April 27, 2013

In-Car Entertainment Screens

Let's face it, screens are part of 21st century life. In our homes we have several screens per occupant. There are screens at the airport gates, at the post office, at banks. Most of us have one in our pocket. And of course, they are in our cars.

It used to be that you needed a first class ticket on a long-haul flight to get the on-demand entertainment displayed on the screen built into the seat in front of you. But now all you have to do is step in the family car and grab a back seat, where the screens are bigger than the one on the dashboard.

Photo Jørgen Larsen

It's a fantastic thing, especially on long trips. You can keep the kids quiet in the back seat for hours. No need to sing with them, or talk to them, or "bond", or any of that touchy-feely stuff. And you don't get distracted by hearing them talking and laughing together. In addition, you save them the great trouble of exercising their imaginations in the quest for a game that you can play using what you can see on the road.

If you can afford it, get the independent screens: that saves them the hard work of learning how to negotiate what to watch; if you isolate them well enough they never need to learn how to share, and those delicate skills of give and take would be lost on them, anyway. They say skills like that are good for such things as career advancement and marital happiness, but where are the studies to prove that?

When they get bigger, upgrade to the game consoles so they can continue their gaming all the way to the school gates, where you have to flush them out of the car so they make it to class on time. The goal is to get them RSI in their thumbs as quickly as possible, so you can start taking them to doctors and physical therapists, whose waiting rooms will also have a screen on.

Those games are good for them: the fast violent ones increase their reaction speed, which will make them feel more confident when it's their time to take the wheel. They'll be able to tear down the road faster than anyone else, because they can deal with it.

They don't need to see the beautiful country you're driving through. Heaven forbid they are seized by a desire to conquer those mountains by their own feet, to go laughing down those rivers on tire tubes, to feel the sun and sand on those beaches, and explore the tidal pools. For stuff like that you have "nature" documentaries you can watch, on-screen.

And your children will look so good with those eyeglasses; they would be right on trend. There is an epidemic of near-sightedness sweeping the planet, especially in those places where children spend a lot of time focusing their eyes on nearby things, like books. And generally where children don't play outside enough. Why should they go outside? Nature Deficit Disorder, linked to obesity, ADD and other disorders, is part of modern life, and you should be happy to facilitate that for your children.

DUDE: April 29 - May 5 is Screen-Free Week. For the sake of your children's health and happiness, toss the screens.

Trust your children to find to find their way, even without these pacifiers. Let them live.


[Shared at Reduce Footprints, Green Sisterhood and at Simply Natural Saturdays]



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  1. Great post! It seems that it is so hard to find any time away from a television or a computer screen these days without making a concerted effort! I don't have children yet, but when the time comes, there will definitely be designated no TV/Computer time each day!

    1. Screens are so addictive! Sort of like sugar - but that's for another post. And it's so good for you to stay away and let life happen.

      Earlier this year, we have put internet-free Sundays in place. It's like the sun suddenly started to shine on Sundays.

  2. Oh I love it ... count me in! :-)

    1. Great, SF - as always, thanks for your support!

  3. Interesting... Looks like the predictions in the 1981 book by Joel Garreau "Nine Nations of North America" came true. Parents, you should read it (If you haven't) it's a great book.

    1. This really looks interesting and apt, I'm going to look for it in the library, thank you for the pointer!


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