Saturday, February 12, 2011

No television is good television

Siblings. Some of us have them, some of us don't. I happen to have six of them; two brothers, four sisters. The oldest is like, 34; the youngest is 9. It's the youngest of them that inspires today's post.

Part of using the family minivan means chauffeuring younger kids around whenever they want to go to a friend's house. Melanie* just had to get to this other kid's house as soon as possible; my mother demanded that I drive her. Being the obedient, loyal, loving daughter that I am, I whined until I was forced to relinquish my constant facebook access (I'd already been forced out of my room at this point). I use Melanie to get a few extra minutes in while she begs my mom to allow her to take a Wii game with her. My mother refuses, and then kicks us out. Wearing my boyfriend's sweater, gym shorts, and Melanie's flip flops which miraculously fit me, I drag myself out to the van and somehow manage to get her inside of it after 3 minutes of locking and unlocking the door. You know how when you try to open it and unlock it at the same time, it doesn't work? Yeah. 

Finally, we get to the girl's house. She lives a bit off the beaten path, and her grandparents live next door. Melanie gets out and notices that the grandmother's dog has wandered into the friend's yard. 9 year old collects the yappy thing and hauls it over to the other house, a good 100 yards away. I am content with petting the friend's HUGE chocolate lab, after trying to convince Melanie to ignore the yappy dog. Finally, she comes back and asks me to call her cell phone because she's dropped it somewhere along the way. Thinking this wouldn't take more than 5 minutes, I didn't bring my phone.

We search. There are three dogs running around. Dog presents everywhere. It is cold, I am underdressed, and these flip flops are not my friends. Since when does a 9 year old need a cell phone? Since when does a 9 year old need anything that's electronic, except maybe a game console? Kids these days are being taught materialism and consumerism at such a young age, it's gross. Ten years ago, I played my brother's N64 and with Barbie dolls and I read books. This friend of Melanie's? She's been held back a grade, has a cell phone and a facebook account, and I don't think she knows what a book is. Melanie has trouble putting words in alphabetical order, for crying out loud! When did the social hierarchy of 8th grade trickle down into these elementary kids? 

The public school system doesn't need to sell anymore cookie dough. We don't need winter formals,   spirit week, or pep rallies. We need kids who know how and like to read. Kids should be able to do simple math, write papers, and form grammatically correct sentences. One of my favorite hobbies is to find the profiles of 12 year olds and send them to my college age friends; the writing style is always the same, and they always say the same thing. More than half of the kids we encounter sound like they copy and paste their "about me"s, and they are all equally poorly written. Here's an example:

Got a problem solve itt cuz i wont waste my time with u kaaye ? thankks buhhh bye .

WHAT DOES THAT EVEN MEAN?

How do we get cell phones out of their hands and put books in them? I'm afraid that Bill Nye and the Magic School Bus will no longer captivate these kids who have been saturated with dramatic television like the overly glorified Teen Mom mess. The only thing I know to do is to make sure my own children aren't as exposed to the sickening media induced plague effecting today's youth. 

There's a lot more I want to say about today's media and what kind of entertainment is being thrown at children, but I'll go more into depth on that later. 

*I don't think my mother would appreciate me putting out info on my nine year old sister, so names have been changed. 

20 comments:

  1. Absolutely agreed. Don't worry TOO much though, my nephew is an avid reader and fantasy series like Harry Potter (even if it IS inferior to LotR) can keep kids hooked on literature. There are some diamonds in the rough. However it is overwhelmingly depressing to see kids being turned to idiots by garbage television and their grammar decimated by cell phone use.

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  2. It's good that you have such a large family, I lost my parents when I was young. I admire that you are so close with them.

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  3. Thanks for this info, I never really knew anything about television until now.

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  4. This is the level of stupidity they talk about in Waiting for Superman.

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  5. Lovely writing. Some things may seem strange to you but that's evolution. Technology is a great tool for humanity but it can destroy us if we don't use it properly.

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  6. I agree children are getting swept up into devices.. Maybe someone will manage to make some type of show that has an educational value but is also entertaining to the youth of today

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  7. Hilarious story about your sister. Also acutely aware of the scenario where you "open and unlock" at the same time... always ends in disaster. Here's hoping for a better future for all kids (hopefully they can learn to write better at some point in time).

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  8. i wouldnt say no to TV all together, as it can be usefull, but little is good.

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  9. once you go Magic School Bus, you don't go back. Beep-beep. new follower

    http://underratedfilms.blogspot.com/

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  10. Some dude on tv said that tv is the devil's box. A bit of hypocrisy but true.

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  11. AGREED. It's all absurd. I'm glad you said it.

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  12. I completely and totally agree with you. Kids don't need iphones! Sometimes I feel like the rest of the world is slowly going insane.

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  14. I really like your post, it says a lot about the american education systems inadequacies. That being said, I think the kindle and other electronic books are an amazing way to get literature to children and many people. It combines new wave electronics with reading and I think it could simultaneously grow the book market while making people read more.

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  15. Wow, your oldest sibling could be the mother/father of the youngest.

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  16. Im pretty much tired of tv. I dont even own cable anymore. Its so depressing to watch. Crappy news coverage. Stupid reality tv. Horribly scripted show. sigh

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