Saturday, October 22, 2011

Media, Media Everywhere

I am sick of not being able to go anywhere without some giant screen facing me.  You'd think with so many people super-glued to their smart phones, there would be less of a need for ginormous, loud, obnoxious televisions infiltrating every formerly quiet area.

Be prepared.  I am ready to step up on my soapbox.  If you are not in the mood for a rant, you might wish to politely stop reading and wait for a less frustrated post.

Still with me?

First, I want to say that I don't hate television.  In moderation, it is a fun diversion.  However, I feel extraordinarily frustrated when my children and myself are being bombarded with it constantly.  They don't need to watch a video in the doctor's waiting room.  They don't need to see an endless commercial loop at Wal-Mart.  They don't need to watch TV during a rare trip to a restaurant.  And they certainly don't need a screen with video games set up at the library.  The LIBRARY!  Jeesh.

My children should be able to behave and amuse themselves for a few moments.  Worst case scenario, they can actually talk with me while we wait.  I really don't mind.

I am absolutely against TVs in the car.  There.  I said it.  I know I am in the minority here, but I don't want one at all.  Even if it was in the budget, I'd say, "negatory, good buddy."

Airplanes are a different story.  Children have the potential to annoy numerous people who paid hundreds or thousands of dollars to sit in a near-fetal crouch and wait eagerly for hours for a 1/2 can of Coke in a plastic cup.  By all means, do whatever is necessary to avoid agitating everyone at 30,000 feet.

But in your own car, they only annoy your own family.  And that is why we go on family road trips, isn't it?

Yes, I have been on road trips with five children.  I have been in a moving vehicle for 12 hours a day with my children.  I have listened to, "He's touching me." and "How much longer?" in the most cringe-inducing whine imaginable.  I still don't want a TV in my vehicle.  Or individual video games.  Or smart phones that can do just about everything except useful stuff like laundry. 

What better way to get family conversations going than when there is nothing else to do and no escape at 55 mph?  How many opportunities do we have to have for distraction free time together?  Except for the driver, of course.  He or she should most surely stay distracted from family time and instead focus on other cars, curves in the road and flashing lights. 

One of the best road trips ever involved us driving four children (all under age 8 at the time) from Branson, MO to Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN in one day.  My kids had no other option than to play with their nearest sibling.  They had a handful of quiet toys, and they used their imaginations.  Kids still have those.  Really, they do!

Which brings me to last weekend's adventure.  We had a few unscheduled scenic routes on our mini-vacation.  Okay, we got lost.  The kids weren't idyllically playing quietly in the backseat.  They were annoying each other and me.  Obviously, we "are not there yet" if the truck is still moving.

Then I explained to my children about the Oregon Trail.  Yes, the five month odyssey that families went on in the mid 1800's in search of a plot of land and a chance at back-breaking manual labor.

If my children were on the Oregon Trail westward, they would be loaded up in the wagon (if they were lucky enough not to have to walk) for months at a time.  The wagon was bumpy, dusty and hot.  There was little room to move.  They would have nothing to do, except work, for days and days at a time.  They would be thirsty constantly with nary a slushy to parch their throats.  And they would be lucky if they didn't die from smallpox or cholera.

In light of that, I think my kids can survive a few hours without television in the car.


Mike and Katie said...

Totally agree. So much screen time is disasterous for relationship building.

My thoughts about all our interconnections to through media and electronics: "Helps you stay connected to people far away often at the expense of those who are right in front of you."

Jennifer P said...

Utter and complete agreement. Our CD player even broke halfway across the country last year and we manage to get along.

When they get older and move to the front seat with mom, there is wonderful heart connections that happen.

Joining you on the soapbox!.

Jennifer P

Anonymous said...

SO TRUE!!!! I am against those DVD thingys in vehicles but alas, ours came with one built in! However, we cannot be forced to actually use it! It has, I admit, been used once in a great while on longer trips when I am out-voted. Aarghhh....