I’m just going to come right out and say it. It may be taboo or controversial, but here it is. I regret letting my children watch television and play video games. I started out as a hippie mom from a hippie background. I met the father of my children at an environmental organization. I was, for many years, a vegetarian and then a vegan. (I am slowly making my way back full circle).
But somewhere between saving the whales and preventing toxic dumping, tofu salad and seaweed as a food group, my then-husband became a corporate lawyer, we moved to the most materialistic city on the planet (Los Angeles) were divorced, I moved back East to a sleepy little Connecticut town with my boys, was remarried, and here we are, the kids get straight A’s but are addicted to computer games and television and of course, it is all my fault.
It’s so insidious it makes my head ache. What starts off as a lovely little children’s program becomes, twelve years later, full-on media addiction which replaces outdoor activities, social interaction and boredom as ways of passing one’s life. It’s as if boredom has become the new evil in our land; if the children are bored, they will become depressed, which will lead to anti-depressant medication, so let’s keep everyone entertained and “happy” at all times.
My children have been through the mill and having to deal with divorce, a move across the country and a remarriage are at the top of the list of stressors for any human being. That being said, they have had a tremendous amount of affection, verbal and emotional support, positive reinforcement and genuine love on a daily, sometimes hourly basis and now live in an extremely stable, peaceful and supportive environment. We eat together as a family, we help the boys with all their homework. We play family games of Monopoly and Frisbee and walk the dog as a group, at night, pointing out constellations to one another.
All in all, the kids are fine. Yet their primary objective, once the chores, homework, and other necessities of life are out of the way, is to sit down with their favorite computer game or television show, and let it steal their soul.