Too Much “Info”

We do not have the cable. Our television has two wires on top of it in the form of an antenna. Sometimes it’s dressed in foil. We decided to try and live without cable for a few months when we bought this house… 3 years ago. Once you go without that bill for a while it’s just so hard to justify adding it in again. Do I really need to watch reruns of Trading Spaces whenever I’m a wee bit bored? Do I need it $40 worth? Am I enjoying reading books and you know, having a life?

So we stuck with our rabbit ears. When we heard that the digital transition was coming, we got our magic box and waited. When it finally happened, we lost channel NINE! THE PBS WAS NO LONGER WITH US! Channel 9 is our favorite channel not only for the great documentaries, motivational speakers and antiques road show, but also because it has cartoons the kids can watch and learn something from with no offensive content and no obnoxious commercials.

Well the digital box didn’t pick up PBS but it did pick up a station playing reruns of the A-Team and Airwolf and one that seems to play Dances with Wolves about half the time. There was also a cartoon station called Qubo that I was excited for. It could be just like PBS in the mornings only different.

The difference comes in the lesser quality of the programs and the fact that it’s chock full of commercials and not just commercials but annoying obnoxious commercials about selling all of your spare gold to make a fortune or infomercials about fabulous must-have beauty products.

I left the kids watching Qubo for the first time and went upstairs to take a shower. When I got back, Laylee was bursting at the seams.

“I just saw the BEST. COMMERCIAL. EVER!”

“Oh yeah?”

She then proceeded to describe a magical product she had discovered called something like “Heel Magic.”

“It’s a kind of a stick that you rub against your feet and it takes off all the cracked dead skin and yucky stuff. You can have perfect smooth feet. Dad can use it. You can use it. We can all use it and our feet will be beautiful!

“It only costs $20 and it comes with a nail file and all this other free stuff!”

“Wow. That’s pretty cool,” I said.

“But it gets better. If you order NOW, it only costs $10! I mean $20 is pretty good but $10 is practically nothing.”

I told Laylee seriously, “You know I hate those kinds of commercials. They always make the stuff they’re selling look way better than it really is. I’m sure that magic heel stick really isn’t as good as they say it is.”

“Yeah. You’re probably right. But imagine if it WERE. Then we’d buy it for sure.” She looked dreamy.

So, um, no unsupervised Qubo watching for now. My kids are just way too easily shaped by the media they see. And besides, Dan figured out which direction to point our antenna and pick up channel nine. We have to sacrifice one of the major network stations to get nine but it’s not hurting us any and the kids are back to learning to read via the magical blue box of light.

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16 Responses to Too Much “Info”

  1. Amber says:

    We only let our kids watch PBS too, on Saturday mornings when they stumble on network cartoons they spew all sorts of info, Just like little recording devices. “Mom! Did you know sketchers make you go fast on the playground!”

    Thank goodness for PBS right?!!

  2. Kerrie says:

    OK, so this is no heel stick ad but…my company just published this awesome online game by PBS called PBS KIDS PLAY! It hits store shelves soon and it comes with a three-month subscription. Basically, it’s online educational games for kids 3-6 featuring PBS Kids characters like Curious George. There’s also more than 100 episodes of PBS Kids shows on there. It has this progress chart for parents, too, so you can see what your kids have worked on, and it’s a safe introduction to the computer.

    Anyway, I wish I had one I could give away on my blog, but we’re just the box designers — PBS does all the marketing and stuff. So look for it soon!

  3. Mari says:

    My son LOVES those commercials-he convinced me to get those Green Bags that keep your fruits and veggies longer-I saw them at Target. Good buy!
    He’s trying to convince me to get this toothpaste thingy that hangs on the mirror and an herb garden that is under this globe thingy. He’ll have to keep working on me for those. I’m tough.

