The Kaiser Family Foundation recently came out with this study; Generation M2: Media in the Lives of 8- to 18-Year-Olds. The Results were staggering.
- Kids spend more than 7.5 hours with media—TV, iPods, and the Web, plus another two hours on their cell phones, per day.
- Families communicate an average of 40 percent less when the television is on.
- Heavy media users reported lower grades and happiness levels.
Slaying the media-dragons in our home is an ongoing battle. As the children have gotten older, we’ve gone from battling the TV to warring against cell phones, Facebook, and video games. (Not in that order!)
As the matriarch of our home it wasn’t long before I realized I was plugged in a lot, and when I looked around, it was clear we were battling a fire-spitting media-dragon—our television.
When I stopped to think about it, there were days I gave more of my undivided attention to it than any of my four children combined. It was my daily drug of choice, taking me to far-away places, allowing me to peek inside homes I prayed were more dysfunctional than ours, and taught me more about great white sharks than I cared to admit. Yes, I loved my TV. I couldn’t imagine living without it.
Unfortunately, what was originally created to add a small slice of entertainment, fast became the media bully on the block. With my full consent, I allowed it to take center stage and become the biggest time-stealer in our home.
We unplugged our television two-and-a-half years ago. It’s been the best decision we’ve ever made. Sure, we still watch a family DVD together with a big bowl of popcorn, but the constant white noise is no longer distracting me from what’s really important, my family.
Electronics were created to make life easier. Instead, they’ve become time-consuming beasts gobbling up any extra moment in our day. Since unplugging the kids are doing even better in school. Books are seen in the hands of my kids now, and their test scores are soaring. Have I mentioned the greatest advantage? Our home is once again a sanctuary from the storms of the world. Peace reigns once again.
How about you? What fire spitting media-dragon are you battling?
Unplug and kill it today.
Read Wall Street Journal article “Your BlackBerry or Your Wife?” and Yahoo News article “Unplugged Teens Find There is Life After Electronics” for more interesting stories about family’s like yours who’ve unplugged.