The Boob Tube

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The American Academy of Pediatrics released a report that 90 percent of children under two years of age watch television regularly … and by regular they mean two hours or more per day.

This can’t be good.

It reminds me of the apparatus the Riddler invented to drain the brains of Gotham’s fine residents. Think about it for a second… 9 out of 10 toddlers are getting two or more hours of programming a day.

Though it sounds so wrong I can see how it’s easy to happen. Parents are tired, they’re paying bills on the net or waiting for the pizza deliveryman or talking on the phone and plop the kid in the playpen in front of the tv or strap them into their portable carrier/carseat/stroller command center and turn it to face the pretty pictures and before you know it baby John Doe has absorbed about 90 minutes worth of quality tv in one sitting.

When I reminisce over how I learned to count to 10 in Spanish with the Sesame Street’s Count, I often find that my brothers and I watched a lot more tv growing up in comparison with my friends. But then, we were ages 3 and 5 and watched about 2 hours per day — Sesame Street, the Electric Company and sometimes, if we were lucky, Wild Wild World of Animals.

When I think of childhood, most of my memories are set outside — playing kickball or “Mother May I” or tag or searching for “ancient” Indian burial grounds or walking through various parks and zoos. I grew up on a cul de sac and would often ride my bike or climb rocks or pick flowers or play games like 4-Square with the other kids in the neighborhood. The only time we’d scatter is when one of the big dogs would break a chain and run loose.

When we were forced indoors because of rain or a blizzard, I’d read one of the library books or write letters to Santa or play a highly educational board game like Operation or Battleship or Connect-4.

If I wanted to be alone, I’d color or create illuminated masterpieces on my Lite-Brite.

Though I’d hardly call the alternatives I grew up with high-brow, all these babies sitting in front of the tv for hours and hours just can’t be good.


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