October 02, 2007

Help Your Children to be Effective at Studying

USE Modern Technology Effectively
– Don’t Just Complain about It!

As I work with families all across America I find that some topics and some statements seem to crop up almost everywhere. One of the most common questions is, “How do we overcome the terrible influence of Television on our children’s study habits?”

Well to begin with, my answer to this question usually takes a similar tack. Most of the time, I ask the parents if they somehow bought a defective TV set with no “off button”! However, that is a rather flippant answer to a real question so here I will attempt to provide a more complete and reasoned answer.

"Bloom Where You Are Planted!"

Our mother taught us a saying that is quite applicable to the situation of using modern technology. She always used to say, “Bloom where you are planted!” What she was telling us was to accept where we are and make the best of the situation. “If you are given lemons, make lemonade!” She used to say! (Now, I must also add that Mom also tried to teach us to try to improve the situation in which we found ourselves.) But, her advice to make the best of the situation was really sound advice.

I would offer that same advice to parents when it comes to modern technology… The technology is here to stay. The Television is an ingrained part of our modern culture. TV will not go away. And… it is not an inherently evil thing. There is much good that can be gleaned from intelligent use of television. It can be a great source of knowledge and information. The television can allow just about anyone to be informed on critical issues of our time. It can also be a wonderful source of entertainment that can be shared by the entire family.

That being said, the television can also be the enemy of a family attempting to raise children to be self-directed and successful. Modern television broadcasting presents a lot of misleading and potentially damaging stuff. The danger to children lies in indiscriminate use of the television. I believe that it is the job of parents to teach their children to be careful consumers of television broadcasting.

Ratings and Filters of Television Broadcasting are Extremely Ineffective

Many parents feel that their children are protected by using some kind of a filter that does not allow R or X rated material to be watched in their home. That might be good to a point but it falls terribly short of teaching children how to select the programming that they deem worthy of watching in your family.

Go One Step Further Than Ratings… Develop Your Own "Family Standards"

Hold family regular meetings to decide how much time the television will be allowed to be on during each week of the year. Have family discussions about how much time should be given to watching TV.

Than hold other family meetings to select what specific programs your family will watch. Most families who do this are amazed to find that their children have some pretty strong feelings about the types of programming that they honestly feel comfortable watching in their home.

Get a DVR!

Once the amount of time is selected and the specific programming is selected, it is my strongest recommendation that no concerned family should have a Television without a DVR! Like I said earlier, we live in an age of modern technology. That technology will not go away. However, we can make the best use of the technology available to us. Just the other day, I was visiting a store that sells electronic technology, and was shocked to find that it is now possible to purchase a quality DVR for under a hundred and fifty dollars.

What is a DVR?

For those who may not be aware of what a DVR is; it is simply a Digital Video Recorder. It is a machine that will record television programming onto a hard drive for later viewing on demand. With this type of a machine it becomes not only possible to make purposeful selections of what programming is watched in your home, but t also allows your family to take control of WHEN the programming is watched!

Use Technology to Manage Time in your Home!

With that technology available I feel that using it is just an example of “Blooming where you are planted!” I will even go one step further and say that I feel that it is bordering on irresponsible to own a television and cable or satellite access without a DVR! Almost every home in America has a television. To me the only danger that poses to children lies in not teaching those children how to choose to use the medium intelligently! A DVR allows your family to do just that. You can select the programming that you all deem to be worthwhile AND you can select the time when it will be watched!

The biggest gift you will be giving your children by getting a DVR and setting your own family guidelines for watching television broadcasting lies n teaching them to be purposeful participants in their world and not just victims of the world in which they live.

Study Habits

Now just imagine how much more effective your children will be in doing homework when they do not have to compete with an incessant bombardment from the television! Study hours can be set without interrupting their recreational use of the television for entertainment! The television can be off during study hours without missing their chosen programming!

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