My husband has a big screen TV mounted over the fireplace that transfixes watchers in such a way that they are unable to look away from the television for even a moment. He has a surround sound system that encases viewers inside a virtual dome of whirling, swirling auditory effects and transports them directly into whatever scene is being shown on the screen.
Take last night for example. My husband and 5th grade son had been watching shows for hours. I decided that I needed to break the spell so I stood in the doorway readying myself to enter. I held tightly to my phone praying that it wouldn’t be destroyed by the surge of electronics as I jumped in. Once inside, I joined my little guy on the couch and began trying to make contact. I could only take so much of the incessant channel surfing between Hillbilly Moonshine Handfishin’, Still Not Found Any Bigfoot or Gold and six different sporting events. I shouted their names in vain but my voice did not register through the vortex of HD TV. With one last effort I screamed “GOOD NIGHT!” but my voice swirled around and got sucked up into the force field of speakers.
Imagine my surprise when my I wake up early the next morning and find my son on the couch again, wide eyed watching the screen. I freak out and shut off the television after cursing and struggling with an armful of remotes. “What in the HECK are you doing down here?” I ask him. A look of both remorse and fear creeps into his glazed over, bloodshot eyes and he answers, “Just watching Dog the Bounty Hunter.”
After some investigation I am horrified to learn that he routinely wakes up early and watches this and other similar shows. I cannot shake the images that come into my head. I wonder if his male role model archetype has been skewed from watching all this TV. I am so afraid that his little subconscious mind is going to dismiss all the hard work I have done with my “Go to College” and “Be a Good Man” parenting and eventually he’ll morph into a collection of male characteristics from Trash TV. (Cue the fiddle music ) Yeeeeeee Haw.
Now we have a new rule in the house! My son has to stay in his room in the morning until I get up. (whew) I don’t need to worry anymore. He just watches you tube videos, plays internet games and chats online with friends.