Wednesday, February 18, 2009

TV, Television, the Tube, Flat Screen?

Well, whatever you call it at your house, a TV is a TV. It is a box filled with images and sound some good and some bad...a few weeks ago on Modern Molly Mormon, Military Molly wrote a post about TV. It got me is the bulk of my comment to her post with a few additions:

"It is so easy to get sucked into the tv. It is an easy and cheap (free if you don't have cable)babysitter. It is an easy and cheap way to sit back and relax. It is addicting. It is fun. It is an adult voice during the day of a stay-at-home mommy. It is definitely way too much a part of my life. Any kind of noise is way too much a part of my life.

Just today I realized that as soon as I jump in the car with my toddler the radio gets turned on and we don't talk. He sits in the back seat in silence and I sit in mine with a few words sung here and there. So as we were out and about running errands today I turned it off and we know in the way that a mommy and an almost two year old can. We pointed at things and noticed things along our way. He jabbered and jabbered.

As we kept driving I asked him a question, "Do you want to keep talking or do you want to listen to music?" Now my little boy loves music but he said, "Keep talking." So we continued on our radio-free adventure and enjoyed each other. It was a great teaching moment. Not from me as the parent to my son but from my toddler to his Mommy who needed to be taught.

Finally I wanted to share the quote that we have on top of our tv. It is a great reminder to only watch programs that are good influences so that we don't allow the bad or the temptations of the world to entertain us:

"If we entertain temptations, soon they begin entertaining us!"
~Elder Neal A. Maxwell

What a great challenge it would be to turn our tvs off and be more in the here and now rather than sucked into some fantasy world that is, more often than not, of the world."

Her post was great and the conversation that followed in the comments was great as well (If you would like to read her post, click on the link at the top of this post).

One of the quotes she shares in her post is so powerful and so I wanted to share it here:

“Again I say, leave it alone. Turn it off, walk away from it, burn it, erase it, destroy it. I know it is hard counsel we give when we say movies that are R-rated, and many with PG-13 ratings, are produced by satanic influences. Our standards should not be dictated by the rating system. I repeat, because of what they really represent, these types of movies, music, tapes, etc. serve the purposes of the author of all darkness.”
-Elder H. Burke Peterson

What a bold statement that a lot of the media out there is "produced by satanic influences" and "serve the purposes of the author of all darkness". It is scary to think that we often are allowing satan to be our entertainer. We are allowing him to keep us company, to make us laugh, and to fill our minds with his filth. We must be so careful to not allow the rating system to determine our standards but allow our conscience and our personal standards to do so.

In the For the Strength of Youth Pamphlet it outlines what our standard concerning media should be:

"Whatever you read, listen to, or look at has an effect on you. Therefore, choose only entertainment and media that uplift you...Do not attend, view, or participate in entertainment that is vulgar, immoral, violent, or pornographic in any way. Do not participate in entertainment that in any way presents immorality or violent behavior as acceptable."

What a perfect reminder of what our standard should be.

Here are a few other great talks about the effects and the influence of tv in our homes:

M. Russell Ballard, “The Effects of Television,” Ensign, May 1989, 78 - In this talk Elder Ballard shares alarming findings from research studies of the effects of watching more than two hours of tv a day and the significant changes that would take place if the time spent watching tv was less than two hours daily. It is very interesting and eye-opening.

Controlling the Media’s Influence in Your Home - This is a great article found in the Liahona that shares a list of questions you may want to ask yourselves and/or your children about your television habits.

I am as guilty or more so than most of you. So I challenge you and I to turn off our TVs and do something of greater worth and value. I challenge us to find more worthwhile things to fill our time with and to fill our children's time with. I also challenge us to notice the types of shows we are watching and determine if they truly are uplifting us or not.

Finally, I challenge us to change this stat within the walls of our homes:
"American children and adolescents spend 22 to 28 hours per week viewing television, more than any other activity except sleeping. By the age of 70 they will have spent 7 to 10 years of their lives watching TV."-- The Kaiser Family Foundation


SUPPORT said...

Great post!

Our Loved-up Family said...

Thank you so much for this post. I'm turning it off right now and taking my baby out for a walk!

Sarah from

pam said...

You are such a good pick me up!

Dianna said...

This is a great post! We hardly watch any TV ourselves, but I let my little son watch too much. Even an hour or two of PBS each day, while not exactly evil, isn't the best use of his time. I've been trying to cut down lately, and I find that he has a better attention span and that he is generally happier. When he watches too much TV, he's only happy when it's on.

I used to watch a lot too, when I lived at home with my parents. I don't miss it at all! I'd rather be reading.

Pokemon said...

Thanks for all of your nice comments.

I am still struggling along with the turn the tv off bit. Lately it has become a bit of a habit in our home. Morning cartoons on PBS (I agree with you Mrs. Mordecai, even that needs to be lessened)and then in the evenings we like to watch Wheel of Fortune and then sometimes the tv remains on for Jeopardy. On a "bad" day it can be even worse than that. Uggh!

I'd love to hear some of the fun things you stay-at-home moms do to both get things done around the house, feel productive, and participate in worthwhile activities with your little ones. Hey even activities you do in the evenings as a whole fam.

Although I generally have things I could be doing I think I often turn the tv on because I am feeling bored.

Any suggestions for fun more worthwhile daily activities would be appreciated!

Lori said...

