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August 07 2004

Could watching Buffy be detrimental? Article in Asian paper regarding the increasing amount of teen TV junkies stating, "But if the kid spends hours watching drama serials for entertainment, that could be detrimental." Citing Buffy as the drama kids seem most obsessed about.

Buffy is not just entertainment, it's education about self-identity among other things - I don't feel it's detrimental at all
not detrimental, but certainly addictive.
but seriously,
"They spend 2.3 hours, or half of their total leisure time, glued to the tube"

psshh! that's nothing, they should worry when those kids start going for my record!
Oy is this from one of those countries where you get flogged for spitting on the sidewalk and where they consider Cosmopolitan 'porn'?

And I promise you most teenagers watch tv a LOT more than 2.3 hours a day.

This actually reminds me of the crap some people told my mother when I was young. They'd see me read comics and warn her to stop me from doing that because it would cause 'reading-laziness' (free translation from the dutch) and I would never be able to read normal books. Pretty much bullhonkey since I've been an avid comic reader all my life, as well as an avid novel reader. Big piles o' books all over the place. Always left me with a dislike for the "oooh that's bad for them".

Yes anything is bad when taken to extremes. Watching TV 10 hours a day would not be a good thing. Well so would reading about politics for 10 hours a day.

Sounds like a clear example of people not having a clue about the actual show, but just notice "those kids" watching and 'obsessing"...ooohhh must be wrong and detrimental since THEY didn't do that when they were young.

Ah time for bed, I'm crabby.
Hmm, I would even expand that example to say that spending X hours keeping up on politics a day is a lot worse than watching X hours of television (excluding policical news of course) per day. Being too interestd in politics tends to turn people into the types of people that tell everyone else what is bad for them.
Yes go and out and play with your friends. Stop being so passive for hours on end by watching TV.
So teens are watching genre TV more than they say they were 50 years ago.

Newsflash: today's generation are not going out starting wars. Today's generation are exposed to multi-cultural societies on the television, and do not grow up with strong racial and cultural prejudices like previous generations. Today's generation actually enjoy good stories and form communities, friendships and attend gatherings based on that.

I do really dislike it when people start complaining about the things other people enjoy doing. When your country is complaining about a generation enjoying themselves harmlessly, you know that Hitler's Rise to Power is just around the corner again.
"Being too interested in politics tends to turn people into the types of people that tell everyone else what is bad for them." - Caleb

That's on my shortlist for Favorite Whedonesque Quote Of The Year.
I agree with you Ed. People told my mother to "monitor" my reading habits when they saw me with a Heinlein or McCaffrey paperback. Supposed friends of hers who "knew better." My mom just laughed them off. To this day I read like crazy, when I find the time, and actually spend whole entire days with the tv off! (Especially now-a-days with the crap they're putting out)

People with no lives, or lives they wish they didn't have, spend waaayy too much time monitoring others. Who do they think they are, anyway? It's just a way to distract themselves from their own problems. Bleah.
Anyone getting the odd feeling we are closing in on the Max Headroom society though.
Somewhere around the fifth grade my school pricipal told my parents that I was reading too much. Bringing my book outside and reading instead of running around, jumping off stuff, like my classmates were doing caused him to make the call :) Since then I've also been wary of the "not good for you" bandwagons.
Yes RavenU I do. Scary. Even personal liberty is in question these days.

You know what really scared me? Those spiders in Minority Report. They frightened me because they seem SO CLOSE to a reality... our reality. Something can just crawl into your home and climb on you and look into your brain at any time. Brrrr!
Yes, lets crawl under our beds and hide from the big scary world. If we cover our eyes, it might go away. I'll protect my child against any force I deem bad, but I would let them see and explain what's bad. That's how children learn. The world is scary, but that's life. Insulationing the kids will do more harm than good.
There's worst things a kid could be doing than watching tv. At least you know where they are and what they are doing when they are home watching. And Buffy is a great show for kids to get into because of it's great themes and storylines. We live in a modern society with tvs, computers, Gameboys, etc and kids are going to take advantage of these luxuries. It's hard to compare what kids were doing 50 years ago because tv was kind of new and only a few stations to choose from, they didn't have the same temptations to keep them from being physical and active. So I don't think it's fair to now judge modern kids because they are less active. I try to encourage my kids to go out and be physical and that's the best I can do, they are at an age where it's up to them now but I tried guiding them as best I could when they were younger.

But, I'd rather have them home watching tv, surfing the net or playing with the Xbox than out getting into trouble somewhere because they are bored.
I think a lot of Americans are becoming more and more aware of the growing problem with children and obesity. Physical health would be the only reason I would encourage my child to turn off the tv for a bit and get some exercise. But then, it would behoove me to go right outside with my kid and play too, because God knows adult obesity and laziness is at an all time high too! However, I tend to think kids in Singapore probably don't have the obesity problem to the extent we have it in the US.

Of course there are shows that kids shouldn't watch, for any amount of time. You should monitor that, that's being a parent. There's a certain age of children who shouldn't be watching Buffy. But it seems this article is more concerned about the amount of time, rather than the content. And yeah, if these kids have such stressful school lives(my American high school by comparison was a breeze and I never had homework) and obligations, the should be allowed a bit of relaxation time. Not forced physical exertion. I mean, how many times when a parent tells their kid to go outside and 'do something', does the kid just end up sitting under a tree being bored out of their skull because it's not what they want to be doing. Might as well let them sit in front of the tv, watching something that might feed their imagination. And for some kids, watching Discovery Channel could be just as boring as sitting under a tree. You shouldn't send your kid to school, make them do 2 or 3 hours of homework, then make them watch educational shows. That's not being a kid!

