I saw a patient the other day who had the television running. We did the visit as expected and towards the exit time, the patient mentioned the television with the question, “what would I do without it?”
I supplied a one word answer – “read.”
I contemplated this little exchange later and it occurred to me that the television has been the single greatest divider of family activities and active minds in the past several decades. It was originally advertised as the “family time” where everyone would get a chance to enjoy some presentation as a family. Advertisers realized over time that they could appeal to smaller groups of specific individuals and make advertising sales accordingly. This led to dividing the viewers of shows and hence the originally advertised family time.
Reading is a decidedly solo activity, however, there are games. Board games are an inclusive activity that can be done with the kids and be useful as teaching moments. The loser gets to learn how to behave in such a situation as well as the winner learn the proper behaviors. All participants learn to interact according to known rules. I consider these much better uses of time than sitting in front of a box. But that’s just me.

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