Tuesday, December 05, 2006

An abomination in the supermarket

Have you seen the TV Kart? They have them in the Dominick's store nearest our house. I think they are an abomination. Check them out at http://www.tvkart.com/.

What is a TV Kart? Here is a quote from Cabco:

"Cabco is the world leader in mobile children’s entertainment for retailers. With over eight years experience and millions of happy retail shoppers, Cabco works with some of the world’s largest retail chains.

"Our program is unique and has rapidly become a retailing phenomenon

  • TV Karts are a great service program for retailers to offer customers
  • Parents shop in peace while their children watch their favorite programs, or listen to songs and stories in the Karts
  • There is no cost to, or operational impact on, retailers
  • Real time online remote Management System"
And there you have it folks: have no fear, parents! You can "park" your child in front of a screen wherever you go. DVD player attached to the roof of your car so the kids in the backseat can zone out. TV screen while you shop for food. TV, video games, and computer screen at home.

I understand why some parents want/need to distract their child. Many are seriously stressed for time, working two jobs, dealing with endless money problems, wanting some time to themselves, and so on).

But overall I find this trend of 100% Distraction for both children and adults very worrying. Essentially, we are being trained to be uncomfortable in our own mind. Rather than be left to our own to think about things, to puzzle out problems, to be in contact with and learn from the world around us, we plug into a screen that feeds us compelling images and voices. When this happens we move into a dangerously passive mode. This is bad enough when we are fully grown, but it is truly horrible to do this to children.

So for any parents reading this, I urge you to get rid of the DVD player in your car - and stay off the phone when you are with them. Instead, play games with your kids in the car, sing together, point out things passing by, ask them questions. In the supermarket, ask them about the prices of things, about what they like to eat, show them the amazing variety of veggies and fruits that the world just produces all on its own.

Make sure your children are engaged, curious, questioning. Passive children lead to passive adults, lead to people who are more easily manipulated, lead to further degradation of human society, and increase the likelihood that those with power and money will continue to kill and destroy to get their way.

All because of a TV Kart.

I kid you not.


Chris said...

Nice article, Steven. I agree wholeheartedly - often children prefer imaginative play over being fed entertainment passively. That's what gives rise to those situations where the box is more fun to play with than the toy it contained.... Recently I was looking after my 2 daughters for a morning. I bought them a cheap notebook each and we played at being detectives round town, taking notes and sketching things. Cheap, but effective.

Unknown said...

Judging by your recent blogs, I can only assume you really, truely don't have kids. Though, I completely agree with your comments regarding what parents SHOULD be doing with their children, you should understand this is not always possible. Perhaps in a utopian society, these realizations of yours (I suppose in a small way, mine as well) could be the commonplace. Sometimes, however, at least for sanity's sake, this can not always be the norm. I try to encourage imagination in my children; God knows I really do try. There are times, when I just need a quiet thought to myself. Distraction for this, as well as any of the nearby negative stimuli often in our way is just what the doctor ordered. Until one spends most of his or her waking hours with one's children, one cannot truthfully understand. I certainly cannot spends 12 hours a day, every day stimulating my kids, I don't think any normal human can.