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A World Without Technology?

Can your kids handle a media fast? Can you?

A simple rule at some outdoor camps makes them unappealing to a certain segment of today's totally plugged in, technologically connected teens, reports The Associated Press. The rule is no cell phones, iPods, or laptops. In other words, meet the people around you, not the ones you left back at home. And spend time being active. One 17-year-old, Tim Chai, told the AP that the rule was a defining factor in camps he wouldn't be willing to attend.

But what if that same rule were a classroom project? Earlier this month, a class of high school sophomores in Los Angeles was given the assignment to detox for a week. California Academy for Liberal Studies Early College High School teacher Shannon Meyer hoped the assignment would teach her students "something about true connectedness and solitary reflection," wrote Steve Lopez. So, she asked them to write their thoughts about the weeklong experiment.

The students found that they heard birds and crickets. They were bored. One got a haircut. Some read books. They talked to relatives. And Meyer reported that the quality of their homework improved for that week.

Meyer's classroom project is not new. It's something we discussed almost two years ago. In that conversation, CDell asked about what this generation of kids may be losing by being so connected:

But aren't the kids losing important skills that my siblings and I learned on car trips like those, like how to entertain yourself, using your imagination, knowing when it's "quiet time," and just seeing the world outside the car window?

DCer followed that up by by questioning whether kids really needed to learn to unplug, whether we are trying to turn back the clocks to an earlier generation rather than embracing our current digital world:

I think the ability to unplug or to function without Internet access, etc., seems like one of those anthropological jokes. WE didn't grow up with these things so we think our kids should be able to function without them, but they will never enter a world with less connectivity than we have now -- it will only grow, not diminish, so why should it be valuable that they be able to function without a cell phone unless to make us feel like they could function IN OUR CHILDHOOD. In fact, their adulthood will have a totally different kind of connectivity.

Now that it's two years later and our connectivity has grown even more extensive than the last time we chatted about this, what do you think? Does our 24/7 technological world prevent our kids from connecting with the people around them? Is it important to implement even a short amount of time on a daily or weekly basis when all the gadgets are off? Or is that notion antiquated and worthless?

A Request: For a follow-up blog on how technology has infiltrated our family lives, please e-mail me photos of adults on a technology high. See someone caring for a child while talking on the phone nonstop? Send it in. Or parents thumbing their blackberries at the baseball or soccer game. I want those, too. At the park using technology? You got it, please shoot the photo and send it. The more the merrier. Please send all photos to parenting@washingtonpost.com. Tx.

By Stacey Garfinkle |  May 20, 2009; 7:00 AM ET  | Category:  Teens
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Comments


"Does our 24/7 technological world prevent our kids from connected with the people around them?"

There is a word missing from this question...

"Is it important to implement even a short amount of time on a daily or weekly basis when all the gadgets are off?"

Eco - yes.
True connectedness - no.

"Or is that notion antiquated and worthless?"

Yes.

Posted by: jezebel3 | May 20, 2009 7:29 AM | Report abuse

I am research consultant employing a variety of technological resources with little human interaction--a stark contrast to my previous career that demanded a high degree of interpersonal skills.

After 8 years there is a quantifiable difference in my skill sets. One I don't deem as positive.

It is not the 'connectivity' that distorts our society. It is the collective agreement that technology is superior to humanity.

Only when we teach our children to master technology and not allow it to master them can we enjoy a truly good life.

Posted by: lilliasea | May 20, 2009 8:10 AM | Report abuse

everything in moderation.

my kids do not need to master all of the skills i needed growing up. instead of being able to cope with the boredom of calmly watching the fence posts on a long drive, they may need the opposite skill: that is the ability to filter the countless ways they could entertain themselves.

but no matter if it's playtime at the park or just a walk up and down connecticut ave to go to lunch, interacting with people and the REAL world around you is an important part of growing into a well-rounded adult.

instead of parents yelling "turn off the tv and go outside and play", it's "turn off the computer/xbox/tv/ipod and go outside and play" - same scenario, different technology.

