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Does anyone else not mind if their young child watches TV?

post #1 of 103
Thread Starter 
I guess I'm another one of those parents who is supposed to believe she is harming her child by letting the child watch TV. You know...obesity, ADHD, aggression, all the sex and violence...

I'm sure I'm not the only one here who doesn't see anything wrong with letting her child watch PBS or some Disney videos. She's been watching TV since she was 18 mos old. It all started when she broke her leg and we turned on the TV so she would be occupied by something that would encourage her to sit still. Later it just became a habit. She had some shows she liked and we didn't want to take them away just because it was TV.

I grew up without TV until I was 13, and I think it was fine. My mom thinks it's why I learned to read when I was 3; there was nothing else to do. I didn't start watching shows regularly until I was 22; now of course I love them and wouldn't give them up! I figure if I'm not going to give up my TV shows, I can't ask dd to give up hers.

She mostly sticks to the PBS kids shows and some videotapes we have of Teletubbies. She also likes that show Zoom and we tape it for her if she's asleep. She asks if we can do the cooking and art things they have on the show. We've been renting the Disney classics, and once we rented Jurassic Park because she was into dinosaurs. She loved it! (She's almost 3, btw.)

She doesn't watch the more "mainstream" cartoons that have all the ads. She likes to watch The Simpsons, but we stopped watching South Park while she was still up because she was picking up on the language. She does watch PBS every morning and I do use that time to get work done. I figure if it's her choice, what's the harm?

So, am I really the only one? :
post #2 of 103
My son (three) is watching Beatrix Potter as we "speak." My oldest didn't see T.V. until he was almost three, but my other three have seen T.V. from the get-go (the olders would be watching). My youngest likes some PBS, but mainly watches videos -- Thomas the Tank Engine, VeggieTales, Beatrix Potter and stuff like that. I don't see anything wrong with as long as he is active during the day as well.
post #3 of 103
post #4 of 103
Thread Starter 
Eventually we'll have to tell Linda about the sexist, racist stuff in the Disney movies...and that baby animals don't drink from bottles!!
post #5 of 103
My kid watched TV when she was little. She could turn on the TV before she was a year old and find her "station" for Barney (manually - we still don't have a remote).

I don't think it hurt anything. I have fond memories of Land of the Lost and Speed Racer and Ultraman; why not give her the same?

post #6 of 103
My kids watch more TV than I would like because their dad's solution to many situations is to turn the TV on. If they are grumpy in the morning and we can't seem to get them dressed to go somewhere, the TV goes on while we get dressed. If they are too wild while one of us is cooking dinner and they can't seem to be given an activity that keeps them out of the kitchen, he turns the TV on. If they won't settle down for bed, they can watch a 20 min show to calm down...etc.
They don't watch anything with commercials and they mostly just watch Dora and Little Bear and Harold and the Purple Crayon that we've recorded to TiVo. It's a little too much TV for my tastes though. I don't mind a little. I think there are good and bad ways to use the television. It can be an educational tool and it can be a mindnumbing brain sucker :P It's all how you use it.
post #7 of 103
I struggle with this. I wanted to raise my kids with very limited tv. I managed it with the first, less so with the second, and I know that the third will see far more than the others.

We have phases where they watch more than I"d like (like right now, when I"m about to give birth and find it impossible to keep up with two young children). I do try to keep some limits on the amount of time they watch, although they only ever see selected shows on PBS, and videos that I've chosen for them. I"m always really pleased when we have a tv free day, or a really light week.

We just about never watch tv ourselves - the only time I can think of that the girls saw the tv on for adults was the recent election and presidential debates. So they are never exposed to anything unsuitable (unless you include GW Bush or Kerry in that category ).

