As much as home videos can be fun, as much as National Geographic can be educational, as much as the Discovery channel can count as a "lesson", it is not what is ON the television but rather the act of the child just SITTING in front of the TV. Television as the MEDIUM. What is most "waldorf" about the no-tv "rule" is that interaction with the tv is artificial and un-real... it is not human, it has no soul/spirit... its images are not even three dimensional. The act of having a young child just SIT and look at a screen is in itself harmful to the child's soul impulse. THAT is the big deal, that is the issue, that is the controversy, that is the problem.

Just look into the eyes of your child watching the television, or any child for that matter... A GREAT EXAMPLE is the big screen at the Disney store at the local mall... The children all appear drugged, retarded, like the patients of a mental hospital. Standing in a row and staring that weird dead stare onto the 60 tv's along the wall... This issue is about the behavior of children watching television - and it's actual physiological aspects.

Do you realize that in the United States, children attend school for approximately 40 hours a week; they then watch television for about the same amount of time. There is something VERY wrong with that. I just read someplace that an average 9 year old has the same amount of physical activity which could compare to an adult walking for 12 minutes. In a 24 hour period! That is NOT NATURAL for a child , of ANY age!!!

Having the "treat" of going to the cinema is a wee bit different... There is the thrill of the theater itself, the smell of the popcorn, the crowds, etc.. (of course, nowadays the quality and subject matter of the film are questionable) but the experience of cinema (going to the movies once a month) is very different from television viewing. First of all, it is an "event" like going to the park, the museum... and children love the idea of "an event". But again, not a daily event! The people in a movie theatre - where the actual images are projected onto a screen - are not using the same brain patterns, eye strain, etc... as the people staring into a tv set.

Television viewers become prey to the television's own light impulses, they go into an altered state - a transfixed condition where their eyes, their mind, their breathing is clearly under the control of an outside force. Someone said of television "In a poetic sense and without exaggerating, one might say that the television technology is eating the subjects who sit before its gaze."

The phenomenon of the television viewing relates not to the television programming (or home videos - or computer software for that matter) but to the medium itself - TELEVISION AS THE HOUSEHOLD APPLIANCE, the cathode ray tube, the radiation gun aimed right at the viewer. (set on its own "altar" in each and every home)

It has been said that "this radiation gun can be reasonably compared to a tractor beam that holds its subjects in total control." (hypnosis, brain washing)

There are very REAL physical, spiritual and social consequences of this phenomenon, many which are in debate (as here, now) but I suggest this: just watch your child as s/he watches the television. Simple human observation shows us the DAMAGE that is being done. The child just sits with that "look", that "stare" which is not natural for a child - the very act of sitting still for such a long period of time is not natural for a child....

The pervasive nature of this technology is on the rise throughout the world, and yet people watch television without the least awareness of the effect that the medium itself has on individuals and societies alike. The television programming is one thing: the television MEDIUM is something else.

It is the medium that this issue is about. To borrow a wise quote from the bumper sicker on our old faithful vehicle "Turn off your TV and turn on life!" Television wastes time, steals moments from families and eats away at childhood. Why watch home videos when you can watch each other and interact with each other LIVE?

Kytka Himar-Jezek, Ph.D., is a writer, Certified Childbirth Educator, Labor Assistant, Doctor of Naturopathy, Minister, Soul Counselor, Reiki Master/Teacher, Life Coach and most importantly, a mother. She is the publisher of several family & parenting websites, two books and a regular weekly column. Reprinted with permission, this originally appeared in the "Ask Kytka" column at W.I.S.H.

Learn more about Kytka at http://www.waldorfhomeschoolers.com/more.htm .