This is a blog about how to be a responsible parent. I try to explain how kids learn and how media affects them, and how to avoid the pitfalls that lead to kids becoming addicted to TV or video games or pornography.
The title is intended as a joke, but it’s not funny. Kids are very susceptible to the messages in TV shows, video games, and pornography, and it’s especially difficult to stop their habits once they get into them. We tend to think of our children as adults, but they’re not. They’re still learning about sex and the world around them.
And because children are so curious, they often try anything at least once.
If you want your child never to watch football again, you have two choices: (1) live in some sort of small town where the NFL doesn’t play, or (2) force your child not to watch football.
Neither choice is ideal. Football fandom can be an important part of a child’s identity; it can also be fun and empowering when done right. But there are no easy answers here – just tough ones that you’ll have to work out for yourself and your family.
There are many reasons for watching football. Some people watch because it’s a tradition or cultural thing. Others watch to be part of the community, socialize, and make friends. Still others watch to be entertained.
But if that’s what you want, you are not alone. Millions of people around the country are finding other things to do on Sundays when they would otherwise be watching the NFL games. And they’re doing it by choice.
The problem is that many parents think that the NFL is a good thing for their children and will give them one or two hours of screen time each week with no negative consequences. You can’t do that with any kind of TV programming: if your child watches too much television, he’ll learn bad habits and start acting like a tool in just a few years (I’m looking at you, Maury Povich).
If your child watches one hour a day of TV, that’s still five hours a week. That’s enough to get them addicted. And they don’t have to watch NFL games to get hooked. There are other shows that are just as dangerous: reality shows, for example, or cooking shows with no discernible plot line.
You can stop the problem by limiting their TV watching to a few hours each week, and keeping it only to things they want to watch and will actually benefit from watching. But I worry that some people are going too far in the opposite direction. They’re letting them watch everything on demand, and then complaining when their children don’t know what time of day it is.
There are lots of things that are bad for children, but you may be surprised to learn that the most dangerous thing in the world for a child is exposure to commercial media.
The average American child watches over 4,000 hours of TV, video games, and Internet use per year. Those numbers are rising quickly. The average American child watches more than one hour of TV every day. To put it another way: in the United States today, a six-year-old boy has already seen more TV than he will see in his entire lifetime. He will watch 15 years’ worth of TV before he’s 16.
The NFL is the most popular sports league in the US, but because of its billion-dollar broadcast contracts, its fans are mostly white and well-off. In fact, I believe that the NFL was deliberately created as a league that would attract big television audiences, just so it could get more lucrative broadcast deals.
The NFL started to go downhill when they stopped playing games. The TV ratings have dropped precipitously since then. This makes no sense when you think about it: people watch sports games all day on TV; if they are not watching them live, they are watching highlights or recording them for later. But now people don’t even do that anymore. ESPN’s Sports Center show has been cancelled, which is probably the best news in the history of American television.
Anyhow, there is an alternative to watching NFL games on TV: you can watch them in person at stadiums and arenas across the country, where tickets cost hundreds of dollars each (or thousands at a place like MetLife Stadium). You can do this for free if you go to a high school football game or watch your local college team play. And you can do this even if you don’t enjoy sports or haven’t seen much live football; all it takes is to be willing to spend money
The NFL is not a sport that inspires much passion in non-Americans. And yet, one of the most successful sports leagues in history is the National Football League. It is a league that reaches all across the planet, and there are many countries where people play it.
Many Americans attribute the NFL’s success to its “Americanness.” The NFL is American, we are told. That’s why it has so many fans. But as this article points out, a better explanation is that it is a great game.
I was watching a TV show today called “Counting Cars,” which was part auto-show and part reality show. The hosts had to count cars in order to determine who was the fastest car thief in their city. The question was whether or not they could steal the car with their eyes closed, blindfolded. Well, here’s what happens when you have a really good game in your country but no one plays it, because it isn’t popular: there are fewer criminals!
In fact, America has only three professional sports teams (the NFL, Major League Baseball and the NBA), while Canada has six (the NHL, CFL, WHL, OHL and QMJHL) .