Posted by: interestingidea1234 | May 20, 2009 8:22 AM | Report abuse

We have three kids ranging in ages from 2 to 6. We make several long (more than 5 hours) car trips a year with no DVD player. This despite many friends insisting that it is the only way to go. My parents even give us their portable DVD player for trips. We use it if we are staying in a hotel, but refuse to use it in the car. My husband and I are aware that someday this policy of ours might change, but we intend to hang on for as long as possible. We are heading out on a 10 hour drive for this weekend. Am I dreading the long time in the car? Yes, but I would even without kids. Am I worried that the trip will be a disaster? Of course. However, our kids are learning the kinds of skills that will help them in many areas of their lives - self entertainment, communication skills, teamwork - and if that is a little rough on us, so be it.

When I was a kid and we went on road trips it always amazed me that anyone could be bored. Just watching the scenery was interesting. I view the ability to manage without immediate entertainment at all times a skill that leads to independence. Forget, for a moment, the idea that technology removes one from human interaction. Removal of technology for a time allows one to be independent of other sources (including people) and develop into a person not dependent on external stimulus for who you are. A skill even more important today in a world where every stranger is viewed as a threat.

Posted by: cqjudge | May 20, 2009 8:28 AM | Report abuse

After 8 years there is a quantifiable difference in my skill sets. One I don't deem as positive.

Posted by: lilliasea | May 20, 2009 8:10 AM | Report abuse

You can practice interpersonal skills outside of the workplace.

Posted by: jezebel3 | May 20, 2009 8:38 AM | Report abuse

It is the collective agreement that technology is superior to humanity.

Posted by: lilliasea | May 20, 2009 8:10 AM | Report abuse


- really disagree with this point. i don't know anyone who considers technology superior to humanity. easier maybe, but not superior.

Posted by: interestingidea1234 | May 20, 2009 8:49 AM | Report abuse

Removal of technology for a time allows one to be independent of other sources (including people) and develop into a person not dependent on external stimulus for who you are. A skill even more important today in a world where every stranger is viewed as a threat.

Posted by: cqjudge | May 20, 2009 8:28 AM | Report abuse


Independent, huh? What about the "technology" that permits you to take a "10 hour drive"? LOL!

Posted by: jezebel3 | May 20, 2009 8:50 AM | Report abuse

jezebel3-

Do you have any friends?

Posted by: cqjudge | May 20, 2009 8:52 AM | Report abuse

jezebel3-

Please disregard my previous post. It was completely disrespectful. What I wanted to say, but didn't have the time was that you seemed to willfully misinterpret my post. I didn't mean all technology was bad, just that the ability to do without external stimulus is beneficial, regardless of the stimulus that may be available.

Posted by: cqjudge | May 20, 2009 8:55 AM | Report abuse

What I wanted to say, but didn't have the time was that you seemed to willfully misinterpret my post. I didn't mean all technology was bad, just that the ability to do without external stimulus is beneficial, regardless of the stimulus that may be available.

Posted by: cqjudge | May 20, 2009 8:55 AM | Report abuse


I get it. The technology you like - 10 hour drive - is good. The technology you don't like is bad. Can you say hypocrisy?

Posted by: jezebel3 | May 20, 2009 9:02 AM | Report abuse

I don't dislike DVD technology. I love it. I just think it is good to use it sometimes and not all the time. Likewise, I walk or bike to places that are close to my home as much as I can.

Posted by: cqjudge | May 20, 2009 9:13 AM | Report abuse

Technology is not a unitary thing. It has many aspects and technology can be good in some point and bad in another. Technology such as a car gets you from one point to another. For distance travel it is necessary. Entertainment technology is not necessary to make that same trip. No, it is not hypocrisy to prefer one over the other, but is is important to be civil in discussion although some people do not seem to understand that.

Posted by: kdjkdj | May 20, 2009 9:22 AM | Report abuse

I would like to apologize to all reading this post for my uncivil earlier post. It is very unlike me and I am ashamed to have hit submit after typing it. I agree that such things are an inappropriate way to discuss any topic.

Posted by: cqjudge | May 20, 2009 9:31 AM | Report abuse

If you are interested in trying to be screen/tech free, please visit us at www.screentime.org.

This is NOT just for children but for all of us, including people in the workplace, where the Department of Labor has said that US productivity levels are going down due to both obesity and depression (both caused by excessive screen-time).

From September 20-26 we will host TURNOFF WEEK, it is an international effort to connect with real people in real time and space. www.screentime.org

Posted by: RobertKesten | May 20, 2009 9:36 AM | Report abuse

It's a question here of quality of ommunication versus quantity of communication. What is discussed versus how much is discussed? Look at the daily messages we deal with from outsiders. How much of it is fluff or advertising-related stuff that evades the detectors? Are kids talking meaningfully or just to be able to press buttons? We didn't need electronics to cause this to come up. Some print media have long been doing this for years.

