Posted by: Sally Ingraham | February 12, 2008

Turn off the TV – Read to Your Kid!

I spent half an hour walking around Bar Harbor yesterday, buffeted by an extraordinarily cold wind. Finally deciding that I was risking frostbite on my ears, I darted in to Sherman’s Bookstore to use up my last fifteen minutes before work. Walking into a bookstore is always a dangerous thing to do. I usually come out with a completely random purchase, as I did yesterday. I carried a copy of Adbusters, the Journal of the Mental Environment, under my arm.

Reading it proved to be a more interesting way to pass the evening at work than playing Tetris or Solitaire. Adbusters is a Canadian magazine full of weird pictures and scary journalism.

I learned that the number of bipolar kids, suicidal kids, and ADHD afflicted kids in the US has skyrocketed in the last couple of years. It is significant that the average household in the US views 8 hours of television in a day as well. What else is new… How often do people have to be told that letting kids watch too much TV is dangerous to their health?

A woman I know who recently had a new baby told me that she can now understand why parents let their children get sucked into the TV trap. She has found that it is easier to plunk her 3 year old in front of the television, than try to care for both of her children at the same time.

Although sometimes I have felt like I missed out on something because my parents did not allow me to watch TV, I am coming to realize how incredibly fortunate I am. Instead of “plunking” me down in front of a glowing screen, my parents read out loud to me. Once I was old enough to do so, I read out loud to my younger sisters. We can all testify to the value of this experience – for one thing, we don’t suffer from ADHD, are not bipolar, and have never shown suicidal tendencies!

It’s a frightening world out there. I can only recommend that you move to Sweden, (where the average household watches only two and a half hours of TV a day – still enough to cause children to “suffer from social and mental problems”) or save a little money on cable bills and pick up a book!
Up for a Minute
Better yet – go outside. 🙂


  1. It’s cold outside, you know that.

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