As a producer for Good Morning America, my life is TV. But about a year ago, I realized that while I love the medium at work, I was competing with it at home. Returning from the office each evening around dinnertime, I would inevitably find my two boys -- Greg, 10, and Douglas, 8 -- sitting in the living room with their eyes glued to the television set. After seeing the results of a recent Stanford University study, which found that schoolchildren who decreased their television viewing exhibited markedly less aggressive behavior, I started wondering what life would be like without the boob tube.
Then one night, I walked into the house around 7 p.m. after a long, stressful day at work, wanting some cuddle time with the kids. Instead, I was greeted by the backs of their heads and their hand motions asking me to be quiet so they could continue watching The Fresh Prince of Bel Air. That was the last straw. I stormed up to the set, forcefully pressed the power button to "off," and announced that the future had arrived -- and it did not include television on school nights.
The children sat in stunned silence for a moment, then began protesting loudly. They pummeled me with questions: How long will this ban last? Can we still use the Nintendo? What about the computer? I told them that this experiment would last for at least one month and that videos and video games were off limits as well. In an effort to not be too harsh, I said that the computer games could stay, and since I do work at Good Morning America, that's the one show I would allow them to watch.
When I finished my explanations, Greg began to cry and Doug gave me an angry look. Baby Casey, who is 2 years old, had no comment.