I admire parents who make do without tv. But I cannot do it. I work from home, with very little help. I have no family or poeple aroudn to help out with my kids. I just about never get any time off. My kids are very high needs/special needs. I don't have cash to pay out to babysitters, gyms with a creche, cleaners or anything else, so the whole lot falls to me. Without the tv I think I'd go crazy trying to keep up with the children, the house, work, and everything else. For me, it's a trade-off. The tv buys me some time to do stuff I need to do, and to occasionally get some time to myself - usually researching stuff on the internet and mdc. As long as it is quality programming, I tell myself that it is not doing any real harm, although that is not the stand I'd have taken three years ago, when I had one child and felt very moral over not introducing her to tv.
post #8 of 103
Greaseball you are not alone!

My kids watch Noggin and a few sporting events.

I would never be able to take her to the crayon factory (on Noggin), a Patriots Game or show her a modern dance group. The shows she watches can take her to new places and introduce her to a wider variety of people than she would meet in our neighborhood. ~Does anyone else remember learning about kids with disabilities on Sesame Street?~

With that said, we try to limit the amount she watches. I want her to play, go outside, read, chat, etc.

Disney and PBS have really turned me off lately with Crappy shows (Caiou spelling?) and the commercials. I thought PBS was supposed to be commercial free.

Anyway...I believe that TV in moderation, like anything, is good for my kids. They can learn, relax and be entertained. They will have to deal with TV for the rest of their lives and I would rather teach them how to watch responsibly when they are young rather than have them discover it when they are older and turn into potatoes.
post #9 of 103
My dds both have SID. (Sensory Integration Dysfunction) I discovered very early on with my oldest, long before I knew of SID, that TV is very calming to her. I am careful what she watches, mostly videos. Her videos have taught her ABC's and early reading skills, and love of animals. Of course this is all reinforced in real life, but I believe that the way we use TV has been beneficial to her.

post #10 of 103
My ds2 watches PBSkids and sometimes Disney; lots of tapes (Barney, Calliou, etc.) I don't like excess tv viewing, but sometimes it's either that or a very bored, angry toddler.........when the weather is bad, there is only so much to do, we do read books, color, play, but eventually those things get tiring, and I'd rather he watch PBS than scream

My ds2 prefers being outside or playing with kids to tv; I don't think it's hurting him at all.

post #11 of 103
We don't even own a T.V! But we have thought about geting one for watching videos with our vcr. Right now we have a tv card on our p.c(I am a MAC user)and it doesn't work all that well..
So we mostly watch dvd veggietales. When she was younger, if we were sick, or hit a really hard day, or two or three- on would go thew videos. I was pregnant when she was young-do the math!
We also rent from the library.Or check out videos. I find it very helpful, and in moderate amounts- good for her. She can learn lessons, or stories, etc.
We have also thought about getting select cable so we can only have say, the cooking channels, Discovery channel, etc- so she can learn from T.V only. Not just use it to sit around when she could be playng. I am fine with cartoons too, as long as T.V isn't used in place of living our lives fully. I grew up a latch key kid and in a pretty dysfunctional family- so T.V became an nhealthy part of my life. There is no reason to repeat that mistake, as I am home with the kids, and we can live our lives and have lots of fun too
I also have to be very careful what dd sees or watches. She is VERY sensitive when it comes to videos. IE: no animals trying to eat each other- she thinks Shrek is scary, she cried at the preveiw for that new Pixar movie "cars" because there was a talking car-you get the picture. So I just have to be careful.
post #12 of 103
When I let ds watch tv it's mostly shows like Zaboomafoo or Discovery Channel, National Geographic or the Food Network(he loves the cooking shows). He's learned more about animals than I would have thought to teach him from Zaboo. But we've also used it as a learning tool. When he hears about a new animal, we get online or go to the library and find out more about it. When we've had a few busy weeks and we just need to have a day to chill we'll watch a few movies. Everyone needs a break from their busy lives sometimes
post #13 of 103
My mom was a TV watcher, I'm a TV watcher, now Tracy is a TV watcher....

