Plug-in Drug: Television, Computers, and Family Life

Overview

How does the passive act of watching television and other electronic media-regardless of their content-affect a developing child's relationship to the real world? Focusing on this crucial question, Marie Winn takes a compelling look at television's impact on children and the family. Winn's classic study has been extensively updated to address the new media landscape, including new sections on: computers, video games, the VCR, the V-Chip and other control devices, TV programming for babies, television and physical...

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Overview

How does the passive act of watching television and other electronic media-regardless of their content-affect a developing child's relationship to the real world? Focusing on this crucial question, Marie Winn takes a compelling look at television's impact on children and the family. Winn's classic study has been extensively updated to address the new media landscape, including new sections on: computers, video games, the VCR, the V-Chip and other control devices, TV programming for babies, television and physical health, and gaining control of your TV.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Still the definitive work on how and why television harms the minds and spirits of children." —Howard Gardner, Harvard Graduate School of Education and co-author of Good Work: Where Excellence and Ethics Meet

"Extremely important...ought to be read by every parent." —Los Angeles Times

"No one has captured the devastating effects of television the way Marie Winn has. The latest research coupled with candid and inspiring correspondence from actual families make this the best edition yet."—Jim Trelease, author of The Read-Aloud Handbook

Library Journal
After 25 years, Winn (Children Without Childhood) has completely revised and updated her landmark study of the influence of television on children and family life by incorporating findings based on recent research and investigating the impact of the home computer, the VCR, and the video game terminal. She has also shifted the focus from the TV programs children watch to the negative effects of television on children's play, imagination, and school achievement. Although Winn pinpoints many key shortcomings of television, this study is not argumentative; Winn instead aims to stress the quality of family life without television, to show educators and parents how to control the medium, and to offer practical suggestions on how to improve family life not dependent on television. This refreshingly candid and inviting study is highly recommended for both public and academic libraries. Leroy Hommerding, Fort Myers Beach P.L. Dist., FL Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Booknews
This is the new edition of a book criticizing the effects of television on children, their schooling, and family relationships. The author argues that pretty much nothing has changed since the book was first published in 1977. Expanding her analysis to other electronic media, she suggests that many of the same problems are associated with the use of other electronic media. In chapters new to this edition, she discusses computers in the classrooms; video games, VCRS, and other electronic playthings. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780142001080
  • Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 4/30/2002
  • Edition description: Twenty Fifth Anniversary Edition
  • Edition number: 25
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 999,159
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 7.75 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Meet the Author

Marie Winn has written thirteen books, among them Children Without Childhood, Unplugging the Plug-In Drug, and Red-Tails in Love. She currently writes a column about nature for the Wall Street Journal. She has two grown children and four grandchildren who are growing up without television.

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Table of Contents

Preface
The Good-Enough Family
Note about the Twenty-fifth Anniversary Edition

Part I. The Television Experience
1. It's Not What You Watch
The Concerns
About the Contents and Susceptible Kids
What Does Not Happen
Why Do Parents Focus on Content?
Television Savants
A Strange and Wonderful Quiet

2. A Changed State of Consciousness
Television Zombies
The Shutdown Mechanism
Concentration or Stupor?
Passivity
The Reentry Syndrome

3. The Power of the Medium
Why Is It So Hard to Stop Watching?
Why It Captures the Child
Cookies or Heroin?

4. The Experts
Dr. Spock and the Tube
The Medical Establishment
Physical Effects

5. Television and Violence: A Different Approach
First a Disclaimer
Looking for a Link
Making the Wrong Connection

Part II. Television and Early Childhood
6. Television for Tots
Baby Viewers
Sesame Street Revisited
The Echoes of Sesame Street
How Much Do They Understand?

7. Television and the Brain
Brain Changes
Critical Early Experience
A Caveat
Nonverbal Thinking
Brain Hemispheres
A Commitment to Language

8. Television and Play
Less Play
The Meaning of Play
An Experiment of Nature
Play Deprivation

Part III. Television and the School Years
9. A Defense of Reading
What Happens When You Read
Losing the Thread
The Basic Building Blocks
A Preference for Watching
Home Attitudes
Lazy Readers
Nonbooks
What About Harry Potter?
Radio and Reading
If You Can't Beat 'Em, Join 'Em
Why Books?

10. Television and School
A Negative Relationship
A Stepping Stone out of a Stumbling Block (Media Literacy)
Television for Homework
Commercials in the Classroom
A Primary Factor

Part IV. How Parents Use Television
11. Before Television
The Bad Old Days
A New Light on Childhood
How Modern Parents Survived Before Television
Finally It "Took"

12. Free Time and Resourcefulness
No Free Time
Attachment and Separation
Why Kids Can't Amuse Themselves
"Nothing to Do"
Competing with TV
The Half-Busy Syndrome
Waiting on Children
Sickness as a Special Event
Back to the Past

13. Family Life
The Quality of Life
Family Rituals
Real People
Undermining the Family

Part V. New Technologies
14. Computers in the Classroom
Do They Help?
Big Bucks
Computers in Early Childhood
Why Computers Are Not the Answer
What Are They Replacing?
The Computer-Television Connection
Why Not Get Rid of Them?
The Problems of Bucking the Tide
Computers to Enhance Reading
Computer vs. Workbook
On the High School and College Front
A Matter of Balance

15. Home Electronics
The VCR
A Wonderful Addition to the Family
Lapware
Computer Toys
Video Games
Computer Games
Screen Time

Part VI. Controlling Television
16. Out of Control
How Parents Get Hooked
A Terrible Saga
Undisciplined, Grumpy Children
Ten Reasons Why Parents Can't Control TV
Ubiquity
A Chilling Episode
A Longing for Passivity

17. Gaining Control
Real Conviction
Firm Rules
Control Devices and the V-Chip
Natural Control
Decontrol as a Means of Control
Help from the Outside
Videoholics Anonymous

Part VII. No Television
18. TV Turnoffs
Three Family Before-and-After Experiments
Organized TV Turnoffs
Why Did They Go Back?

19. No-TV Families
Getting Rid of Television: Four Families That Did It
No Television Ever

CODA: The Television Generation
Who Is the Televisin Generation?
Mystery of the Declining SATs
Making Inferences
Writing Is Book Talk
Television and the Social Chill
What Is to be Done?
The Passive Pull

Helpful Organizations
Brief Bibliography
Endnotes
Acknowledgments
Index

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 3, 2008

    All Too True

    We didn't get a TV until I was in the 7th or 8th grade. Before it came I didn't want it. And after it came I hated it because it destroyed our family life. 'Before' we used to talk to each other. 'After' we mostly watched the TV in silence.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 7, 2006

    Completely Biased

    This book does not share clear evidence proving the opinions she gives. I have read David Gauntlett's book on TV Living and it is an excellent counter to this arguement that television is a bad influence on a child's behavior. He uses great examples and explaination and I recommend reading it to get a different view rather then the 'usual' arguement that television is bad for children.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 22, 2003

    Catch it early!

    This is a great book. I have a 2 year old son who I have not let watch television. He is wonderfully creative and has an incredible attention span. This book really reinforces the value of not letting your children become addicted to TV and media. It has helped me to cut down on my veiwing also. As a teacher and a parent I recommend this as a "Must Read"!!!!!

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