Sunday Books: “Taming The Media Monster”

We are continuing our look at Thomas Poplawski’s book Completing The Circle by looking at the chapter entitled, “Taming The Media Monster”.  You can access this book for free here:

The author begins this chapter with the scenario of a kindergarten teacher discussing her Waldorf School’s media policy and the various reactions of parents who are divided into two camps – one thinking the policy is too extreme, too invasive and the other camp who thinks the policy is perfect.  He writes:

For parents who have never had their family’s media use called into question,
the idea of a media ban at home can seem extreme. This is especially true if they
are already used to using television and DVDs to keep the children occupied
when they want a moment of peace.A parent who makes a living from computers
or media entertainment is likely to react even more. “What do you mean it’s not
good for my child?”
Almost all parents today have grown up with television. Of course, the content
of television programming has changed, the amount children watch has increased,
and the advent of DVDs, tape players, and computers has thickened the brew.

According to this chapter, there have been a steady stream of studies regarding the adverse affects of media on children, and mentions that even the American Academy of Pediatrics asks parents to keep their children under the age of two screen free.  Yet, many parents born after 1965 are likely to let their children watch TV – presumably because we grew up with it.

He talks about the process of grief associated with unplugging the TV or other screens, which at first may seem funny and over the top.  However, when one reads the comments that a family doing this might say at each stage of grief, it seems very plausible and realistic!

The author talks about how long the “no media” policy should last…I mentioned in one of my “Pondering Portals” posts that many Waldorf Schools recommend the children be media free from kindergarten through grade five (so about 10 or 11 years of age).  In this chapter, the author mentions that many families start the judicious use of media between the ages of nine and twelve.  However, noted Master Waldorf teacher and author Roberto Trostli has noted that in his eighth grade classes the most imaginative and creative eighth graders are the ones with the least media exposure…and so the discussion continues.

Many blessings,


7 thoughts on “Sunday Books: “Taming The Media Monster”

  1. While I usually feel like a ‘lone wolf’ in this very media-lite house (no tv or dvds, occasional audio) I know it is worth the time and trouble for my children to keep media at bay!

  2. I thought it was interesting that the author mentions that parents working within the media industry are most likely to object to media restrictions. In my experience it has been the other way around. When my son attended a waldorf kindy, a large proportion of the parents worked in television, media and computer games, and they were there precisely because they wanted their own children to step away from all that. I think working in those industries often brings you up to the realities of screen hours on a daily basis, you are working with viewer statistics and reports on a regular basis. Its pretty hard to ignore or gloss over.

    • Armi,
      If you click books on the menu on the left on the Waldorf Library homepage, click ebooks on the next page and then go to the “C”s you will see “Completing the Circle.” Sorry the link doesn’t work.

  3. As a mother of two older children (nearly 21 and 16), I can attest to the fact that having no media exposure until age ten and then limited exposure for the next few years has been a great benefit to my children in one area more than any other: their ability to be present in the world: to notice and listen and observe. This, more than anything else, seems to be a basis for creativity. Also, both children, in their teens, were able to embrace and master the technology (as opposed to being mastered by it!). They are in no way “behind” their peers who began working with computers etc. much earlier.

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