A lengthy post has been growing in my mind about the recently release Kaiser study that shows just how awful U.S. teen media/electronics consumption has become. And by “consumption,” I mean how many hours a day media/electronics are consuming our kids, not vice versa.
Well, Mike Lanza over at Playborhood just saved me the trouble of writing out my thoughts. I encourage you to take a look at his full post. He’s a clip…
… those of us parents who grew up with no Internet, no video games, no cell phones, and four boring channels of TV are left to wonder, “How will this electronic media saturation affect our children?”
We are left with a very real possibility that our kids will be more comfortable with mediated, virtual worlds than they are with the real world.
This is where I draw the line. It’s a religious tenet of mine, in a way:
“THE REAL WORLD IS PRIMARY. NO OTHER ALTERNATIVE WORLD IS AS IMPORTANT IN ANY WAY.”
That’s my limit, not total saturation of every hour outside of sleep or school. So, in other words, I define my media limit not in terms of total hours of exposure per day, but in terms of the real world skills my children have.
For instance, being able to hold a 15-minute conversation with another person is far more important for my children than chatting with others online. Building a fort with cardboard boxes is far more valuable than building a “Sim City” in a video game. Playing a baseball game is far more valuable than watching one on TV…
Thanks Mike… your post saved me a chunk of time that I can now use with my kids in real time and space… maybe we’ll read a book or work on their snow fort.
What’s your favorite book or song or other creation that celebrates neighborhood life? Hard to beat Sesame Street of yore.
Burlington’s Fletcher Free Library just got The Big Orange Splot, a children’s book by Daniel Manus Pinkwater (1977, Scholastic Inc.). Gotta love a good kid book about neighbors, difference, and taking initiative. Groovy illustrations too. My ten-year-old loved it… we’ll see what his siblings think of it next.
Some comments to this post can be found on FPF’s FaceBook page (what, by the way, does FaceBook have to do with books?)