Television and Children

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6 Responses

  1. kar says:

    “My son and his friends volunteered without any prodding that they could see the effects of television on their friends who indulged in that vice.”

    Well, I agree with your larger theme, that tv has insidious effects. But surely you don’t believe the kids offered this without any prodding! The whole separate track is prodding! Kids are not stupid, they understood that the no tv track was “better” and they echo the social commentary of the parents who set up the separate tracks in the first place. Now both the parents and the kids may be correct in tehir perceptions, but the idea that the kids offered this insight independently stretches credulity. Anyone who has ever been a kid remembers offering such “insights” calculated to win favor with parents whose biases and expectations are well understood.

    I make this point b/c you point to the downside of elitism and separation from the general culture – a willingness to consider oneself superior, to look for the negatives on the other side. I would not want my kids to have a tv or watch much, but I’m not sure I’d let them join a “more spiritually rarified” track in a two-track school either. Arrogance and selfcongratualtion that can result from considering yourself on a “spiritually superior track” is not necessarily any better for the soul than exposure to tv or salty language.

  2. Ori Pomerantz says:

    The problem is not television. It’s bad television. If you restrict your kid to watching DVDs, and only get them educational DVDs, television can be a good influence.

    So far it seems to be working in my family, but since the oldest is not three yet, I don’t know how it’ll work when the kids are older.

  3. anonymous says:

    I’ve seen kids from what used to be Toras Emes’ Yiddish Track and they are sometimes wilder and more misbehaved than the kids from the regular parts. It has nothing to do with Television.

  4. Akiva says:

    There is some truth in all the comments I’ve read tonight, but I disagree with the general gist of them. I’ve heard that I’ve been further challenged on other blogs, and I’d like to write a defense. Actually, I think that some of the people have been so affected by TV that they can’t tell what damage it does—either that or they have very guilty consciences and are trying not to face reality. My comments on the quality of kids in both classes were not, I think, said to impress my parents, although I can understand why people said that. I disagree with the concern of elitism; I think that although there was tension between the two classes, it wasn’t one sided. Most of the kids in the ‘television track’, although there were many exceptions, displayed no real desire to put effort in their Gemarah studies, but to the contrary, they ridiculed and put down the kids that did. This past year in school, when Toras Emes combined the classes, the subjects of conversation in my classroom changed drastically. Among the favorites were movies, last night’s big show on cable, and girls. Needless to say, there were some kids who were very happy with the new arrangement, and I saw some kids with great potential being swept away into a world they had never known before, their efforts no longer in learning. And if you are looking for the top kids in the grade in terms of middos, they can usually be found at the top of the non-television track. Aside from the issue of the damage TV does in what’s displayed, boys are much more likely to be learning b’chavrusah in their spare time if they’re not worried that their sedder will coincide with their favorite show.

  5. anonymous says:

    Akiva, coming from someone who watched T.V. and did not go to Toras Emes as a child, I see the way that the kids from the so-called “Yiddish track” interact with the normal kids, and it is all based on the individual. There are some guys from the so-called “Yiddish Track” that now watch movies, talk about girls, music etc.. and there are bochurim that didn’t go to the Yiddish Track that are masmidim in High School and don’t care for that stuff whatsoever. It doesn’t depend on one’s exposure to T.V. as much as it depends on the individual’s up-bringing such as the way his parents influenced him. It is perfectly normal to see a person who can learn a lot and well, yet watches T.V.

    (I was the anonymous from comment 3)

  6. Jew Speak says:

    Anybody who has taken an honest look at the reports will have no doubt of the effects of TV. Lawrence Kelemen produced a terrific article on the subject: At the bottom of that article there are more resouces such as the article published by SCIAM / Scientific American on TV.

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