As I watch the Super Bowl, I’m reminded of how many kids are going to be up late tonight. Barring wardrobe malfunctions and sexually inappropriate actions, the show itself is probably fine for kids. (Some may even dispute that, citing the sanctioned violence of football.) But I can attest that not only are we a nation whose kids don’t get enough sleep, but whose children also watch highly unsuitable TV and DVD content.
I’ve taught kindergartners who’ve seen the Friday the 13th series, chainsaw movies, and other horror shows. They watch shows with trailers alone that are too horrific for my tastes. Then there are video games with savagery and mutilated bodies. Do we need studies to prove that this kind of content has a strongly negative impact on young minds? When I ask kids about watching these shows, they claim there’s no effect. If I can get them talking, though, the same kids report nightmares and a number of bizarre fears. Until I intervened, one student actually terrorized his classmates by mentioning Chuckie, some kind of talking monster-doll.
Now that we have opened these floodgates, I am not sure we can reverse course as a nation. But families (and schools) can make good choices and support “unplug the TV” days and weeks.