Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be

I wrote something I wanted to save, and in searching for a place to put it, discovered 26 uses of "zombie" on my site already, so I will put quotes and links here, soon or someday.
For now:

Someone wrote:

-=- And that's that when people limit tv/games etc they say their kids stare unmoving like zombies, or can't hear them talk, won't stop to go to the toilet etc. these are not things Unschooling parents recognise. -=-

I thought it was going too far, and responded:

If something is REALLY fascinating, extremely engaging, those things might happen. A brand-new video game at an exciting point. A book as good as Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, first time through. A news item on the death of a favorite person.

Those things can happen to me, still, as an adult—that I am mesmerized, engaged, involved in something, and it can be a program (I've been watching some great Korean dramas lately), or a book, or an interesting or difficult bit of sewing. It can take me a few seconds to come to myself and respond to another person.

But as Pam Sorooshian explains so well in her article about the economics of these things, if parents limit access, the parents have created value in things that might not have had value if they were part of a range of choices.

It would be unfortunate if someone's unschooled child loved a game or story so much that he seemed to be a zombie, and the parents started to limit his life because of it. It would be an unfortunate lack of appreciation and relationship and awareness on the part of the parents.

So saying that those things cannot ever, would not ever happen with unschoolers is unfair. But the stimulus would need to be REALLY GOOD. And when children's lives are opened up and and made peaceful, they might, if they're lucky, have the opportunity to discover some things that they consider to be REALLY GOOD, and have the opportunity to immerse themselves deeply and fully into that temporary experience without someone breaking that spell by saying "move around, listen to me, go to the bathroom."

Link to Pam's article: Economics of Restricting TV Watching of Children

(July 4, 2015, on facebook, not in a formal discussion)

Meredith Novak, on the benefit of choices:

Best part first:

Because she knows she can say No and be heard, she's better able to decide what's good to watch, based on her own standards. And they're not mind-controlled-zombie standards, they're pretty darned badass standards.
Now in context, as a response to someone having written "It depends on what they're watching."
Maybe six months ago my teenage daughter wanted me to watch a particular anime series with her - it's called Kill La Kill. It's one of the more intense formats - really loud and high energy, but also not dubbed so I had to read the screen to follow what was going on. Even then it was kind of hard to follow because the whole thing was a parody of comic and anime tropes - and while I've been learning about those, thanks to my kids, it took me a few episodes to get it, especially because one of the issues it takes on is sexism, and the did it by being over the top sexist.

So the first two or three episodes I was appalled. I thought, omg, my kid is Watching This? This Is Horrible! But rather than lecturing her I noticed what she was laughing at, how she was responding to the piece. And finally I caught on and it was... amazing. One of the best anime series, ever. Months later we still talk about it, make jokes about some of sight gags, do some of the character poses, compare it to other shows and comics, even to real life situations. And if I hadn't taken the time, I'd have missed it.

Fortunately, for me, I've made the mistake of jumping to conclusions and being proved wrong about other shows. I don't assume I know better than my kid if something's right for them. I know, because I haven't made tv a reward or a limited commodity, that my kid will turn away or shut something off is she doesn't want to see it - and has, in the past. Because she knows she can say No and be heard, she's better able to decide what's good to watch, based on her own standards. And they're not mind-controlled-zombie standards, they're pretty darned badass standards.

Meredith Meredith, March 14, 2017, Radical Unschooling Info

The wrong window!

 photo sunflowerFieldDodd.jpg
"Video gaming is so much more than most people see when they are standing on the outside, looking through the window they call 'screen time.'"
—Karen James

Plants vs. Zombies screenshot by Sandra Dodd

In February 2012, when a mom said she liked to turn the TV off before eating or playing, Meredith responded:
It's like having an unspoken rule: no multi-tasking—setting people up to have to choose between activities that could, realistically, happen at the same time.

Then I told a story:

Before I had the means to save great writing in public places, there was a discussion about television's alleged ability to turn children into zombies. This was before zombie shows were so popular and "zombie" was pretty passive. They meant kids would zone out and their brains would turn off. "They" were wrong.

The people in the discussion were homeschooling, not necessarily unschooling, beause it was a long time ago, but one mom said that when her kids watched TV they just SAT there.

REALLY!? I said because MY kids jump up and dance, and they were watching The Sound of Music, again, and rewinding the parts they liked, and singing along. I reported this because it was happening, and it was what I was accustomed to seeing, in my children.

The other mom in one of the WORST MOVES EVER in the history of debate said something like "Well at OUR house people are expected to watch quietly and not disturb others."

What the everlasting WTF!? At her house, kids weren't allowed to get up and dance or rewind, so she first implied that my kids and my house were rude and unruly, but that point was lost in the grand explosion that was her unwitting admission of WHY her kids just sat there when they watched TV.

If a family is looking for rules and passivity, they can create a lifetime of it. If a family wants joy and learning, the creation is a bit more difficult and unusual but doable!
How Unschooling Changes People
Thoughts on Changing

Kirby and Destiny, 2013—zombie temps

Might they have been safer had they been home watching TV?

Connections are the important thing ... and learning about Learning

Beware of book worship, a common ailment

Don't even think about "yeah but"ting me about "Screentime" unless you're ready to make a similar case against cloth time, paper time or door time.

Many more tales of recovery from the irrational fear of TV are here: SandraDodd.com/tv

The title was generated for free at this site: cooltext.com

The intro/title is a play on a Country song from the 1970s called "Mamas Don't Let your Babies Grow Up to be Cowboys." Just in case someone didn't get the reference, here are links to the most widely known version, by Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson. They didn't write it, though. Ed Bruce and his wife Patsy did. His version is here: Ed Bruce

The title wasn't a reference to the song lyrics, just to the similarity of the titles.