Quickies

Skepchick Quickies 7.26

Amanda

Amanda is a science grad student in Boston whose favorite pastimes are having friendly debates and running amok.

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11 Comments

  1. “There’s also more to raising children than TV, we would hope. But yes, they do watch a lot of it, and there should be some better characters on there for girls to look up to.”

    Kids do what you let them. It is awfully convenient to allow your child to watch what they want and then blame the media for your abdication of responsibility. The world does not exist to parent your child. You parent your child. It is your job to make good choices, not the world’s responsibility to provide only good choices. I guarantee if a large enough fraction of parents guided their children towards better programming the market forces would do the rest. To me the easiest first step is cut the cord. No TV for anyone. Boredom sooner or later will drive anyone to reading. It certainly worked for me as a kid. (It also works pretty well as an adult.)

    1. This works great for the traditional two-parent, one salary home. I think there’s half a dozen of those left in the U.S. (not as sure about the demographics of the UK).

      Two-salary homes often have to rely on some means to keep the kids occupied that doesn’t entail keeping an active eye on them, so that the parents can deal with the other household chores after work. Like it or not, TV fits that bill. Kids given a book or a toy must usually be monitored–they’ll lose focus after a period of time, then go off and do whatever pops into their devious, evil minds. TV holds their attention solidly.

      So at a minimum, for your “invisible hand” suggestion to work, there needs to be at least one high-quality show featuring strong female characters on at all times.

      1. “Two-salary homes often have to rely on some means to keep the kids occupied that doesn’t entail keeping an active eye on them, so that the parents can deal with the other household chores after work.”

        This is weak. If you perceive television to be a harm yet you let your kids watch it anyway you are guilty of a very low-grade form of child abuse. This is fine. This is your choice, but it is *your* choice. Don’t blame anyone else for it. Apparently enough parents give their kids free rein in what to watch that the inmates are now running the asylum. Your children have already decided what is going to be popular. Complaining about it is like not voting, but whining about who gets into office.

        This is also complete bull. I have a brother and sister and most of our free indoor time was spent reading. We were allowed 1/2 hour of television a day or we could save up and watch a whole hour at once. (Woot!) All TV had to be approved in advance. Once that was done we were expected to read or play quietly. Failure to be quiet or complaining about being bored would earn us a chore. This wasn’t punishment. It was just the only alternative entertainment. We got really, really good at entertaining ourselves quietly. According to my mom it is a lot easier to monitor a child who is supposed to be reading. If you hear a noise they aren’t.

    1. PBS isn’t “owned” by the government, either, exactly. It receives government funding, but operates independently of direct government control. PBS provides programming to independent stations (it doesn’t actually own/operate any stations itself)–some of those stations are under local government control, but others are simply not-for-profit stations that pay for the programs via donations and government grants.

    2. Because the BBC maintains considerable independence from Parliament. There are good reason for this (there would be a strong temptation for the party in power to use it as a propaganda outlet otherwise), but it means Parliament has no editorial control over the BBC.

  2. I really don’t understand why people complain about media. If you don’t like it, or want your kids watching it, than don’t watch it. There are many different activities to do, other than watching T.V.

  3. I most certainly think that there should be a greater diversity of girls on children’s programming. Frankly, I like “Dora the Explorer” for young girls. (Although I once got into an argument with some one who insisted it was a subversive attempt to justify illegal immigration in the U.S. :P) I do think, however, we should also be cautious. We should include more diversity, but I suggest we try not to trivialize “girly girl” types either. There are plenty of men and women who enjoy, for instance, dressing in the typical “feminine” style, and “skipping around and blowing kisses,” and “My Little Ponies” and cute frilly pink things. And as some one who likes doing things of that nature every once and a while, I find I often get accused of vapidity and am taken less seriously, which is silly. How about presentation of a huge diversity of girls for children’s programming, that includes girls who are sometimes or most of the time girly but intelligent/ athletic /adventurous etc as well?

    1. Haha, I wonder what exactly could be considered illegal immigration? Perhaps, when in 1492, the indigenous population was systematically wiped out and had their communities destroyed by illegal aliens. I guess it’s only illegal when other people do it.

  4. Thanks for the article on people with disabilities at Comic Con. As a nerd and an occupational therapist, it is wonderful to hear about all the ADA services provided at cons and I hope they can keep up with the demand. Hooray for equal access!

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