  4. Carrie says:

    I would die without channel 9. I live for the 9-10 AM hour when Ethan watches Super Why and Clifford. It’s my only hope for coffee and breakfast. Oddly enough though, since the digital transition, it’s the channel that comes in worst (a little fuzzy) even though I live all of 2 blocks from the channel 9 location. You would really think the signal could make it that far!

    Glad you found the station again. Hope you’re feeling well!

  5. Allison says:

    I did a post just like this on my blog last week! (except you’re a better writer than me) We’re a no-cable house, too, but fortunately the PBS survived the switchover. We did get Qubo, too, though, and my kids have consequently spent hours hitting me up for Heel Magic and the Magic Hanger and Gold Envelope, among many other wonderful and Magical things. My 8 year old actually asked me, “Are you bothered by toothpaste messes on the counters?” Yeah, hate the Qubo.

    You’re a better mom than me, though, for simply banning it. I keep threatening, but so far we’ve stuck. Mostly because we’re in the first weeks of summer and the kids are suffering from there’s-nothing-to-do syndrome and I’m terrified of the riots that will ensue as soon as the, as you say, magical blue box of light is turned off.

  6. Andrea says:

    haha. For some reason our kids station has normal commercials before 7. So the odd day my 5 yr old watches tv then, I too get all kinds of marketing information. She once told me about the acne cream we needed. Oh- and did you know there are diapers for babies that crawl? We need those too. Drives me crazy. But at least it’s more normal than your commercials. not that heal cream is not normal…. lol.

  7. Heather says:

    They have GREAT heel graters at Dollar Tree! Go pick on up one for each of you…and live in bliss!!

  8. Marjorie says:

    You are so right on about how just one commercial so quickly gets into a kid’s head. It’s somewhat horrifying…

    I know what you mean about not missing cable. When I forgot to reschedule an appointment with the cable guy, nine years ago, that was it. It really didn’t matter much after all.

    I’m usually the oddball who doesn’t get CNN or HGTV. Glad to see you other oddballs out there, too… 🙂

  9. Marian says:

    My kids totally get into any infomercial they happen upon in life. It’s like they’ve been given a SECRET INSIDER TIP!!! And WE”RE SO LUCKY ‘CUZ WE KNOW ABOUT IT!!!

    We live in a hilly/mountainous region. At our last house we got exactly 3 channels without cable, which we just went with. (One of them was PBS!) At our current house of 10 years, we get a big fat nothin’ but fuzz without cable, no matter what you do. We got cable. Somehow there’s just a huge difference between 3 and 0.

  10. bon says:

    Yep… we have a similar amount of Tv for similar reasons. Every now and again the kids will get hold of the remote and watch something AMAZING! Just recently: the MAGIC! BULLET!!

    Yikes! I am tempted to try and find a “Magic Bullet” second hand just as an instructional tool. “This is the product ON! TV! And this is the product in. real life.”

  11. bon says:

    Of course… this means that when TLC airs it’s show “Your Kid Ate WHAT?” I will have to get one of my friends with cable to tape it so’s we can watch the part where they tell the story of when my daughter swallowed that sequin. Ah well.

  12. Beck says:

    PBS is our favorite. Of course, we have to have a gigantic cable package to even get it – and without cable, we would have… no channels at all. Sad but true!

  13. Wendy says:

    my child is also totally thrilled with these commercials! mommy! only 4 payments of $40! mommy, you have to be 18! are you 18, mommy??!

  14. kittyhox says:

    Yes, we’re pretty much exclusive to PBS and we plan to cancel our cable and use the digital antenna we purchased two months ago, if only we can figure out how to affix it to our roof. I’m extremely worried about the prospect of no PBS kids!

    My husband left our son for a few minutes watching something fairly innocent on Nick or Nicholodean and came back to find a cartoon of a kid in a dentist chair with screams and some kind of (blood?) splatter on the wall.

    Just PERFECT for a three year old who is already terrified beyond terrified of the dentist, doctor, hair cutter, etc.

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