Don’t Blame The Boob Tube

Mark Oppenheimer contemplates his family’s TV habits:

In truth, I suspect that both my parents’ generation and my own have worried far too much about television. Or, rather, we’ve given it too much credit. TV probably can’t destroy a good family culture, just as it never realized its promise of teaching children all sorts of things their parents and teachers couldn’t. It’s neither a prison nor a window to the world. It’s just a box—or, nowadays, a flat, matte screen. Like other inanimate objects, it is what we make of it. (TVs don’t kill families, families kill families.) Thinking back to my own childhood, I had a couple of friends who seemed to waste away whole years just watching re-runs of 1960s sitcoms; today, I know fellow fathers who, abetted by smartphone apps, manage to ignore their children for entire football seasons.