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Portable DVD players in public: how far is too far?
I'm not even going to feign objectivity here, nor pretend that my view on this issue is in line with many other parents. We don't let our kid watch television nor do we plan on letting her anytime soon. When I am waiting at a stoplight behind a minivan or an SUV with one of those entertainment systems with a DVD of that blue fish movie playing I start ranting about how kids these days can't do anything without the numbing sight and sound of TELEVISION placating them. When I was a kid I got dragged around on long drives with my parents and when we got bored we sang songs or played games or looked out the windows and imagined what it was like to live in the places we passed.
Hollyrhea sent me a tip about this story which concerns those ubiquitous portable DVD players that you see kids carting all over the place nowadays. The author describes dining with her family and seeing another family with a 4-year-old girl who spent the entire meal watching Cinderella loudly on one of those portable players. She says she could hear the strains of "Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo" well above the din of the restaurant. The judgmental author had the following problems with this behavior, and I tend to agree with her:
- these parents demonstrated through their own thoughtlessness that they did not believe it was necessary to devote time or energy to thinking about how their actions might affect others.
- these parents showed the child she had nothing of interest to tell them and they had nothing they felt was worth discussing with her.
- these parents failed to take advantage of the opportunity to teach their daughter an indispensable life skill -- the ability to participate in a thoughtful and courteous conversation.
But don't those points apply to any use of a portable DVD player in public? Sure these things can reduce whining and give parents valuable quiet time (perhaps to talk to each other), but doesn't the bad outweigh the good? I guess like anything, moderation is the key. But the very existence of these devices seems to betray the idea of moderation, that televised entertainment isn't limited to the living room but knows no boundaries beyond battery life.