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Scenery or DVDs? Parents Take Sides

Sunday, April 24, 2005; Page C02

More on whether DVD players for backseat passengers are a good idea:

Dear Dr. Gridlock:

I can sympathize with those who feel we are "anesthetizing" our children with DVD players in our vehicles. And I applaud those individuals who manage to happily raise their children on Mozart and Shakespeare on their way to Harvard at age 10.

However, I'm not sure exactly how much benefit there is in putting a child through the mind-numbing boredom of being strapped in a car seat for hours on end, with nothing to do but admire "the scenery."

Call me a lousy dad if you must, but if a Disney video helps pass the time, rather than staring at the back of my head, I can't get worked up about that.

I suggest that instead of demanding that a 5-year-old learn to control her boredom better, perhaps the adults driving the following car should work on the ability to control themselves from staring at a child's DVD and keep their eyes on the road.

Joe Graf


Dear Dr. Gridlock:

It appears there is no changing your mind regarding DVD players in vehicles, but I was impressed to see that there are others like me who think they're a horrible idea. We bought the only vehicle on the lot that didn't have one.

We've had several successful driving trips with our 1- , 3- and 5-year-olds.

This isn't meant to pick on the folks you went on vacation with, but I can't help but think people who pacify their kids while driving through a national park also allow the kids to dictate which restaurants to eat at, which I'd bet involve chicken nuggets, and be in charge of any other activities during the trip.

How could that possibly be a good vacation for all involved? Perhaps parents are trying to make peace, but they're missing the big picture -- called family time!

Tammi DeVan

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