Saturday, April 14, 2007

High-placed TV-B-Gone; new get-a-grip device

If all went according to plan yesterday, State Sen. Vicki Walker put a TV-B-Gone in the hands of Oregon's State Superintendent for Public Instruction Susan Castillo—all in the name of getting Oregon's schools to get serious about media literacy.

The pocket TV remote was a gift from me to Castillo via Walker. I passed the little zapper on to Walker, who chairs the Senate's education committee, during a discussion we had about getting more media literacy into the schools.

And I have State Sen. Ginny Burdick to thank for arranging for my meeting with Walker at Hillsdale's Baker and Spice. Earlier this year I chided Burdick for failing to tend to her constituents' e-mails, particularly repeated messages from me. All is forgiven.

Also, my friend Jean Rystrom, who heads Kaiser Permanente's laudable TV Turnoff efforts, has alerted me to another useful get-a-grip-on-screens device. This one, called TV Allowance, electronically parcels out how much time your kids (or you, or your spouse) have with the TV. When the allotted time is up, the screen goes blank. It can also ride herd on computers and video games.

No wrestling over the remote; no video tantrums.

Like the TV-B-Gone, TV Allowance prompts critical thinking and discussions about screens and how we use them in our lives.

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