August 15, 2011

Death to TiVo

He's cute, don't let him fool you
I know this is wrong of me to say this, but TiVo has made my life a living hell.  Now don't get me wrong, I love the DVR, I couldn't live without it, and I really have no idea how I survived watching TV before it existed.  In many ways it's the greatest invention of our time, I mean who really wants to sit through commercials and the annoying parts of reality television.  Just get to the good stuff and lets go. Do I need to see Neil Lane and his overpriced diamonds?  I just want to know who the Bachelorette picks, I know you are with me on that.  Half hour shows are now 22 minutes long.  You don't need me to tell you how awesome it is, or how it works, everyone loves the DVR.

That's a lot of tuna fish
But I have to say it's not all peaches and rose petals though.  My kids have no idea what life was like before this invention, so they only know that they can get their show, whenever they want.   That's fine, but the problem that I am having is that they think everything works that way. They want a piece of candy that I don't have, they think it will magically appear out of thin air.  They want a snack out of the pantry, well they can get anything they want on TV, why not any food that they want. My pantry needs to work as some sort of Digital Food Processor. There is no concept of me not having what they want WHEN THEY WANT IT.

You see what I mean?  Kids nowadays are spoiled.

Snow was even on the TVs
I fear that the DVR is slowly becoming this generations walk to school. How may times have we heard the story from an older relative about walking to school uphill both ways in knee deep snow.  By the way did you not learn anything in school?  You could have just walked through Mrs. Johnson's yard and cut that walk in half.  But you see where I am coming from, we had a lot to endure when we were kids: knobs on our TVs disguised as furniture, things called rabbit ears, and the VCR.  Now the VCR was only used is special occasions like watching the Bad News Bears or Smokey and the Bandit and the only thing that was ever recorded on it was Professional bowling.  That left us watching whatever was on the Glass Sandwich of Love at the time we wanted to watch it.  So I was forced to watch Quantum Leap at 8:00 on Wednesday.  One time per week and that was it!  I know, I was a loser, but somehow I survived.

Could you even imagine kids nowadays having to suffer the torment that we went through?

Oh, what we had to go through
This all brings me to my point. With things like DVR's, Netflix, and On Demand, we get what we want NOW. They want Johnny Test, poof there he is with his Turbo Charged Backpack.  Phineas and Ferb? Certainly.  What about Scooby Doo?  Sure here he is with his meddling friends.  What could be worse for kids nowadays then being forced to wait for something?  Could you even imagine your kid coming up to you asking for milk, and having to tell them that you don't get any until Thursday at 8:00?  I mean when I was a kid if I wanted milk I had to go find the nearest cow, and milk it.  In the snow no less.

John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?



  1. Interesting to think about how the instantaneous digital culture will affect the new generation. This made me think of portable devices, too. Remember when we were kids and when we were waiting for something--a restaurant table, a theme park ride, a movie to start--we freaking WAITED? Now, kids will jump on their cell phone or iPod and play games, talk to their friends, listen to music, whatever. I remember making up games with my family when we were stuck waiting somewhere. Now waiting is about disengaging from your actual surroundings and going virtual. I'm just as guilty as anyone of this, and pull out my phone whenever I have to wait, but I wonder about the implications of all that, too.

  2. I actually like the kids menus you get at restaurants. They have connect the dots, a maze, some coloring, and that old dots game. Actually gets kids away from technology for a couple if minutes anyway.

  3. Great post! The famous "Marshmallow Experiment" indicates that the ability to delay gratification is positively correlated with a variety of "successes" later in life. See

    So, it's interesting to ponder whether the increasingly on-demand world is undermining our ability to teach kids to resist their instant-gratification inclinations.

    Since I'm a geek at heart, I love the progress in on-demand delivery and the associated benefits. So, I'm gonna say that parents are just gonna have to step up their game and find new ways to teach kids to defer gratification.

    Some more articles/references on kids and delaying gratification here:

  4. Never heard of that marshmallow thing... All I know is that if my kids want one it better be in my pantry. It's been hard to teach them to understand that you can't have everything you want at the moment you want it. It definitely has been a struggle sometimes.

  5. Great post. I feel the same way about our DVR. We only have one, in the living room. My toddler doesn't understand that the other tv in the house doesn't have the DVR so he wants his Blues Clues/Chuggington/Mickey Mouse Clubhouse when he wants it!

  6. ONE DVR??? What do you live in the Stone Age? You probably still drive a Model T?! LOL

  7. Maybe this is why they have the Disney Vault - to teach our kids some patience. I had a hard time getting my 4yo to understand why I can't produce Aladdin for her on TV. The concept of waiting for it to come on TV someday and taping it just didn't get through.