When my son discovered Transformer episodes on youtube one Friday night a couple of years ago I inwardly groaned, knowing this meant I would have to think about a way to manage them. Really I would have been happy if they just went away but I know you can’t just dig your head in the sand so I reluctantly turned my mind to thinking about how to get past this luring temptation.
To me transformers are garish, aggressive inventions of corporations bent on getting kids (boys) to fall for a full line of books, toys, movies, and games and feed into the mass marketing to kids. I thought we could let him watch one episode a day or so – to limit his daily exposure – and give us a chance to talk about it and his reaction to it.
My husband’s proposal was to let him watch all 20 (or so) episodes over the course of the next two days – a full weekend slated for rain.
I flinched at the thought, but eventually gave in to Richard’s persuasive argument which was this. By getting it over with in one fell swoop, our son would get tired of it, leave it of his own accord, and then forget about it. It would also eliminate the fixation of and potential nagging to “get” to see his daily epiosode.
An important caveat to all this was that Richard was going to watch the episodes with him to interpret, explain, and debrief as necessary. This meant stopping the action, asking what they were fighting about? Was it worth it and who would really want to live in the planet they were fighting over anyway? Wondering why they wouldn’t rather play than get hurt.
Well – I am happy to say that our son did get did tired of all those episodes back-to-back, and even before the full 20 episodes were done. He could see that the stories didn’t go anywhere; he began to wonder what they were fighting about; he noticed that they didn’t do anything else that’s fun. Just what we’d hoped. We extended this awareness and discussion about fighting robots, and other superheros and mechanical creatures using the same arguments.