Posted by: jdenver4150 | May 20, 2009 9:50 AM | Report abuse

Much of this discussion has been had in the "when do you buy your kid a cell phone" article a couple months ago. Every family has a different tolerance, but I think most would agree that it is unhealthy for a kid to send 10,000 texts a month or spend 6 hours a day playing video games. You know when you meet the kids that haven't learned to interact with real people, much like you know those kids that haven't been taught manners. It jumps out at you.

It might be interesting to be without all the technology for a time (I think there is going to be a new reality show based on this *gag*) but we feel like we have it under control. Our kids can have intelligent conversations with adults and most of their time is spent with actual people, not technology, but we still have an Xbox, kids have cell phones, computer games and cable TV.

Posted by: cheekymonkey | May 20, 2009 9:53 AM | Report abuse

It's a question here of quality of communication versus quantity of communication. What is discussed versus how much is discussed? Look at the daily messages we deal with from outsiders. How much of it is fluff or advertising-related stuff that evades the detectors? Are kids talking meaningfully or just to be able to press buttons? We didn't need electronics to cause this to come up. Some print media have long been doing this for years.

Posted by: jdenver4150 | May 20, 2009 9:54 AM | Report abuse

Apologizing in advance for the snark:
"When I was a kid and we went on road trips it always amazed me that anyone could be bored. Just watching the scenery was interesting."

Ever drive from Kansas City to Greeley? Omaha to Fort Collins? Tucson Airport to Sierra Vista (the town outside of Fort We-got-cha)? How about the Granddaddy of 'em all, Houston to El Paso?

Seriously, on some drives the scenery is very interesting. On others it's just awful boring. It never changes, hour after hour after hour. And when five of you are all crammed in to a Renault Dauphin (one of the 10 worst cars of the 20th century), the view inside the car can be worse.

Technology, baby! Gimme technology. I can survive 15 hour flights from Chicago to Hong Kong better if I have entertainment; the kids can survive many hours in a car better if they have entertainment, too.

Posted by: ArmyBrat1 | May 20, 2009 9:56 AM | Report abuse

I notice the difference in behavior with my kids when they have excessive screen time. The rule at our house is no screens at all during the week - - no TV, no DS, no computer, nothing. It's amazing how much my son has taken to reading since this rule was imposed - - AND how much both of my kids play outside. Now if I could just apply it to myself . . . . http://lipstickdaily.com

Posted by: ElaineatLipstickdaily | May 20, 2009 10:14 AM | Report abuse

We travel every year in a 1976 RV with two kids, now 9 and 11, and have since they were born. They have never needed DVD players. They do have MP3's because the RV has an 8-track (no longer working;-) ) These trips are generally 2 weeks, and about 1500 - 2000 miles. When the scenery is boring - we own a home in Colorado and often hit the Neb./Kan corn field thing, they read, play games/Barbies/puppy in my pockets... They now have now bought their own DS's, which I refused to buy for them. They only play with them when we are in corn field land, but often look out even while playing. The question is not tech or not, but, as always, moderation in all things.All skill sets are valuable if used correctly. Dependency (beyond age related) is generally not good.

Posted by: inmyopinion2 | May 20, 2009 10:18 AM | Report abuse

"they read, play games/Barbies/puppy in my pockets... "

Tee hee. What is "puppy in my pockets"?

Posted by: jezebel3 | May 20, 2009 10:24 AM | Report abuse

That stretch through Iowa is certainly not the most interesting I have seen, but I have done it. I agree with the moderation mantra. My main disgust with the DVD in the car is that most people who have it rarely limit its use for those 10 hour trips through the American Heartland. It's turned on for the 20 minute drive to the birthday party or whatever. I would rather avoid long dull trips until the kids are older than risk falling into that category.

Each family knows their limits. I just prefer to stretch what those limits are, rather than avoid anything difficult.

Posted by: cqjudge | May 20, 2009 10:30 AM | Report abuse

I don't mind a little TV, video games, or computer, but when the weather is beautiful, I want my kids to play outside and interact with the other kids in the neighborhood. They have so much fun when they do this and are much more talkative about their adventures than when they sit in front of the TV or computer.