Actuallky it isn't even watching, its more like listening. I need the distraction in orderto concentrate on anything. When we come home from somewhere the first thing T does is turn on the TV. He walks in, turns it on, and then leaves the room to go play. Its just how we do things.

I had the idea that Tracy would limit tv and that kidna thing. Then I realized when he was little and super grouchy during the day and night and the fact that I did nothing but hold him that leaving the TV off was driving me NUTS! So, I turned it on. Really i kept me from going insane.

I try not to feel bad about the TV.
post #14 of 103
We were "moderate" tv watchers until about a month ago. Since then DS has been completely TV-Free, and DH and I have rented three movies and are basically tv-free, too.

I first became inspired to go tv-free by the TV-Free Mamas Tribe thread, as well as from a couple of other members here at MDC and from other IRL friends and relatives who are tv-free. But, mostly, I was compelled to go TV-Free after reading The Plug-In Drug.

I feel for you Mamas who are home alone with one or more kids who neeeeed you (been there myself!). I know how easy it is to sit them down in front of the TV to catch a break. I know how the TV immediately sedates a child, and I know how hyper a child can get after watching TV. This makes for a cycle - hard to manage child/turn on the tv/ child continues to be hard to manage; child can't deal with boredom outside of staring at a TV... and so on. But when the TV is on, Mama and Papa can do other things and basically not worry too much because their dc's are mesmerized.

It's a tricky, slippery slope - and the TV produces a drug-induced-like state of complacency in the watcher.

The AAP says no child under the age of 2 years should watch any tv.

What happens after that? Should children under the age of 10 stare at furniture, or should they do things? Shouldn't they develop the skill of dealing with boredom proactively, rather than passively watching a 2-D commercial? (yes, children's programs are commercials. you can buy Dora products and go see Dora *Live* onstage...)

I personally have been struggling with this over the past month. I feel like DS is now successfully TV-free. I have posted my testimonials, plus links to other threads and sites, on my "Confessions" thread (see link in my siggy).

I am not judging anyone. I know I've been evangelical about this subject lately. I'm just trying to spread the knowledge I have gained in the past month or so.

post #15 of 103
I like the idea of tv free, but really am ok with the amount that ds watches. Commercial free television only (PBS) and some videos. Disney just doesn't bother me unless it's particularly violent or heavy for too young an age (like Lion King).

I never turn it on to entertain him. It's only turned on if he asks for it.. Some days none at all, some days an hour or so, so the average is not bad.

He's sick today, so he can lay on the couch and watch videos as long as he wants.

He's an incredibly creative, bright, active, well behaved kid. I'm not worried about it.

Dh is disappointed that his parents didn't make him turn off the tv. He was an overweight kid with bad grades, who watched tv all day every day when not in school. He really wishes his parents had set some limits, so he is all over making sure that doesn't happen with his kids.

Growing up, we usually had a tv, but not always. It was always in moderation, and we always had to ask to turn it on. Content was always monitored.
post #16 of 103
My DD (almost 6) watches a little television, but only videos, on demand children's programs (we have digital cable) and PBS.

She usually has time for something in the morning before school - it's usually Magic School Bus or some other PBS show. Occasionally she has time after school for another 30-min. program, but not every day, now that she's in kindergarten and has homework and all.

I really have moved away from using the tv for my own convenience, because when I was using it to occupy her, it became a problem. It's not that she was watching too much because I've always had a time limit per day of no more than an hour, it was more that she didn't know how to entertain herself when I was occupied with cooking or whatever else.

Right now she is playing very happily in her room and even though she's been home from school for an hour, it hasn't occurred to her to ask for tv.
post #17 of 103
"I feel for you Mamas who are home alone with one or more kids who neeeeed you (been there myself!). I know how easy it is to sit them down in front of the TV to catch a break. I know how the TV immediately sedates a child, and I know how hyper a child can get after watching TV. This makes for a cycle - hard to manage child/turn on the tv/ child continues to be hard to manage; child can't deal with boredom outside of staring at a TV... and so on. But when the TV is on, Mama and Papa can do other things and basically not worry too much because their dc's are mesmerized."

