Tuesday, February 28, 2006

The Power Cop

I watch very little TV, I do hear it though, way too much of it. My comp sits within yards of the main television viewing area, thus while I am in the kitchen cooking or more likely multi-tasking--cooking and at the computer--I am also able to overhear whatever is being viewed. Most things do not catch my attention, but this evening VH1 ran a commercial for The Power Cop.

You ask, what is The Power Cop? A device that effectively manages the amount of time your child can sit before an electronic device that is powered by electrical current. The basic premise, you decide the amount of time the video game system/television/stereo/computer can be used each day, once this time allotment is used up, the power is shut down, and the game system, etc. cannot be used for another day.
Their marketing strategy consists of three basic attention grabbers--these devices are Time Thieves---and--- with the use of The Power Cop, you the parent are not The Bad Guy, in addition, with the use of The Power Cop your child will then take part in other more Brain-Powered activities--like homework,reading, or family time.

Okay, sounds great.
But, first of all you the parent are still going to be the bad guy, cause you installed the damn thing!
Plus what if you want to use whatever gadget you installed it on, then you have to disable it everytime, which would totally burn my britches. I like video games, I play them on occasion with my children, or by myself, I spend more time at the computer than anyone else, so I sure as hell don't want The Power Cop around to set limits for me.
Thirdly and most importantly to me, parents are supposed to be the bad guys, we are the ones who set the limits, we are the ones we WANT them to see that are setting the limits. If we want family time, then make it happen, how many parents do you know use these very same gadgets as babysitters? A lot, oh it starts out innocent enough, plug kid into TV, and you have time to take a quick shower, or make an undisturbed phone call, or have a complete conversation with parent # 2, or maybe if it is movie, even a quickie. Then when the little babes become addicted, the parent becomes upset. Whoops, think I am climbing onto another soap box. Back to The Power Cop.

If you are a parent, you have heard a kazillion and one times from your parents, or other well-meaning friends and relatives how you are/were rearing your children wrong. "You let them get away with too much." "They wouldn't be such picky eaters if you hadn't started cutting the crust off their peanut butter and jelly sandwiches." or "What the hell is a time out? What happened to a good old-fashioned whipping? Now my kids, always knew who was boss!"

Even though I often disagreed with the speaker (I am a good parent damnit!), I do have to agree with one thing, when it came to setting limits, abiding by those limits, setting the consequences, and abiding to those consequences, most of my well-meaning detractors were correct...it is my responsibility to be THE PARENT, not their best-friend, not their playmate, but their parent. Yes I want to be a confidant when one is needed, yes I always have, and always will love to play with my children (okay, not Barbie, I was never a Barbie kinda girl), but all children need that structure, that knowledge that there are limits, and who better to set them , who better to enforce them than their parents? In setting and enforcing those limits I may become a nag, a meanie, a *gasp* punishment inflictor, but that is part of what being a parent is. So, even though The Power Cop, may seem like a great idea to some, I will stick to my old-fashioned, nagging, complaining, grounding threats, and more importantly... using all of those Time Thieves as bribes to get my children doing the things that need to be done first.


Phil said...

In my work it always amazes me how often parents say, "He/she won't stop watching TV or playing video games." My response is a polite version of "You know where the off button is, turn it off you moron. They're not the boss of you!" That Power Cop device is just lazy parenting.

Sunny Delight said...

"lazy parenting" is EXACTLY what it is, and there is way too much of that going on!
Don't you wish you could use the impolite version?

I can imagine the whiny responses you get to your polite version.

plano said...

Gadgets, locks, and such are no substitute for discipline.

I thought of doing something similar with The Boy's computer, but he's got a half hour limit on games for computer or Xbox. And he sticks to it.

Sunny Delight said...

you are a good daddy, always knew you were.