When it comes to long car drives--I am so thankful for the double screen DVD player. Even then, there are times we tell them to turn off the DVD and color, read books, look at the scenery, talk to us, etc.

As a kid, I would have loved the DVD on our 9-hour drives from Houston to Oklahoma City. Now that is boring scenery.

Posted by: SilverSpringMom1 | May 20, 2009 10:41 AM | Report abuse

I don't think the technological "enhancements" are necessarily bad, but it is good to mix it up from time to time. Keeps everyone fresh. My siblings and our families have done a car-camping get together for a week every summer for several decades now and I was surprised to see how our kids have been happy even without all the TV and video games etc. Well we aren't totally without them, some bring in their gameboys or ipods but end up not using them a lot. Oh sometimes we have one kid who wants to sit out in one of the cars and listen to music. But mostly the kids find ways to have fun, each year there seems to be some spontaneous made-up game that arises. Far from suffering through it, the kids all look forward to the camping trip (my son calls it the highlight of his year!). So even though we are about as into tech toys as anyone else, we tend to enjoy the different environment at least once a year, I think it does your mind and spirit a lot of good to have a variety of experiences.

Posted by: catherine3 | May 20, 2009 10:45 AM | Report abuse

I agree with the everything in moderation group. I don't believe in DVDs in the car. I grew up in the midwest and we drove EVERYWHERE - Kansas is a looooong state. That said, I did develop the ability to tolerate boredom, to wait when necessary and be alone with myself. While the kids did fight, we also talked as a family, sang songs and enjoyed each other's company and learned to take turns with radio selections, basic accomodation of others.

I've said this before, the worst outcome of too much tech. is the inability to be alone with one's self. You cannot know who you are, truly without ever having been quiet with your thoughts. It does appear that there is a certain validation that comes from the texts or facebook or whatever. If an experience isn't shared it seems less valuable.
Fo us the point of vacation is to take all of us, mom and dad included, away from the stuff and noise and enjoy being a family. If everyone is going to be watching their own things or communicating with people who aren't there, then you might as well stay home.

Posted by: moxiemom1 | May 20, 2009 10:48 AM | Report abuse

I will bring a DVD on a long flight (over 3 hrs) simply to ensure that my kids don't take away from the comfort and enjoyment of other passengers.

Posted by: moxiemom1 | May 20, 2009 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Hi Jezebel:

I've been thinking way too much about technology and society lately and here's what I think.

Some of the confusion between you and cq is that there are people who still regard technology as a means to an end (a necessary evil) and those who regard technology as an end in itself.

Those who regard it as a means to an end think you can use technology but that you're still in control and that ultimately you can choose not to have technology change the character of the relationship between the participants (texting my sister with the directions to where we're meeting vs. texting to build a relationship).

Others believe that technology necessarily creates a different type of community -- IT ends up driving the train, not the subjects. This is the logic that causes companies to want to set up myspace pages and twitter us about soft drinks. Here using technology necessarily changes or even creates the relationship between the subjects. (And if this were a conference I'd tell you what Foucault would have to say about cybermentality)

I'd wager that cq is in the first category, and that's why she wants to pick and choose her technology -- because she believes that ultimately it's her, not technology, that is driving the train (or the car, as the case may be.) I think a media fast is a way of reestablishing the fact that we USE technology; technology doesn't have to shape us. (sorry for the length of the post . . )

Posted by: Justsaying4 | May 20, 2009 10:55 AM | Report abuse

I think a media fast is a way of reestablishing the fact that we USE technology; technology doesn't have to shape us. (sorry for the length of the post . . )

Posted by: Justsaying4 | May 20, 2009 10:55 AM | Report abuse

Gibberish.

Posted by: jezebel3 | May 20, 2009 11:15 AM | Report abuse

great points, justsaying4.

Recently I've limited myself to an hour a day total of online time, because I recognized that I was spending WAY too much time on random boards that have no meaning to my actual life. It's been good to free up my time for things that matter.

It's disturbing when online strangers come to mean more to people than their real-life friends and family (ie, the teen who killed herself over an imaginary boy's rejection of her).

This brings up all sorts of existential questions about what is reality and how do we know what's real and what isn't...

