Thursday, April 26, 2012


I have a confession to make.
I have been allowing my children to watch an increased amount of television over the past couple weeks.
The fact is I am usually quite a technology critic.  We have our screen-time ticket system which continues to be a very successful method by which we can maintain limits on our kids’ technological media consumption.  Why do I think such limits are important?  Well, here are a few of my issues with media:
1)      Screen-based media simply wastes so much time.  According to the 2011 ActiveHealthy Kids Canada Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth, youth today spend an average of 6-7 hours per day in front of a screen.  My kids are awake for only 13 hours a day! 
2)      Potential for imagination, focused attention, and language skills can be lost due to reliance on media entertainment (read Neil Postman or Jane Healy for more on this). 
3)      I believe that advertising aims to encourage greed and promote inaccurate perceptions of reality and unchecked exposure to this will impair character development.
But here’s the thing:
It’s NHL play-off time.  And the Tapper family can be found, most nights sometime between 7 and 8, watching some portion of a play-off game.
Now, it is time for me to share my justifications of this behavior:
1)      This is not isolated screen-viewing.  All six Tappers are in this together!
2)      We live in Canada, where snow will fall at least 8 months out of the year.  When you are faced with such conditions, finding enjoyment in things related to ice is very important.
3)      We make the children do exercises during the commercials.  You think I’m joking?  No, I’m not.
4)      We supplement our viewing with educational exercises such as art projects and mathematics. :) (Yes, our downstairs hallway is serving as a giant play-off bracket, complete with daily scoreboard updates, team logos, and each child’s game prediction markers and stat sheets.)
Yes, I’m a bit conflicted on the whole thing.  But one thing I do know: This PA girl will keep cheering, “Go, Flyers, Go!”

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