You know, this is not our experience. Dds watch DragonTales most evenings so that I can get the kitchen sorted out adn get dinner on. They are not sedated, they are usually laughing, talking, oohing and ahhing at the story. They are not hyper afterwards, in fact, one of their favourite activiites is retelling the Dragon Tales stories, or making up their own. I certainly would never describe my children as 'mesmerized' by the tv, nor hard to manage after they have watched. Rather like I dont think that I am mesmerized or particularly crazy after the occasional time that I watch a show.
post #18 of 103
I am done feeling guilty over this one.

I let my kids watch tv. I have had moments when I felt badly about that, and I have tried to turn it off a lot more than I had previously..

However, in our family we have found that somethings work well. I am alone with my kids at bedtime every night, and I am tired. We have Mr.Rogers tivo-ed, and so When it is 7:45 and I am so tired from a long day that started possibly 12 hours ago..but my 2 beautiful kiddoes have btoh had naps sduring teh day and I did not get one..I resort to one or sometimes ( gasp of horror) two episodes of Mr.Rogers pre-bedtime.

I also allow certain disney mosives into my house ( Brother Bear, Aristocats, Toy Story, etc.) I let them watch PBS kids, and Noggin. Occasionally we might watch something on the disney channel. I really do not care for the commercials so that only happens if there is something special on. I do not like Nickleodeon so we don't go to that channel. My FIL lets Paul watch bugs bunny cartoons with him, and I am ok with that too..because it is NOT the only thing he does with Paul.

All of thses things are done in moderation as just a smallpart ofour day..they are not our sole daily activity.

Here is where I get all novel-ish and teary eyed...

MR.Rogers is from Pittsburgh. He has an accent that sounds like my family..who live North of Pittsburgh. I like to hear his voice. I like how when I am at my most tense I can sit with my kids on my sofa and we cuddle and watch Mr.Rogers. It is like a visit from my Grandpa. I love where he takes the kids..I love the fact that they go and see people making flashlights or crayons or windchimes or art work or musical instruments or candy or what have you. I love that we can all sing the speedy delivery song, I love when my song imitates Danial Tiger and i do it back to him when we talk and play. I love laughing at the arrogance of King Friday the 3th. I love Lady Elaines voice because she sounds so..familiar.

No one here sounds like 'that' when they talk, and after years of getting teased for my own 'accent' when I spoke, both from living in Florida and here..I no longer have one because I work hard to NOT have one...But I listen to them speak and it all rushes back to me and I feel calm and happy. It also reminds me of my family that has passed away, of sitting in my great grandmothers house watching Mr.Rogers and eating grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup and running on her front porch.

As far as I am concerned, it is all about balance. My son is in pre-school 2 days a week. We play with other kids here in the area, he sees family quite often ( because they mostly live down the road) .His grandfather takes him with him for hours at a time. He is exposed to so much over the course of a week( lets say) that in my opinion, 2 hours of tv today is NOT going to damge his brain for the rest of his life.

We have places out side to play, animals to take care of, places to go, people we can see and talk to and do stuff with.We have library books to re-read as well. We have pudding we can make..we have a LIFE...and tv is a small part of it.

I am so relieved to see that I am not alone !!!
post #19 of 103
Thread Starter 
I figure it's OK as long as they have plenty of non-TV things they enjoy doing.

For those with TV-free kids...are the adults also TV-free?
post #20 of 103
I've used tv for distraction with Tracy. When we were moving I had to have something to keep him occupied. I can't get packing done if he just pulls everything out of the boxes.

but mainly it makes me feel like I'm not at home alone... I think its more for me than him. And he normally doesn't watch he plays inthe same room with it.

I couldn't go TV free. I'd go crazy. I hate to read and can't listen to radio/cds except in the car.
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