My favorite television channels have always been stations like The Discovery Channel, The History Channel, The Learning Channel..etc., but as time progresses this type of quality family viewing has been falling off. What’s disturbing is the material that is replacing this programming—Reality TV! I have to ask, whose reality are we viewing and why? The Learning Channel has moved so far away from their namesake that they had to rebrand as TLC! Their entire line up is a compilation of reality television: America’s Worst Tattoos, Toddlers and Tiaras, Honey Booboo, Breaking Amish…etc. If this is learning, count me out!
With the number of channels on the air, you would think there would be something for everyone—including parents who get tired of saying, “No, you can’t watch that!” or “Turn that channel!” Instead, I find myself having to be ever more diligent of removing the amazing amount of entertainment pollution being created today.
I think the best protection against mass media’s contribution to an eroding American value system is to provide children with better things to do than watch television. If we don’t watch it, advertisers will not sponsor it. It is really in OUR hands. Now that television is digital, each station can get real time data about viewer behavior. That means every time you turn the channel, you are sending a message directly to the station manager. Yes, you have never had this much power before.
So next time you are watching something just because there is nothing better to view, turn it off. Send a message that you have had enough! Let’s get back to taking family walks, playing games, reading books, talking. The real Learning Channel is at home and it begins with us.