When we moved into our home we decided we didn't want the tv to be the focus of our home. For a while (before kids) we had a room that our tv was in. Now it is in the unfinished basement. So, it's inconvenient for us to watch tv. We occasionally watch a movie for entertainment together, but I really don't know the last time we watched a tv show. And the funny thing is, it's become such a way of life with us that I don't know how people have the time to watch tv. It seems like it would have to cut into something else in my day. Anyways, it took us time to get to this point, but I'm very happy without those influneces in our home.

Dianna said...

I think finding constructive activities I can do with my son and still get the work done is my biggest challenge right now. I've written about it recently here and here--I'm trying hard, but it's hard to stay ahead of a two-year-old: they're constantly wanting something new, and it takes creativity.

The biggest thing I have discovered lately is to let him help me even if it takes three times as long and makes a huge mess. It takes patience, but it can be fun and we're both happier.

Anonymous said...

Ok, I'm not a stay at home Mom in either sense of the term... I am not a parent, nor am I a woman, but I want to comment anyway.

I really enjoyed this post and endorse everything shared (in fact I will probably post a link to this in the near future).

I used to be a TV addict and allowed TV to suck every available moment of attention I had to offer; it was bad. I would watch for hours and when I finally turned the TV off I would be so mad at myself for wasting so much time and I would feel horrible inside. I did not realize until my mission that the horrible feeling I felt was the spirit being grieved and trying to teach me that TV was not a wise use of my time.

Like Lori, my wife and I decided we did not want a TV to be the primary focal point in our front room and we have placed in in an inconvenient location. We also decided we do not want cable in our home and have not since we have been married. For me personally, having TV in the house would be like a recovered alcoholic having a stocked mini bar in his house; it would just be too tempting.

The Lord is clear in his direction to us (particularly in the Doctrine and Covenants) that idleness is not acceptable before Him. In D&C 68:31 the Lord says "He is not well pleased with idlers among inhabitants of Zion."

Should this be interpreted as you throwing your TV out and never watching it again?... No, that's probably a little extreme, but we should reflect over how we are using your time, because the way that you use it is important to the Lord. Take the issue before the Lord in prayer and ask if you should make any alterations in the way you use your time.

Thanks again for the post,
Colby S. Johnson

Pokemon said...

Wow, I am loving this nice conversation we are having here. Thanks for all of the wonderful comments.

We've had a good day today in regards to tv watching. I am in no way going to go cold turkey and have none but so far it has been one episode of Sid the Science Kid (while I got ready in the morning). I am grateful because my son really really likes the educational shows. But other than that no other tv. We've had a day of the museum, cleaning, and playing together. Yea!

Thanks again for all of your insights.

Kami said...

I was blog surfing when I came across this post. I loved it! At my house we have the TV on from morning to night even if no one is watching it. We always have noise in the background and too often we get sucked into just lazing around and zoning out. We even keep it on during dinner instead of making conversation. Sigh.

Thanks for the wake up call on TV. I need to start turning it off once in awhile. Little by little. We could be doing so much more!

By the way you have a very cute blog!

Pokemon said...

Mrs. Mordecai,

Last time I checked the comments for some reason I was in a hurry and didn't click your links. They are wonderful posts.

I've decided that I need to be more consistent. I seem to go on kicks of giving my toddler tons of attention to not so much. Or kicks of not very much tv to way too much tv.

Thanks for your posts!

Mandy said...

I was blog surfing last night and came across your blog and loved this post. It is a great post! I didn't have time to comment but wanted to so I added you to blogs I follow. THanks for reading Tucker's story!!
I turn the TV on in the morning for breakfast and catch Sid also and have my two boys watch it so I can exercise and shower. It starts our day every morning. They have learned some good things from it but there are some mornings we really should just shut it off. We too have our TV room where it is inconvenient. We don't watch anything else. I don't even know what is going on in the world sometimes. We watch a movie almost every friday night or Saturday. That is about it. We have never had cable and really don't want to get it for fear that we will get sucked in.:) So we just haven't done it. We are so use to not having it that I too don't really know how people watch it and get things done also!! I really liked this because my husband has wanted to get cable because we are going digital but Now I am going to have him read this and hopefully he will remember why we don't have it!! :) Thank you so much!!

Anonymous said...

I used to LOVE having the tv on at all hours! My husband traveled for weeks at a time and I loved having another adult voice, keeping the kids busy, and not feeling so alone at the same time. I noticed that I also never got things done and was always upset when the kids didn't let me have a few minutes of me time watching TV.

We later moved and my husband changed jobs. We decided to place the TV under our bed where it was a pain to get to. We had tried watching less and just kept getting back in to the habit of too much. For about 10 months I would think of it occasionally and miss it. It got better with time.

Finally the other day me and hubby at a ward function. Several people talked to us about shows "we just had to see" or made comments about things they had seen recently on TV. A few of them were on BYU Tv, but most were not. I had this feeling of, "That's so sad that they don't realize how much they are missing by spending their time with the TV instead of other ways." FINALLY I realized I was so, so, so Glad we had given up TV.

I dug the TV out about 2 weeks later to let the kids watch a movie (special treat, and I just really had to get some things done by a dead line). It was a childrens movie I had always thought was clean and cute. I was floored by how many times there were subtle things that were VERY inappropriate for a children's show. I finally turned it off. I am so grateful finally having my spirit enlightened to how much junk I was allowing in my home without realizing it!