Hope has come to a conclusion this summer.

TV affects your brain.

NOT in positive ways.

We don’t have cable, but we do have Netflix, and my kids are pretty trustworthy. They’ll tell me if something has kissing, bad language or violence. My kids recognize trash and know they aren’t allowed to watch it.

Over the last week or so they’ve been watching certain shows I’ve deemed basically harmless. My kids love the silly… but are a bit too old for most cartoons, so they tend to choose regular sit-com shows for kids. One is about a toddler and her family – it’s mostly silly and humorous. Another is about some pre-teens and the general silliness and harmless silly trouble they get themselves into. Another is about some gifted kids and the choices they make and their general silliness. MANY of these are even deemed harmless by the conservative site “pluggedin.com”.

After several days of watching these shows Hope came to me at bedtime and was almost in tears. She felt guilty. Her confession: some of these harmless shows are affecting her brain. They’re making her think about boys and girls like they always have to be dating. They’re making her think about their perfect houses and their “stuff” that she doesn’t have. Her confession: she knew her brain shouldn’t be focused on these things, and she couldn’t make her brain stop.

Now I feel the need to put in a disclaimer. We exceed the recommendations of pediatric professionals. They say one hour of screen time a day. But we don’t miss that by much. We are generally around 2 hours/day and not all of that is tv. My kids’ brains are not being messed with because they’re watching tv all day. It’s a show or two per day that is messing with them.

It makes me think of the old commercial:

After some conversation (mostly me asking things like “why do you think it makes you think that way?), and praying with her (mostly her praying things like “I don’t know how to make myself not think about things”) she came to her own conclusions:

1. TV shows are sneaky. Sometimes even the harmless ones aren’t so harmless. They sneak in the trash, hiding it behind humor and silliness.

2. Sneaky shows might be worse than the ones you know are bad. Because you watch them and they get into your head.

3. No more sneaky tv.

Yep, my kid decided, without any limitations set by us, that she needed to cut it off. She decided she wants her head full of good stuff and fun stuff, but not sneaky trashy stuff. So watch out parents, my kid wants you to know that your seemingly harmless show might be a sneaky one.


Lessons Learned