Posted by: newslinks1 | May 20, 2009 11:56 AM | Report abuse

"A Request: For a follow-up blog on how technology has infiltrated our family lives, please e-mail me photos of adults on a technology high. See someone caring for a child while talking on the phone nonstop? Send it in. Or parents thumbing their blackberries at the baseball or soccer game. I want those, too. At the park using technology? You got it, please shoot the photo and send it."

Those who send in pictures should take self portraits.

Posted by: 06902 | May 20, 2009 12:42 PM | Report abuse

@jez - There wasn't a word missing. You just misread it. It should, however, be written "from connecting" not "from connected".

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | May 20, 2009 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Four years ago we gifted older son with a portable DVD player (with a second screen for younger son) for use on *long* road trips. It's probably been used a half-dozen times. Last trip where he had permission to bring it, he decided that he didn't want to. And we had a great trip.

OTOH, when we go visit my sister - out in the country, no cable service, very poor broadcast TV (unwatchable), no internet service - younger son is happy to spend time with his aunt and four-years-older girl cousin, and to help with all the farm animals. If more of the extended family is joining the throng, older son usually retreats to his aunt's bedroom with a big screen TV and her collection of videos, and the only way to drag him away from the screen is offering to saddle up a horse - he *loves* riding - or *ordering* him out of there. It seems to be neurological, overloading his autism-limited senses with too many people. And my family can overload and overwhelm me too, so I'm mostly sympathetic.

So, technology rules sometimes, and sometimes it doesn't.

Posted by: SueMc | May 20, 2009 1:15 PM | Report abuse

I think it is useful to consider human evolutionary history in this discussion. Humans evolved over millions of years and always in primarily outdoor environments obviously without the kinds of technology that kept us from each other. Direct in-person social interaction has been integral to who we are at a fundamental level. If that gets too thoroughly replaced by virtual communication, it is bound to have negative consequences.

Posted by: WorldCup | May 20, 2009 1:17 PM | Report abuse

FairlingtonBlade and Jezebel: There was a word missing this morning. I usually re-read my blogs around 7 a.m. and fix mistakes I see. Jezebel just posted before I did that.

Posted by: Stacey Garfinkle | May 20, 2009 1:52 PM | Report abuse

There can't be a world without technology. Only good parenting can help kids face life realistically.The plain truth is that if kids are not taught good values and discipline in particularly our troubled society,how can they function as expected.Our educationnal system is partly to blame as well.

Dan Chell

Posted by: danchell | May 20, 2009 2:23 PM | Report abuse

cqjudge, it's interesting that you have the no dvd rule. i have found on the 8 hour drives to tenn that we used to do that the dvd is watched maybe for 4 hours & then that seems to be it. i find that the dvd is good for really long movies like the sound of music, mary poppins, chitty chitty bang bang or my fair lady. i'm not attacking you but do you listen to the radio or tape player? why would you think the radio better than a dvd player? we have books on tape & we listen to those or we sing along with who ever is playing.

Posted by: quark2 | May 20, 2009 2:55 PM | Report abuse

We're what you'd call either the "urban Amish" or "semi-unplugged." We don't have the latest technology like an MP3 player, iPod, Wii, or HD TV, and what services we do have such as cable or Internet service are down-to-the-bone basics-expanded basic cable, no digital or premium channels, and dial-up Internet access. Our cars don't have DVD players for road trips, and we're not getting them either-the kids can look out the windows the same way we did growing up. Toys don't need batteries, and entertainment for them consists of going outside to play or reading books, or watching classic movies or television DVDs such as Fraggle Rock or Magic School Bus.

Are our kids deprived? No. Are they enjoying themselves? Yes! Does it bother us that we're not "keeping up with the Joneses" as far as technology goes? No way.

There's a big difference between enjoying technology that is actually useful to our lives (cars, computers, telephones), and allowing the latest technology to take over our lives (DIY checkouts that actually work SLOWER than the checkout lines occupied by real human beings, DVD players in the car, even texting and Twitter instead of face-to-face conversation).

To all the people who are doing just fine without being attached to technology such as Twitter or DVD players on trips, more power to you! I don't have an account on Facebook or MySpace, and part of that is because between raising kids, keeping hearth and home, working our vegetable garden, volunteering at the firehouse, and even trying to fine-tune my craftwork enough to make a business out of it someday, I just don't have the time!

Posted by: dragondancer1814 | May 20, 2009 3:15 PM | Report abuse

What's really amusing (to me anyway) is the ugly misuse of the word "technology".

