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Workshop #12 High Technology: Uses and Abuses

post #1 of 30
Thread Starter 
Workshop #12 High Technology: Uses and Abuses

Welcome to our Twelfth Natural Family Living discussion: Wholesome Family Entertainment; This discussion will key in on
Part 5 – Family Matters from Peggy O’Mara’s book Natural Family Living.


Some of the topics we'll discuss are;


Chapter 18 - High Technology: Uses and Abuses


Television: The Boob Tube?
  • Television Can Stifle the Imagination
  • Television Can Harm Intellectual Development
  • Television Contributes to a Violent View of The World
  • Television Can Frighten Children
  • Television Promotes Consumerism

Smart Family Television Habits
  • Limit Television Viewing
  • Substitute Other Activities
  • Watch With Them

Becoming Media-Literate

Choosing Quality Children's Videos and CD-ROMS
  • Make sure videos are age appropriate

The Brave New World of the Internet
  • Interactive Shopping Mall
  • Selling Alcohol and Tobacco to Minors

Internet Rules for Kids
  • Protect your identity
  • Be cautious of email from strangers
  • Never agree to meet someone you corresponded with online

Internet Guidelines for Parents

Best of the Net for Kids

Internet As A Parenting Tool





Please join us in discussion on High Technology: Uses and Abuses. We welcome everyone to share their personal experiences, what works for your family, your struggles and your ideas. This is an open dialog and we ask that everyone be respectful of others' opinions. Take what feels right to you and leave the rest behind. Please be respectful to all our members so that the workshop can be a place of meaningful and respectful discussion for all our members. If you have a favorite quote from Natural Family Living, please share it.

We would like to invite everyone to join us no matter where you are in your thinking or feelings. These discussions are meant to be nonjudgmental so please keep in mind when reading members' responses that this is a true discussion based on Natural Family Living and not a place to debate or criticize. For more ideas and information, please see our Parenting or Ages and Stages and Family Safety.

We’re excited to offer this workshop and hope it will give our members a glimpse into the grassroots of Mothering magazine and Natural Family Living.

This workshop will be facilitated by Abimommy. They are here to guide the discussion and keep it on topic. They will occasionally post references or ask questions to keep the conversation flowing. Please feel free to contact them at any time with questions, suggestions or concerns. Please keep in mind our workshop guidelines and current user agreement at all times.

