When I was a kidm I would trudge my way through a full day of public school, and once I returned home I would emotionally inject four hours of television-opium into my system. There were days when I actually lied to my parents about my homework just so I could watch my G. I. Joe cartoons.
It wasn’t until I turned 17 and graduated from high school that I finally detoxed from the t.v. set. And because I was such a coach potato as a child, I’ve tried to instill stronger, better values into my household. We might watch television once in a while — but we’re usually playing outside, or going to soccer practice, or just sitting around drawing, writing, or reading. We haven’t given up television entirely though. Here’s a rough idea of how much TV the kids watch:
1 or 2 hours of Discovery Channel (Per Week)
1 Feature Film (Per Week — BTW: A few days ago we watched a great chess movie, “Searching for Bobby Fischer.”)
1 Episode of “The Biggest Loser” (Per Week — My wife’s guilty pleasure)
30 mins – 1 hour of Animated Programming (Per Week — that’s my guilty pleasure!)
So, in an average week, the kids absorb between 5 and 7 hours of television. (Fortunately we have a digital recorder so we skip all of the commercial content.) According to MediaFamily.org, the average American child watches 25 hours of television each and every week.
So, on the one hand I feel pretty good about my family’s relatively low intake of television. However, many homeschool families have unplugged their idiot box. They have long since shunned their televisions, and perhaps don’t even own one. Oliver Van DeMille, author of A Thomas Jefferson Education, suggest that families remove the television from the living room — if not out of the house altogether. Isn’t it fascinating how so many homes make the television the centerpiece of their main room? Perhaps instead the living room should be a place to read, talk, play board games, and sit and look out the window while the rain falls.
Sounds nice — doesn’t it? Perhaps I’ll wean myself (and the rest of the family) away from television 100%. But for now, every once in a while, I still need that little fix of Spongebob Squarepants.