Using a fork to eat is technology. The wheel is a technology. If you want to discuss consumer electronics or digital networks - be specific.

Otherwise, statements like "technology rules" or "can there be a world without technology" or "she wants to pick and choose her technology" are ridiculous.

Posted by: 06902 | May 20, 2009 3:24 PM | Report abuse

So Dragondancer, you have cable TV (which by definition is digital by the way), a home DVD player, and internet. You equate the amount of programming (number of channels) and the quality of delivery (low def or low speed) with these particular technologies being somehow less invasive.

You don't have a Facebook account, but are perfectly willing to digitally communicate with strangers on a WashPost forum.

You take car trips, but you just don't layer on an extra technology (in a place where it would actually be less of a "waste of time" than watching the same movie at home).

Your distinctions are just fine enough to be fooling yourself that your somehow immune to an imaginary digital takeover of your life. Congrats.

Posted by: 06902 | May 20, 2009 3:35 PM | Report abuse

06902 - were this my senior thesis your concerns regarding the appropriate use of the term would be valid. For the purposes of our casual discussion here, I think everyone knows that we are using the term technology to mean the more recent electronic advances and not cutlery.

Posted by: moxiemom1 | May 20, 2009 4:16 PM | Report abuse

Mox, given some of the distinctions being made (car radio vs. portable dvd, cable tv vs. broadcast tv, automatic checkout lines vs. ?), I'm not so sure everyone is on the same page.

Posted by: 06902 | May 20, 2009 4:57 PM | Report abuse

yeah, 06902, i'm with you. there's a certain amount of reverse snobbery in dragondancer's post. they watch dvd's but only "classic" shows. so 10 years from now they'll allow their kids to watch this season's tv episodes because by then it will be "classic".

dragondancer'll change hizzer tune about being "urban amish" when s/he discovers that those tools are necessary to build a business. some of the amish do just that. they hire somebody who runs the computer & the modern stuff for them so they can compete in the modern world.

Posted by: quark2 | May 20, 2009 5:11 PM | Report abuse

ignorance is assuming that all current technologies are isolating. talk to someone who spends a lot of time playing world of warcraft and he or she may well be the person exhibiting the best social skills you've seen lately. If he's in a guild, he understands how to work with a team to achieve a goal.

Who would you hire? the person with an opinion about technologies she's never used and games she's never played waxing on about the "classics" (I'm with quark - classic probably includes Mork and Mindy at dragondancer's house) or the person not intimated by new technologies, comfortable with a wide variety of people, who knows how to assign action items and get the task done? This is not a close call, kiddos.

Posted by: anonfornow | May 20, 2009 8:07 PM | Report abuse

Can't help but add in a comment made by Douglas Adams. He claimed that "technology" is something that doesn't work properly yet. Ages ago a chair was technology until it became well known how long to make the legs and how many their should be and so on. A century ago the (now) simple telephone was technology. As these things become so common place that they have no errors anymore, they are no longer considered to be technology.

I think that is the best explanation I have ever seen to explain what people mean when they are talking about "technology" versus other modern conveniences.

Posted by: cqjudge | May 20, 2009 8:55 PM | Report abuse

we've had the discussion/disagreement re: dvd in the car.

We didn't buy a car with built in, cause we didn't think it was needed. We bought the DVD player before the first really long road trip because...well...the world is SO MUCH DIFFERENT today than it was years ago.

We had no car seats. We had three rows of seats and we would sleep on the seat, or go in the way back, or go elsewhere, or be able to play with each other, or whatever. Today, there are carseats. Kids aren't allowed to move. They have to stay put. So, um, what do you do? I know, you should be able to entertain yourself, but you can't even play a game with a sibling, cause of these seats. So that's what the deal is with us.

Realistically, tho - we try to tell the kids all the time, turn off the TV/computer/video game. When they do, they can easily entertain themselves, but it is a part of our world, and well, they do do those things.

Posted by: atlmom1234 | May 20, 2009 10:08 PM | Report abuse

06092-we use the basic cable and Internet services partly because they're less expensive than the digital channels and DSL, and partly because they work for us. There's not much on regular cable that we like to watch anyway-sorry, but I don't find "American Idol" or the sitcoms of today to be very entertaining-the jokes and one-liners on today's shows aren't a patch on the family values and good humor shown on "The Cosby Show," "The Golden Girls," or "Home Improvement," for example. For modern entertainment and educational shows, there's always shows like "Dirty Jobs," "MythBusters," and "How It's Made," all of which my kids and I enjoy. Don't even get me started on the language and sexual content that's considered family-friendly!

