Sunday, February 27, 2011

Commercial, repeat and food

Did you notice how many commercial and particularly how many commercial for junk food are in your favorites programs?
I am always astonished and even shocked by the amount of commercial American television shows in every single programs. And as News warn more and more American people about the danger of over eating and eating unhealthy, you may see almost simultaneously, a News report about obesity for example and then 4 or 5 commercial about pizza, ice-cream, Mc Donald, jack in the box...

Commercial repeat numerously because it works, it does create a desire or even a need in the person brain. One who finished to eat his diner and watch a TV program may feel hungry again after watching so many commercial about food and may get up to eat some more while watching his programs and more commercials about more food.

This is even more dangerous on young brain. Children are prompt to desire whatever they see. If you are walking in front of a candy store, there is a great chance your little one will suddenly desire some candy, even if a minute before he was not even thinking about any. It is the same with commercial and even worse as it works like if you are walking many time in front of the candy store!

Unhappily for us, greed is the nerve of the economy today. What is important is to make as much money as possible, as much profit as possible, so it does not matter that junk food are unhealthy and even becoming dangerous for the health. As long as people buy it, it is profitable and this is what is important.

As a result one end up with News report telling you how bad that kind of food is for your health while the following commercial is pushing you to run buy some.
The solution: boycott commercial and junk food!

Junk food will not be replaced by healthy food while it is still profitable, industrial do not care about people health. But people are free to make the right choices for themselves and their children.

My children are completely aware of all this as I raise them with media literacy. They know that commercial are designed to create unnecessary desire and need. They are also plenty aware of what junk food are and why it is bad for the body.

I wish media literacy to be taught in elementary school. Young children are naturally open minded and curious. They could learn how to protect themselves from the influence of commercial. It would also be nice to teach them more about nutrition.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Spelling and the internet

I do love the internet, it is so useful and fun for homework.
We often look on the web for picture and illustration of a special subject, like for example when social studies speak about native american and we can look for picture and even videos who make the lesson more exciting.
Another thing we do every week is a spelling test. It is an exciting and fun one as it is with my father as the extra student of the "class".

My children are really happy to work with their grand-father :-)
I play the part of the teacher as always. My 3 students listen to the dictation and carefully write it. Then they all read the text one after the other. Then their grand-father gave them "how many mistakes would be excused" and we correct together.
It makes the whole process a fun one!

Then if their grand-father have some more time, they will read to him :-) They may also read to their grand-mother :-)
Thank's to the internet and skype!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

After school

One mom was proudly telling me today that her son is playing video games "only one hour after school every day". Appreciation of what is good for your family is something very personal. Each time a parent speak to me about how much screen time his child is spending, it makes me think about what my children are doing at that same time.

So today, as soon as they got home, they went to play outside for a couple of hours. My son was practicing his rip-stick skills while my daughter was having fun with their new hula hoop. Then they both played with their skate-board until I asked them to come back inside.
They are now reading the new book they just borrowed from the school library.

Yesterday they did enjoy some screen time, playing with their typing instructor on their laptop. Hopefully they will improve their typing skills :-)
This program is pretty well done and fun to do. They also have some educational cd-rom which are entertaining as well. I was amazed by how much they learned with those, and learned about all kind of field, geography, history, science... In case you wonder which cd-rom are those, they are coming from France, they are like virtual magazines which include a story, some games, some art and craft and plenty of information on a multitude of subject.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Screen and family

did you notice how much a screen, any screen, fill up the space and the time?

Let say that the children come home and their dad is on his computer, what happen? The children will certainly be happy to see their dad, say hi to him and eventually cuddle a little, they may even attempt to talk a little with him, if they do not feel that they are interrupting him from something which may be very important.

In fact, body language will guide them with what they will chose to do. If their father do not move much, keep his eyes on his computer or get back to it very quickly without moving from where he is sitting, the children will make it short and will go to do something else. On the other end, if their dad put his computer down or even better close it, and give them full attention, then the children will fully enjoy spending time with him, speaking about their journey, starting a real conversation.

You may observe this interaction in your own home, and not only with your husband but may be with yourself. It works for any screen, if you are watching TV and do not wish to be interrupted, your children will feel it because of your body language (or may be because you will ask to not be disturb).

When parents are fully available for their children, open to dialogue, it appears that the children enjoy sharing this time with them to talk about their journey. They will also certainly enjoy playing games with them.

I did observe in many families where parents love their own screen time that the child reproduce the same behavior. For instance, in this family where the father enjoy watching television and movies most of the time, his son does not really look to spend time with him playing or talking but instead watching a movie with him.

In an other family where the father spend most of his time on his computer, his son enjoy spending a lot of hours playing video games. Actually the son in the first case loves video games as well. In both case, kids are not involved in much active activities, they are not interested by the practice of a sport.

I am sure you could share some more examples and please do.
In some families, the TV is on in the living room, a parent may be on his computer and the children are in their bedroom watching their TV or playing video games. It is a very common family situation that can be find in any social level. Every one in the family is plug to a screen. Every one seem perfectly satisfy. Most of those families do not understand what could be wrong with this picture. After all, everybody in the family is happy, they are all enjoying their own "space". Let's say that it is a common evening, mom is cooking diner, eventually watching her program, Dad is watching his or doing his stuff on his computer and the children are watching their programs or playing video games or doing what ever they want on their computer. everybody is happy and satisfy. And it is like that everyday! Because everyday, mom has to prepare diner, dad has some stuff to do on his computer or a show to watch on TV and the children adapted to the setting, organizing their own center of interest around a screen.

But on week-end, they do stuff together, they may go out a little, have company. they may go out of town. Yes happily there is week-end where family may have more opportunity to really do something together away from a screen.

I believe it is worth observing your own family, your own interaction with your children and the consequence on your family communication and exchange.