We are compiling a Natural Family Living Resources Sticky which we will update with each workshop. Please feel free to refer to it for more information.
post #2 of 30
It took a long time for me to get over the mama guilt I had with having a child who LOVES TV. I never thought I would have a child who would watch television. We don't even own a television - she watches all of her shows on my computer from DVDs we rent from the library. We started with using the television to help my toddler agree to brushing teeth when she was about a year old. Television may not be the most enriching activity for a toddler, but I figured it HAD to be better than holding her down and brushing her teeth. She still only starts watching TV when she brushes teeth (though now only if she asks), but she finishes a whole show (or two or three); some days she watches no tv. Some days she watches a couple of hours. We have decided to not limit how much television she watches. We want to help her learn to regulate her own television use - self-regulation is a very good skill and it was easier for me to let go of TV first than food. I make sure she has other options. Sometimes when I'm freaking out about how long she's been watching TV, I set up her painting supplies or bring out some books. If she chooses not to do whatever activity I've offered, it helps reassure me that she's choosing to watch a show because she's engaged in it and not out of boredom. Because she's two, I still have a lot of control over what she watches. Mostly it's Blues Clues and Signing Time. One book that really helped me pick developmentally appropriate shows was a book called Into the Minds of Babes, a book about toddlers and television. I really like checking the DVDs out through the library, since it makes it easy to skip any commercials that might be on the DVDs (and most do not have commercials/"pre-views"). I also sit with her the first time we watch any episode of a show. I think it helps her learn more when we have a discussion about what we are watching. Also, because my kiddo is only two, she only develops a liking for shows I introduce - she doesn't yet choose movies I haven't previously offered. If I'm watching a show with her and I think it's problematic for any reason, I just don't offer the movie again. In addition to making toothbrushing a lot easier, I do think that she actually has learned a lot of ASL vocabulary and her shapes, colors, letters, and numbers through her exposure to television - among probably other skills. Not that I think she wouldn't have learned those skills anyway, but I do think that as long as one has a realistic understanding of what television *can* teach toddlers, it can be used as a teaching tool - an inferior teaching tool to real life interaction, of course - but a teaching tool nonetheless.
post #3 of 30
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post #5 of 30
I'll be back to comment tonight.
post #6 of 30
I agree with boigrrrlwonder. TV can certainly be used appropriately as a learning tool.
I didn't get to watch much TV till I was a teenager, when my parents got a bit more lax about TV rules. As kids we got to watch loony toons, Disney movies, nature documentaries, and stuff like Reading Rainbow (best show ever! ). Basically my parents tried to limit our TV consumption to high quality, age-appropriate programs in very small amounts. We also never just turned on the TV because we were bored. We knew a program would be on at a certain time, turned the TV on then, and turned it off afterwards. Commercials were muted.
As a result I read A LOT as a kid and also played computer games (educational ones). I am also very much more sensitive to the environmental/mental effects of having a TV on all the time than my friends and DP who grew up with that. This makes it harder for me to concentrate on anything if the TV is on and also causes me to become more overwhelmed by too much going on in my environment. One could argue for or against being desensitized to TV stimuli but I tend to think it's better to remain sensitive to its effects. DP, who grew up with the TV on ALL THE TIME has major boredom issues that I don't have. Of course, this could be a personality thing too but I think becoming used to constant stimulation at a young age could certainly make it harder to be mentally and physically still, or to be active in entertaining yourself, not just waiting to be entertained.
I would hope to provide a similar environment for my kids as I had as a kid. At the moment, our TV is not working so we haven't watched it for over a year, using my laptop for movies and games. I hope not to use the TV at all anymore actually because it's so easy to just turn it on and stare at it for hours. Self-regulation is hard, even for adults, and even for adults who are used to TV like DP. TV just has this numbing, lethargizing effect for us and so for us (and for our kids I think) it's better to just avoid it altogether. If we don't use the TV, our children won't be introduced to the idea of it. I'd rather show select programs on the computer from as late of an age as I can manage to get away with.
post #7 of 30
Thread Starter 
Like your DP my family always had the TV on when I was growing up and I find I have less tolerance for it now. I tend not to like a lot of background noise going on.
post #8 of 30
Thread Starter 
One thing I have noticed lately is that is seems like there is a lot more inappropriate content in commercials.

I have seen a lot of commercials for scary movies, and it isn't even late.

I have also noticed a lot of vulgar commercials for male enhancement products.

This is not even mentioning the recent Burger King commercials
post #9 of 30
When My DD was a baby I was not anti TV. I was not into tons of TV and I was not going to introduce TV until she was 2. However, I really couldn't wait to show her sesame street and Mr. Rogers. I have fond memories of those shows and wanted to watch through new eyes.
Well I cheated a little and introduced SS around 18 or 19 mos and I saw an almost immediate change in my DD.
she was mesmerized in a scary way...she was not interacting and singing and enjoying (Frankly though to me there wasn't much to enjoy anymore as Sesame street had turned into nothing but an Elmo show. It was terrible. ) She was sucked in and her behavior changed. It really freaked me out so I ended the TV watching. Neither of my kids watches TV but we do movies now.
I am not really into letting them even watch as many as they do, (which is approximately 3x a week ) but I work at night and those are the nights my DH puts the movies in for them.
I still think DD gets affected by media but DS not at all (Or not that I notice) but I can't stop it all..try as I might
Also my DH is the poster child for product placement so if the kids are into a particular movie he gets so gung ho on getting them all the toys and crap that is out there...I have to reel him in because we don't have the money but sometimes he gets them on freecycle or "on sale" but he still loves buying all that stuff. At the moment my shower curtain is Lightening Mcqueen themed b/c it was on clearance when Linens and things went out of business
post #10 of 30

Technology I love...