And regarding the low-def and low-speed quality-why should I replace something that works just fine? Our old TVs and computers haven't crashed yet, so there's no need to replace them. When they finally keel over, we will. Again, part of the why-replace-what-still-works ethic. Replacing things like that that still work is wasteful, not to mention expensive, and in today's economy it's not a practical approach.

I don't have MySpace or Facebook because I don't spend much time online, having other things to do. Also, commenting to a blog post is an entirely different thing than spending time online talking about every little thing that goes on in your life-some people spend HOURS online every day, completely oblivious to the real world going on outside their desk! In its own way, it's just as addictive as drugs or alcohol, and just as toxic to relationships. How is posting a comment, then going offline similar? It's not.

Regarding DVD players in cars, I, like many other people on here, prefer that their kids look at the world outside the car windows than watching movies in the car. What's the big offense there? Car games are still good fun, and depending on where you go, the views can be unforgettable!

Speaking of views, would you rather I let my kids play video games or "veg" on the computer all day instead of playing outdoors or reading at home? Thanks, but no thanks!

And quark2, there's a big difference between computer programs that help you run a business or organize your home finances (isn't that what ledger books have been helping with for decades?) than things like video games, MP3 or iPods, Blackberrys, texting constantly on cell phones instead of actually talking to each other, and watching movies in the car instead of looking out at the scenery around you.

And to those who think I'm badmouthing entertainment technology that I've never tried, let me tell you I have experimented with the new video games and watched the new shows-it's an overrated experience.

Posted by: dragondancer1814 | May 21, 2009 3:03 PM | Report abuse

dragondancer, you're still not seeing the humor in your post. don't you realize that when golden girls or home improvement was on tv there was somebody just like you not allowing their children to watch because those shows weren't as good as the "classics" like the prisoner or some show from the 60s.

why is reading a book better than reading the same words on a screen? oh, yeah, that's right. one is healthy & the other is vegging out in front of a computer & therefore bad.

Posted by: quark2 | May 21, 2009 5:05 PM | Report abuse

Actually, my parents did let me watch shows like that because of the non-trashy humor and the family values present in them.

And reading a book is better because it lets your mind wander and picture where the characters are and what's happening to them. I've heard it said more than once that reading a book is akin to taking a vacation inside your head, and it's no joke. Imagination is a wonderful thing-it can be changed at will, it's not subject to power failures or system viruses, it never needs batteries, it costs nothing to operate, and it can be utilized anywhere.

How is sitting at a computer better than playing outside or doing other things such as playing games, reading books, or making arts and crafts? Have we as a society become so dependent on modern entertainment via the TV, portable music player, or computer that we are incapable of taking a car trip, sitting around the house, taking a walk, or enjoying recreation time without them? It's a scary thought....

Posted by: dragondancer1814 | May 22, 2009 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Puppy in my pockets are little tiny dogs you play imaginative games with. That, to me, is the difference between electronics and other entertainments. Books, toys, arts, etc require you to be active and use your mind/imagination. While some computer games also are challenging intellectually, most tv/movie/computer entertainment is passive and does not engage children in the same way. OTOH, computers etc activate other areas of the brain. Neither is evil, just serve different purposes. On a rainy day camping, it's nice for the girls to have their DS's to play quietly in the upper bunk after a few hours of cards and games.

Posted by: inmyopinion2 | May 22, 2009 5:24 PM | Report abuse

you've never watch kids playing a ds. when they're all playing the same game they're negotiating with each other, communicating strategies back & forth just like they would be doing if it was a board game. if it's a board game it's ok but if it's electronic it's bad.

i didn't realize that when i was reading a book on the computer that i wasn't able to let my mind wander just as if it were a physical book. i didn't realize that the mere fact that the words were on a screen rather than on a page that it inhibited my mind from being able to picture where the characters are & whatever other stuff you spouted. really?

yes, arts & craft and all that other stuff are good but computers & electronics are not bad. everything in moderation. it's your absolutes that i question.

Posted by: quark2 | May 27, 2009 4:28 PM | Report abuse

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