And I'd like to see his 'cases' of kids who became obsessed or affected by Buffy. I mean, I have been both at one time or another in the past couple of years, but I'm wondering what his 'cases' would show or prove. Did one of the kids stake their parents through the heart or something? Or would they say that perhaps visiting a site like Whedonesque is a symptom of a Buffy obsession???

Ah, blah....this debate will never go away. It just gets rehashed in one form or another when our societies swing back more conservative.
I think any amount of Buffy influence is just frickin' great. One of my son's heroes is a young, strong woman! What does that say about his future girlfriend or wife choices? Who knows, but it sure makes me proud of his thought patterns, and I'm glad that he chooses to see her as powerful and heroic, because she is.
My kids when they were really little used to go out and pretend to be the Power Rangers and when they got older they'd play Buffy. It was quite physical play too with all the running around jumping and staking of imaginary vampires. They quite often played characters that they saw on TV which gave them more incentive to get outside and run around.

I agree that Buffy isn't for all kids and anything your kids watch should be monitored. A lot of my kids friends were watching Buffy at a very young age but I wouldn't let mine watch until I felt they were old enough to understand some of the themes. Or if a particular show was going to have subject that I thought they were too young for they weren't allowed to watch that particular episode. And when they did watch, I always watched with them so we could talk about it too. I did a lot of watching the show without them and taping it, and if I thought it was okay, they'd be allowed to watch it the next day.

Watching Buffy with my girls opened up a lot of opportunities for good conversation and what's right and wrong. Like the episode with the Jeckyl and Hyde boyfriend who one moment was all loving and the next moment abusive. It was a great chance for me to talk with them about relationships and how you should be treated and what was appropriate and what wasn't.

And getting outdoors and playing is important too but like Rogue Slayer said, if they are just going to go out and sit under a tree and be bored, what's the point of that? We'd go out and play with our kids and have fun with them. I've had some health issues the last few years and haven't been able to do that as much but we recently got a trampoline and if I go out and jump on it, my kids sure enough want to use it too. We used to make them go on hikes with us when they were younger. My oldest would complain the whole ride to where ever we were going but as soon as we got there she always had a blast and would enjoy herself. A little prodding is good sometimes!

And I am very obsessed with Buffy, just love the show and can't get enough of the verse but it's a good obsession and it's fun to share with my kids. It isn't hurting us or anyone else and it's been a lot of fun.
Ive been watching Buffy fm the beginning with my daughters and my youngest son and if anything they enjoyed even now when we sit and watch the DVDs. I am 49 yrs old right now and I as well as my kids will be diehard Buffy fans. Detrimental Please its a wicked indulgence.
blwessels that's exactly how I've enjoyed it with my son. Some of them taped first, then maybe allowed to watch, but for the most part, it's been great watching it together, talking about it, collecting, joking, and all the other ways you can enjoy this fantastic show.

And I agree about being obsessed, but who cares? Like you said, it isn't hurting anyone, helps even, and its just great fun.
Arguing that something is detrimental is the fall-back for magazine writers on a deadline. Next thing you know they'll be saying my coffee and cigarettes are detrimental.
Well, being that I just turned fifteen and I hang out with other fifteen-year olds, I think I can safely say we do not spend THAT much time watching television. In fact, most of my peers don't have time to watch television between doing homework, practicing instruments, playing sports, babysitting, and etc. And during that time we could be watching t.v. we, for instance, go dancing.

Sure, not all teenagers are physically active and would rather watch televsion or read or write and so on, but you can't make someone do something they don't want to--I think that's already been established.
Anyone who watches Buffy is hardly doing something detrimental. Buffy is arguably the best TV show of all time. Josh Whedon is perhaps the first person to truly utilize the medium of TV in all its most positive aspects; he could be the first true genius of the medium. The show combines drama, comedy, horror, and adventure (often combining some or all of these aspects) in a way that is entertaining, both viscerally, emotionally, and intellectually. Though it deals with a fantasy world, its characters act more like real people than any in sitcoms and most in dramas.

To my mind Joss Whedon is attempting to make great art (though I'm sure he's to modest to characterize it this way). Spending some time with great art is always mind expanding and beneficial. It expands the horizons of your life, allows you to see things in new ways, makes life worth living.
I remember reading that the average American watches 8 hours of television per day. If this statistic is true at all, it's gotta be that the average American leaves their TV on for 8 hours a day; otherwise, that's like half a day (not counting sleep).
Yeah, I've never really agreed with any of the statistics. As a 17 year old, I can agree with what MalloryM is saying. There's never really any time to spend infront of the television and even when there is.. it's not like we spend THAT much time watching t.v. Television has actually become pretty boring.
bjarmson: I have to put a word in for Dennis Potter ("Singing Detective", "Pennies from Heaven", "Blue Remembered Hills", "Brimstone and Treacle" et al. et al.) as the "first true genius" of T.V. - the way he used dialogue, score, overlapping plotlines, in many different genres from the 1960s onward, he made the screen expand to the size of a small moon. And anyone who would name the cancer that would ultimately kill him "Rupert" (to spite Rupert Murdoch) must be worthy of endearment to us Whedon-lovers. :)

But, natch, Joss is worthy of the name genius.
I have to say it is easy to get addicted to Buffy (speaking as a fourteen yr old girl who practically locked herself in her lounge room for three weeks while she watched the first five seasons) but I certaintly don't think its a bad influence, it makes me think and it's way better than other TV shows (although I only watch one other TV show at the moment which is on for an hour a week, so I may not be qualified to say that.)I think the article has a point and i don't really disagree with it but i don't care cause i heart my Buffy addiction.

That's on my shortlist for Favorite Whedonesque Quote Of The Year.

oh! there's a quote of the year? will you tell me what wins?

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