I love Youtube. My kids have seen Dr. Martin Luther king's speech. we play every eyar on MLK day (though they don't fully appreciate it I like the tradition of it)
We use Youtube a lot and i can choose a nice short video to either introduce a subject or show exactly what I mean when trying to to explain something..I often say, "Let's look it up on youtube"
The one downside to youtube is that without my guidance my kids could easily see something inappropriate..I have accidentally licked on videos that turned out NOT to be what I thought they were and had to exit very quickly.

I also like starfall and for better or worse I like Webkinz (Although the marketing strategy has me really irritated ; otherwise my kids really like them and my kids got some great typing skills using it.
post #11 of 30
I am sooo glad this topic was chosen.

My oldest is now 7 yrs old, and he mentions from time to time that his classmates are on MSN chat, or that so-and-so is playing XYZ on their Nintendo DS. DS1 is allowed to play computer games that he's found on www.agame.com. Prior to this, he was on a more educational website, uptoten.

We don't have a TV at home, and borrow DVDs or watch stuff about animals on YouTube with DS1. I do notice, to my chagrin, more and more kids toting around their Nintendo DS to restaurants to zone out and keep boredom at bay. Whatever happened to inventing games or reading a book?

I have two questions, first one: How have families with older kids managed in controlling time and access to the computer? We only have one, which DH and I need for e-mail correspondence and other volunteer projects.

Second question: I suspect school assignments will come into the picture in a year or two, requiring research--perhaps on the internet. How do you help your kids to become critical learners in evaluating the credibility of a website that they plan to use in a school project?
post #12 of 30
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by FelixMom View Post

I have two questions, first one: How have families with older kids managed in controlling time and access to the computer? We only have one, which DH and I need for e-mail correspondence and other volunteer projects.
I think this is a really interesting issue.

I think a lot of people are technologically naive in a way that can be really dangerous in some situations. Kids could not only have access to inappropriate content but no telling who they could be talking to.

I play a MMORPG with my sister occasionally and we are often startled by the things kids do or say on there.

Quote:
Second question: I suspect school assignments will come into the picture in a year or two, requiring research--perhaps on the internet. How do you help your kids to become critical learners in evaluating the credibility of a website that they plan to use in a school project?
I think that is something that they will gradually start to pick up on over time. One can discuss different articles and how they are addressed, if the articles seem to be pushing a certain "agenda" which might affect their credibility.

While there is an increase to using websites over printed materials going on, in my opinion the bias in websites is really MUCH more blatant than it often is in print materials, even those printed materials that are known to hold certain ideologies (I am referring to both sides of the spectrum here, not pointing fingers at all )

I do think recognizing propaganda is an important skill. But one has to read it to learn to recognize it.
post #13 of 30
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by hipumpkins View Post
When My DD was a baby I was not anti TV. I was not into tons of TV and I was not going to introduce TV until she was 2. However, I really couldn't wait to show her sesame street and Mr. Rogers. I have fond memories of those shows and wanted to watch through new eyes.
Well I cheated a little and introduced SS around 18 or 19 mos and I saw an almost immediate change in my DD.
she was mesmerized in a scary way...she was not interacting and singing and enjoying (Frankly though to me there wasn't much to enjoy anymore as Sesame street had turned into nothing but an Elmo show. It was terrible. )
I have some of the old SS DVDs and Muppets DVDs, you could probably rent some from the library. I love those silly songs. Kids love the Elmo but it just doesn't engage them the same as it used to.
post #14 of 30
Thanks but she's 6.5 now I think we did watch some old ones on youtube when she was around 4 or so.
post #15 of 30
This is an awesome topic - something that DH and I talk about all the time. DD is almost 2 and we've managed to keep her nearly TV-free. DH and I don't watch TV, so it's never on at the house (except once a week during college football season - DH loves his team). The only time it's on at all is for DVDs, but that's after DD has gone to bed at night.

