During October we are surrounded by visions of vampires – costumes and advertisements and TV shows. But have you considered that vampires are with us every day of the year in the form of energy suckers?
Basically an energy vampire is an electrical product that cannot be switched off completely unless it is unplugged. For example a cell phone charger, if left plugged in, will continue to use electricity 24 hours a day. I found a list of the biggest energy vampires which are: TVs, window air conditioners, computers, video game systems, microwave ovens, and power tools.
Granted, most products go on “standby power” but when you consider all the electrical things in your home, it adds up fast. So how can we defeat the vampires?
The surest way is to unplug anything not in use. But that can get cumbersome so an alternative is to fight the energy vampires with power strips. Plug TVs, video game systems, DVD players, etc. into a power strip. Then flip off the power switch when done. This is way easier than remembering to pull lots of plugs. Get another power strip and do the same for all the chargers for cell phones, tablets, and computers.
Enlist the kids in helping find and fight the energy vampires. Have a little fun with this and train the whole family to “flip the switch” and “pull the plug.”
Listening to the podcast and reading the blog I wanted to make sure that we had more opportunity to really think about the thoughts and ideas presented so I am bringing back Donna’s 3 points. Again – you may not necessarily like these suggestions but I want to dive in a little deeper…
- Really pay attention to what you and your child watch on TV. Reality shows are popular but research points to the fact relational aggression on these shows far too common. Being mean is shown in a glamorous way for someone to “win” or become popular.
- Next take a look at yourself. How do you interact with other adults in your home? What does your child hear and see? Does she hear you talking “mean” to each other? Does he hear you gossiping or making snide remarks about people? Children model what they see in the home.
- Tune in to your child’s group of friends. Is it a group of kids that practice relational aggression? Are they children with low self-esteem or do they think they are “hot stuff”? Either way, help your child learn how to stand up to the mean behavior.
When you look at these suggestions and watch the children around you (yours or others) what are examples that you may have seen (in your children or others’ children) that show these points to be true?
How have you seen acts of relational aggression handled in a way that positively impacted the situation?
We may decide to blog about this topic all month if you would like…
Dare I confess I remember the day our family got its first TV – black and white and big enough to take up a whole corner of the living room. We watched sitcoms, variety shows, westerns, and baseball games. Some of that programming would now probably be deemed politically incorrect and inappropriate for children to view.
That said, two practices are still relevant today. We watched as a family (one parent always in the room or nearby) and none of us kids had TVs in our bedrooms. TV viewing was a family affair, not an individual pursuit.
Today is a different time but parents still get to make the choice of how television is used in their homes. I listen to parents talk about how there isn’t anything to watch on TV even though we have hundreds of channels. They also complain about how much TV their kids are watching or what they are watching.
So Mom and Dad – time to put TV guidelines into place for your family. Sit down with your kids and together decide how TV will be used and when it will be watched. Maybe you don’t need a TV patrol in your home. But you do need discussions to arrive at a comfortable plan that fits your family’s values.
I might also add that your kids are watching you watch TV. They see how you use it for leisure, education, or background noise. They notice how much you watch and its importance in your life. Are you modeling what you want your kids to do also?
The University of Michigan Health Systems has some excellent information about television and children. Check it out at: http://www.med.umich.edu/yourchild/topics/tv.htm
While you’re at the site be sure to also read A Guide to Managing Television: Tips for Your Family. http://www.med.umich.edu/yourchild/topics/managetv.htm
Which tip do you want to try with your family?
I am a product of Sesame Street. Yep, I counted with the Count and ate cookies with Cookie. And deep down I’m probably still in enamored with loveable furry ‘ole Grover!
According to this month’s podcast there are 34 years of research that shows I very likely went to kindergarten having ‘learned’ from Sesame Street! Knowing that tv truly is ‘teaching’ our children can be both exciting and frightening at the same time. This month’s podcast addresses how we can sift through what our children should and shouldn’t watch on television.
As I think about what my children might be learning from tv, I think most about all of the different channels available. I only had three options. Don’t get me wrong, I love all of the different programming options available. My girls and I enjoy several of the nature and real life types of shows on various channels, but have also watched the cartoon-y children’s programs. We like the options!
Do I limit what they watch – yes I try my best. Are there times that they may be watching something less than stellar in my opinion? Absolutely. As I was listening to the podcast I appreciated the recognition that different channels may have both ‘good’ and ‘bad’ programming. That one channel may not be all ‘bad’ or all ‘good’. The bottom line was that I needed to pay attention to the different programs, watch them for myself and then determine whether it would be something I should let my girls watch.
What types of characteristics do you look at when you determine whether or not your children should watch something?
Parents need to know what their kids are watching on television and steer them toward the “good stuff.” Learn how to determine what the good stuff is — listen to this month’s Science of Parenting podcast.
ISU Extension materials
From the Science of Parenting Blog