Has it really changed for this generation?

When I was a kid, television was the biggest thing to come to our shores.

In the sixties, a crowd of people would jostle for a spot in front of the shop window to peer into the funny rectangular box with the curved square window. The picture was black and white and had lots of fuzz around. Sometimes you could make out a man or woman having a conversation, or sometimes there was a funny little man with a tiny moustache and hat who walked like a duck while swinging a cane. Sometimes, it just looked like a snow flake in a blizzard.

We thought this was amazing … phenomenal … mind-boggling!

Then the seventies came and along came colour. Wow! Now this was really something! Everything looks so real! A neighbour of ours had their own colour TV, so I made up every excuse under the sun to drop in and see it. I did lots of baby-sitting for them!

 

The favourite expression for parents was to say, “You’ll get square eyes!”

 

We didn’t care; we just wanted to watch whatever was on the box!

I can now attest for the fact that I, and everyone else I knew who watched TV, did not get and have not had square eyes. So that was a fear-based lie. And I think we always knew that anyway because it just sounded so silly.

The real “danger” inherent in all new technology is the TIME factor. It’s such a huge distraction that time just disappears in a moment. One minute you’re sitting there watching a program (substitute Xbox/ Games/ Facebook/ Twitter/ Instagram/ Pinterest/ YouTube/ Google …) and the next thing you know, one to two hours has just vanished in an instant.

The problem with this is that you can never get it back…never, ever again. Time is such a precious commodity and we tend to fritter it away like grains of sand slipping through our fingers.

 

The time lost can be spent doing so many other things; worthwhile things that actually achieve something, like creating a fresh food experience, making a useful tool or decoration, spending quality time with your kids, walking your dog, and, for the students among us, reading, studying and completing homework.

My parents set a boundary for us kids after we put on such a tantrum when the telly broke down, or the power went out and we couldn’t see it. They restricted us to watching it only three days a week – Friday after school, Saturday and Sunday night until after Disneyland was over. Bed time was also strictly adhered to, so an easy punishment was not allowing us to watch a particular program we liked, or reducing the total amount of time we could watch in one sitting – two hours was about the limit.

 

Ah well, back then there weren’t videos, DVDs, Netflix, cable and GOT. But really, what’s stopping parents set boundaries for their kids? It’s still the same, we just don’t like the idea of our kids “Not liking us”. Believe me, they’ll get over it. And if it takes a while for them to recover, then you should’ve set boundaries for them years earlier.

 

Hint: It’s a lot easier to set the boundaries while the kids are toddlers and pre-teens. Do it then because setting things in the teenage years will be a real struggle if they’re not used to it.