You’ve just come home from work, you’re stressed out, you sit down on the couch even before you change your clothes and pop open a can of beer. You see two people screaming in front of you and your eyes start to close as you observe a group of people watching the two fight. The words coming out of the mouths of these two people fighting is enough to cause a nuclear explosion over Hiroshima. Your daughter walks through the living room and shuts up the two fighting people (and the glazed-eyed audience) by turning off the television set. By then, however, you are fast asleep, recapturing the pictures on television in your mind, which causes you even further stress and anxiety.
It seems like Americans have, in the past few decades, allowed their media intake to control them, instead of being in control of media intake. The visualization of the daughter shutting off the television set seems like a radical thing for a young person to do, but the only reason she did it was because she is sick and tired of being around people who do nothing but fight in school all day long, trying hard to re-create the Jerry Springer Show on the campus. Even your spouse is sick and tired of it all, since family meals are consumed with the latest airhead deed by Miley Cyrus, Justin Bieber, or Lady Gaga. Most sane people don’t want to hear about that sort of thing during a time dedicated to peace and happiness. Once you finally do discover time to remake your lives so the media does not control it (most likely at that family dinner table), you can only hope your family does not rebel too hard in your plans to gain some semblance of sanity back in your lives. While this may seem like a daunting task, it can be done easier than you think, and can even save your family money.
The television is the first thing that comes to mind as soon as the word “media” pops up in any conversation. Limiting television time is ideal but if programming quality is poor on every cable channel, you can make a democratic decision to cancel your subscription. Extended cable packages are expensive and can cost money that can be saved instead of wasted. Make sure the family agrees about this; video rentals are a better option and frequently much cheaper. Keep quality in mind when you do rent videos for the family. Avoid anything with excessive cussing and violence. You don’t have to stick to Mary Poppins, either; try some of the sword and sandal movies from the 1960’s for good entertainment.
Magazines and newspapers are another income eater, even if you do not subscribe to them. The average cost of a magazine is $4.00 in any newsstand or drugstore. Forget about bringing a tabloid past the front door; they are usually full of misinformation in addition to scandals, things nobody wants to hear about.
Music is another serious issue, especially with the younger generation. Both rap and hip-hop are full of vulgarities and violence (also known as “The Two V’s”) that kids really do not need to be exposed to. Compact discs, radio, and music online all play a major role in our everyday lives. Introduce your kids to the music you grew up with, and maybe one of your children will become a major fan of Von Flotow.
Once your media intake is under control, you and your family can use that time to do activities together that allow for communication and personal growth.