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January 1995, Week 4


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Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Wed, 25 Jan 1995 13:18:12 CST
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----------------------------Original message----------------------------
> Is television at all responsible for educating our children and, if so,
  >how can we trust profit-driven corporations to act in our children's best
                                                   -dan hawthorne
I don't think it's a question of trust -- people have imbued public television
with too much responsibility already in allowing it to decide what's in their
children's best interests.  Rather than trusting anyone to know how your
children should be raised, it makes more sense to develop your own philosophy
on child-raising and implement it as needed, including controlling what
television your child watches (or not controlling it, if that's your
For parents who control their children's TV-watching, control of television
programming, public or private, happens the way it's supposed to -- ratings for
shows that aren't in your children's best interest will be hurt by that fact.
(Yes, public television cares about ratings too.)
This whole idea that we're supposed to trust any television station to do
what's right smacks of victimization, the faddish abdication of responsibility
for our own decisions and acts that's been so popular lately.  The original
question makes it sound as if our children are victimized by television that's
not good for them.  It's simple enough not to watch it, or not to let our
children watch it, or to campaign for better programming.  This isn't a
public/private issue; it's one of personal responsibility.
So to look at the larger question, while I think television is useful for
educating our children, I think the responsibility belongs to parents and, of
course, children themselves.
Molly Olsen
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