Unplugging The Uhmmm TV Generation

“How can a society that exists on instant mashed potatoes, packaged cake mixes, frozen dinners, and instant cameras teach patience to its young?” ~Paul Sweeney

My dad called us the “Uhmmm TV Generation” instead of MTV generation. He said that MTV was turning our brains into mush.

When I started teaching I noticed that my students learned best if I switched it up, kept it moving – all the time. My lectures turned into 30 second sound bites strung together.

My own children seem to get bored easily, yet don’t know how to entertain themselves. They rely too heavily on their computer, television and xBox to fill the void.

I think it’s time for another “Unplugged Weekend.”

18 Comments

Filed under How We Roll, Observations

18 responses to “Unplugging The Uhmmm TV Generation

  1. angelcel

    Oh this is so current. I saw a discussion recently and a contributor said that they had done away with TV in their house. As a result, their young son had became an avid reader, far ahead of the rest of his class. Unfortunately he was also becoming isolated from his peers – head in a book during break time and unable to chat about what was on telly.

    Have you also noticed the pace at which youngsters speak now – mumbling, tumbling over and combining words? No enunciation. Research has shown that cartoons, in particular, (because of the sheer pace of them) are reducing children’s ability to concentrate and speeding up their speech patterns.

    It’s definitely a good idea to unplug ‘the box’ now and again.

  2. Boy, do I remember that part of teaching! Trying to figure out how to constantly shake things up and capture their fleeting attention. Well noted.

  3. Our big fancy TV broke well over a year ago. It was primarily used only for movies. We finally got around to taking it to the shop this week only to find out the repair cost is so high it would cost about the same to buy a brand new one. We’re going to go a little longer without. Now we do things like eat dinner together in the dining room and talk rather than eat in the living room with our food in our laps and our attention on the TV. I have to say, it has been a nice change in our lives.

  4. ck

    Does an unplugged weekend count if you just plug in for an hour in the morning so you can sleep in while they, you know, don’t sleep?

    No?

    Damn.

    (I hate it when you’re right.)

    • You’re too funny! AND you caught me! I was going to suggest an unplugged Sunday to my husband for this weekend but then I remembered that it’s the season finale of The Amazing Race. In searching for a loophole I thought of have a full 24 hours unplugged beginning, say, at 7pm Saturday night? Think it’ll fly?

  5. We’re going to do a no-TV week this summer. Yikes. But we’re doing it. I need it too.

  6. Unplugging is such a great idea. When my oldest son was about 9 and just he & I were living in a small duplex on my small income I couldn’t afford cable TV (& where I live no cable means no shows at all) – I honestly think that’s part of the reason he and I are so closely bonded. We didn’t sit and watch TV at the end of the day, we communicated with each other, talked, played video games together, or went somewhere. And when we were Jonesin’ for TV, we’d just watch a movie on the dvd player, or have a Buffy the VS marathon and then talk about it. I’m so happy for those times, and will always cherish those memories..

  7. I agree. Even with my high school age students- they get bored sooo easily. It is physically and emotionally draining to keep the entire day action packed for them. TV, video games, etc. have done a lot to these kids. Now everyone has ADD.

  8. I can agree with all this. Tv is so accessible and too easy. Unfortunately, I don’t have time for tv. My son doesn’t have the patience for tv. For some weird reason he craves human interaction… and attention. It’s weird. I beg him to watch tv so I can get stuff done. (Okay, I really don’t. But some days I’d really like to…. !!!)

    I guess it’s a good thing to go without tv. My husband bought a big screen, and it’s so going to waste… hardly ever gets used. I told him to not bother with getting cable, because we just don’t watch it. If there’s something we really want to see, we just download it on the computer. Ask me how often that happens… go ahead and ask. I’ll tell you: I haven’t even figured out HOW to download, it’s that often. There’s something called the real world that exists out there, and wow, it’s like, 3-D or something!

    Have a happy tv-free time! 😉

  9. We quite often give our younger daughter a tv ban if she’s been naughty, but it’s normally more of a punishment for us parents. 😀

  10. Looks like that sweet pup is all in favor of an unplugged weekend. =>

    When we turn the television and computers off, just hunker down with good, old-fashioned markers and such, I find I feel so much calmer and less frazzled. Doesn’t mean I don’t miss “my shows” and “my blogs,” but the break is so refreshing. Enjoy it (and the Amazing Race)! =>

  11. Have you heard the Black-Eyed-Peas song, Generation N.O.W.? Your post reminds me of it.

  12. I must confess that if being “unplugged” meant giving up my computer for even a day, I would be very tense and not happy. But still I spend a lot of time gazing out the window or sitting outside and enjoying nature, the birds and small critters, the way the light hits objects, and so on. It makes me sad that my grandkids seem to see little of this. Or to care about seeing it.

  13. I’m an avid proponent of books, but not at the expense of other activities…TV and Internet included. There must be some level of balance for a child to benefit from the positives of all these things. I do think family meals (without TV) are one of the most important things we can do with our kids.

    One thing I find interesting is that since the onset of the Internet, studies say people in general can’t concentrate as well when reading. Internet reading is mainly scanning pages for information, reducing the ability to concentrate and comprehend.

  14. Enjoy being unplugged (however long you end up deciding to make the electronic hiatus :)). And boy do I know what you mean about having to switch things up every so many minutes for students’ short attention spans … I think it’s good to keep things dynamic in the classroom if it increases engagement (have to get students’ attention first before anything else, right?), but how then do we cultivate students’ ability to stick to something that’s not easy to stick with (like reading a chapter in a textbook and really taking in the information)?

  15. A good friend of mine recently told me, “Boredom is a gift.” I was telling her how uncomfortable it made me when my kids were bored and whining at me or fighting. What she said really made me think. I was always feeling like boredom was a bad thing that I needed to cure. But in fact, she made me realize that all kinds of creative ideas cannot emerge unless we’ve had a chance to be bored. I still feel uncomfortable when my kids are bored and bothering me, but I just keep telling myself that I am helping them to become creative geniuses. Ha!

  16. Oh yes. My 12 year old would ask to play on my cell even when we are just waiting for a server to come over and take our orders at a restaurant. Or on a 5-minute car ride. I often wonder whether I’d turned on the DVD player on our way to say the grocery store if we had one of those decked-out vans. One related issue that bugs me to no end: My kids would refuse to go out and play when we stay at a hotel. Seriously? We’ve come all the way so you could watch the Disney Channel? Ugh.

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