Friday, March 11, 2005

Outsourcing Parenting Continues

Everybody seems to be noticing how much electronic media our children are consuming. We now have Hillary Clinton and other members of Congress asking for $90 Million dollars to research how electronic media affects our children.

“We are exposing children to so much media that it is becoming the dominant force in so many children’s lives,” Clinton told reporters.
So it looks like Hillary agrees with me that parents are using TV and other electronic media to Outsource Parenthood.

Generation M
This is all based on a
study by the Kaiser Family Foundation reporting that on average American children spend 6.5 hours a day watching television, staring at Web sites, or using other electronic media. They call the children Generation M.

Most parents have no TV Rules.

This was startling to me. According to the report,
While prior studies indicate that parents have strong concerns about children’s exposure to media, about half (53%) of all 8-18 year olds say their families have no rules about TV watching. Forty-six percent say they do have rules, but just 20% say their rules are enforced “most” of the time. The study indicates that parents who impose rules and enforce them do influence the amount of time their children devote to media. Kids with TV rules that are enforced most of the time report two hours less (2:01) daily media exposure than those from homes without rules.“These kids are spending the equivalent of a full-time work week using media, plus overtime,” said Vicky Rideout, M.A., a Kaiser Family Foundation Vice President who directed the study. “Anything that takes up that much space in their lives certainly deserves our full attention.”
The solution

Let's study the problem some more. What else is there to study? Parents know it's bad they just don't want to do anything about it. They are too busy to be inconvenienced with the media consumption of their children. They want someone else to tell them what is bad so they don't have to make a decision themselves. So our government, always willing to step in to fill the void, will spend $90 million dollars to tell us what we already know. Our kids are "home alone" watching garbage even though the parents are right in the next room.

They will spend the money anyway. The findings will be released. Hillary will give more speeches. They will call for action. The parents will all agree and then go back to the homes shut the door and live life the way they always have. Until parents begin to take their parenting responsiblity seriously all the government study in the world won't change a thing. Any real solution will require the parent to sacrifice their time and life for their children.

Wanted: A Few Good Parents

This will require them to watch a movie before they let their children watch it. This will require them to sit down next to their children to train them about what is good and what is bad. Not just one time but many times. This will require the parent to spend the time necessary to investigate what good and bad means for them before they can teach their children the difference. This will require the parent to make tough and unpopular choices. This will require the parent to become the parent again.


(For more reading see: Don't Control the Remote, and Edwonk also blogged on this study)

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