in my two younger children.

My six year old daughter is charmed by teenager shows that are clearly inappropriate and she goes back to them despite my scolding and pleas. On this particular day she had chosen Lego Friends and I thought we were golden. I should have known better as I found out rather quickly that even our Lego friends have drunk the punch. I snuggled with my daughter as she received a lesson on the opposite sex and then recounted to me her little girl interpretation of the boy troubles I thought I had heard but was certain I had misunderstood. Lego Friends? A cartoon? Animation of building toys directed towards girls ages 5-10ish? Yep, "two girls are fighting over a boy" she recounted and I sunk into my pillow. It went from bad to worse and before too long Amos discovered us, demanded up and we switched to one of his shows, of which he has a few favorites.

As a disclaimer, though likely not a convincing one, I rarely watch TV with him as the point of a television watching Amos is so that I can accomplish some mundane task or hide for a bit of respite. Apparently basking in my own ignorance, I had adored Daniel Tiger from afar, sweet singing in the background and Amos' clambering to get settled on the couch with a broad smile. What's not to like? Well, evidently, Caillou and Daniel Tiger are distantly related. I am well aware that it is no news flash that Caillou is incredibly annoying, but I had encouraged Daniel Tiger and in that moment realized that he may whine more than Caillou, if that's even possible.

As annoying as it is that Max and Ruby have parents who are non existent, I find their absence a blessing, validating my own parenting philosophy. The one that says, "They're busy, so stay out of the fray and hide." I was horrified as I listened to Daniel Tiger's helicoptering crowd of parents, teachers, and neighbors. No matter if he was at school, home, or on the playground, they were there to sing a warning. Heaven forbid they just scream at him to quit it or rant and rave empty threats, like hot sauce on his tongue or to stop the car and beat people (okay, that was me). No, they not only feel a need to disprove my magnificent parenting tactics rooted in child development (when I find it convenient), but feel a need to sing their redirecting. Oh my gosh. And I had invited these characters in my home and dropped $50 on some little animal people and a trolley.

I was literally too sick to rise from the bed and of course now the remote was missing and I felt like I was being slaughtered. Maybe this is what Hell would be like. Over and over and over again, I heard smug concerned voices singing about being frustrated and I was trapped, already nauseous and now smothered by my children and those voices that I invited into my home were now trapped in my head. This is why I hate TV and technology, yet I depend on something, anything to save me from myself and the people I call my children, after twelve hours of summer vacation. Those long days are not for the faint of heart so I will continue to ignore their crappy shows and muster my strength to encourage Leave It To Beaver and the Brady Bunch. People will ignore me and I will be fine. Perhaps I will encourage Wonder Pets next for Amos and maybe write a letter to Lego. Maybe not.

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