Friday 25 April 2008

Another book

I wrote a post about a book I had read in conjunction with a study we are doing called 'World Proof Your Kids' by Tim Siwmore. As you might be able to tell by the title it talks and gives advice about bringing up children in a world that has things like tv, internet, phones, play stations etc.

Well, last week I started reading Niall Postman's 'Conscientious Objector'. It is a book of essays and I am finding them rather good. Niall is a critic, writer, communications theorist, and professor of communication arts and science at New York University... Well, at least that is where he was when he wrote his book 21 years ago!
What I find interesting is that he was able to foretell the awful consequences that TV would have on the lives of our children and on society at large. Here is an extract from one essay titled 'The Conservative Outlook'.

"Television screens saturated with commercials promote the Utopian and childish idea that all problems have fast, simple, and technological solutions. You must banish from your mind the naive but commonplace notion that commercials are about products. They are about products in the same sense that the story of Jonah is about the anatomy of whales, Which is to say, they aren't. They are about values and myths and fantasies. One might even say they form a body of religious literature, a montage of voluminous, visualised sacred texts that provide people with images and stories around which to organise their lives.

To give you some idea of exactly how voluminous, I should tell you that the average American will have seen approximately 1 million television commercials (don't forget this was written 21 years ago... Ruth), at the rate of a thousand per week, by the age of twenty. By the age of 65, the average American will have seen more than 2 million television commercials. Commercial television adds to the Decalogue several impious commandments, among them that thou shalt have no other gods than consumption, thou shalt despise what is old, thou shalt seek to amuse thyself continuously, and thou shalt avoid complesity like the ten plagues that affected Egypt".

I have started reading another of his book, 'Amusing Ourselves To Death' and so far am enjoying this and having my eyes open. But I should point out, if you want a Christian perspective on the effects that technology has on out family do read Tim's book, as mentioned above.

1 comment:

ruth said...

Those sound like some good books! I will try to get my hands on them. Sometimes I feel like "it's too late." We tried to bring our kids up to love Jesus, but you always seem to have some regrets looking back. My kids are great, but I could have done so much more. Sometimes an issue will arise, and I feel so guilty for places where I feel I have fallen short. I am glad that God has grace. I still have a 12 year old, and I still need lots of guidance!