Thursday, September 7, 2006

Book Review - The Plug-in Drug

While we were doing our TV Challenge, I found a book at the library called The Plug-In Drug by Marie Winn. It was originally written in 1977. I read the updated version from 2002. It is quite an interesting read. Some of it is a bit frightening, though.

She talks about how parents use the television as sort of a sedative, to get a break from child care. They become dependent upon using it, and soon it begins to disrupt their lives. They know there is something wrong with this, but most are not willing to get out from under it. In this way, she compares television to a drug.

The book is filled with study upon study that prove the negative effects of television on young children as well as school-age children. I liked that the author doesn’t stop there. She seems to understand why parents use television as a babysitter or a bribe, and offers solutions such as a TV-Turnoff, strict rules about television, time limits, and keeping TVs out of the childrens’ rooms.

This book should be read by all parents. When you finish, you may not want to throw the TV out the window, but I think you will have a more realistic, honest view of what television does to your family.

As for us, we have cut down our television use to about an hour a day. We are still playing around with the schedule, however. I am thinking that longer programs might be okay some weekends. Peanut has yet to request a show, though I told her she could watch one a day. Junior has had more of a problem with the limitation. He watches his program first thing in the morning, then he is out of time for the day. I have allowed a little computer time, though, while Peanut is doing school.


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