The hardest part about being TV-free - and keeping your child TV-free – is that virtually no one else sees the harm in letting a small child watch TV. It's hard when she goes over to a trusted relative's house for a few hours (or they come to ours) so DH and I go out. They almost always turn on the TV at some point and have her sit and watch something with them. Yes, it's only the Lawrence Welk Show or American Idol. But it still bothers me because they know we don't let her watch TV. I've really had to work hard to let it go, especially since it only happens once every couple of months.
post #16 of 30
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by spmamma View Post
This is an awesome topic - something that DH and I talk about all the time. DD is almost 2 and we've managed to keep her nearly TV-free. DH and I don't watch TV, so it's never on at the house (except once a week during college football season - DH loves his team). The only time it's on at all is for DVDs, but that's after DD has gone to bed at night.

The hardest part about being TV-free - and keeping your child TV-free – is that virtually no one else sees the harm in letting a small child watch TV. It's hard when she goes over to a trusted relative's house for a few hours (or they come to ours) so DH and I go out. They almost always turn on the TV at some point and have her sit and watch something with them. Yes, it's only the Lawrence Welk Show or American Idol. But it still bothers me because they know we don't let her watch TV. I've really had to work hard to let it go, especially since it only happens once every couple of months.
That can be very difficult.

My own child was about 4 when she repeated the details of an extremely disturbing news story that involved a brutal murder.

When I was studying journalism we discussed desensitization pretty extensively and the effects it can have. I don't usually watch the news because much of it is sensationalist and violent.

I had a long discussion with my ILs to the effect that I would prefer the news not be on while she is in the room.

I think this is a situation in which one has to "pick their battles" Lawrence Welk might be ok, but I would very much object to the news or some of the other junk that is on TV.

I haven't seen American Idol? Does it have inappropriate content?
post #17 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by abimommy View Post
That can be very difficult.

My own child was about 4 when she repeated the details of an extremely disturbing news story that involved a brutal murder.
Oh, geez. That's the kind of thing I'm afraid of. DD is only 2 (almost) so I know she can't repeat what she's watching, but I worry about what she would absorb if she saw something like that. Fortunately, as far as I can tell, the family members who watch her haven't turned on the news when she's been in their care.

Quote:
Originally Posted by abimommy View Post
I think this is a situation in which one has to "pick their battles" Lawrence Welk might be ok, but I would very much object to the news or some of the other junk that is on TV.

I haven't seen American Idol? Does it have inappropriate content?
You know, to be honest I can't honestly say what American Idol is like since I've never watched the show. We don't watch TV in our home, so I'm fairly tuned out from stuff like that. I'm fairly certain that it's harmless, though, once you get past the "let's insult the people who have no talent" portion of the show, which seems to be in the early weeks of the season.
post #18 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by spmamma View Post
You know, to be honest I can't honestly say what American Idol is like since I've never watched the show. We don't watch TV in our home, so I'm fairly tuned out from stuff like that. I'm fairly certain that it's harmless, though, once you get past the "let's insult the people who have no talent" portion of the show, which seems to be in the early weeks of the season.
But then there's the commercials throughout, even if the show is fine.
post #19 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by jessjgh1 View Post
But then there's the commercials throughout, even if the show is fine.
You're so right. Not only do you have to worry about the appropriateness of what they're selling (ads for violent or sexual TV shows, etc.) but you have to combat the marketing angles.

Not allowing my daughter to watch TV isn't just about ensuring that she's not watching things that are too grown up for her, but I'm trying really hard to avoid all of the marketing ploys. Everything on TV is designed to make your child want to beg you to buy them something... whether it's the characters on the shows themselves or the toys, food and other products pushed in the commercial breaks.
post #20 of 30
Our kids don't watch TV/play video games/ use internet (they are 2 and 4 yrs).
Once in a while they watch sesame street at my MIL's house or a friends. I say ut doesn't bother me, but I wish they could just be interactong instead of watching TV.
We tried limiting TV but found it too easy to use it as a babysitter.
We do books on tape or let the kids play in the front yard (supervised) instead.
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