I just had an old friend from University pop over with his wife and two small children. They were here for a quick visit because they were passing through from their camping trip up country back to Vancouver. I was pleases and delighted having them as guests, especially after not seeing them for so long. Dave, just completed his PhD in communications, a liberal arts degree that stems off from Sociology, Psychology and Criminology. He was eager to start his new job and start packing to move down to the States to start teaching. It was so good to see my old friend from the classroom, and talk about the old days and some of the moments that we had while on campus. His wife and two lovely children were just as much fun to talk to as they heard all about me, and they wanted me to share all the stories that I had about Dave. It is weird that from my perspective only five years has passed since, yet for his children, it was the whole world.
Dave told me about some of the childrearing exercises that he and his wife are deploying with their children. When they watch the television, they play a game called “Beat the Bad Ads,” a fun and interactive game where whenever a commercial airs between the programing, they hit the mute button with the remote and sing the “Potatoes song.” I’m sot sure what the Potatoes song is, but it is designed to become part of the interactiveness of switching off the nonsense that plays out between the “dead” time during the program.
Now, Dave was also responsible for creating the “Compression-Limiter” for the TV that allows the volume to lower when the commercial content airs. The technology is very simple, and works on the assumption that commercials play louder than the viewable content; therefore, when the commercial plays, at the increased decibel level, the Compression-Limiter activates automatically and cuts the volume by a clipping effect. The result is an automatic distortion of the audio throughout the two minute of none-program. Clever I thought to myself.
Anyways, to train your children to become activist is an interesting concept without becoming antisocial or confrontational. After all, they are ones with whom you are trying to protect from the advertising and corporatism that bombards us a thousand times per day. Now, already Dave has told me that he has heard several other parents disagreeing with his methods, ironically from parents who seem to have children fully endowed with corporate ads all over their clothing, but this does phase him. The determination in Dave’s methods are teaching his children tools that will better equip them to deal with social pressures and become responsible consumers. I was just as amazed to find that there other parents caring more about his children that their own? Who needs help?
So, two thumbs up for “Beat the Bad Ads!” This could be part of a teaching model soon.