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Watching TV = no big deal?

post #1 of 103
Thread Starter 
Does anyone else share my view that watching TV is no big deal?

I don't understand why sooo many folks think TV is actually evil. I am talking about toddlers watching commercial free cartoons say several hours a day.

Also, that is not unsupervised hours like mommy is napping or off in another room, that is more the tv is on and maybe a 20 minute show gets watched and then we color and craft, maybe go eat food out back and then come in and say watch another 20 minute show before getting dressed to go to the park, etc.... not every day.... etither.

I know some people let their kids watch hour after hour of tv, day after day, and don't even know what they are watching. I get that that is not a good parenting choice, but my dd loves her cartoons and I have not yet discovered why so many folks don't let thier kids watch tv at all and actually think I am a bad parent because I do.

post #2 of 103
I don't think it's a big deal if it's like what you are saying, mostly/totally commercial free, monitored, limited and educational. My kids watch a little. Letting your kids watch tv does not make you a bad parent, not letting your kids watch tv doesn't make you a bad parent either. It's just another parenting choice IMO. To me it's more of a big deal when people think not letting you kids watch tv is mean and crazy. Kids don't NEED television, but when supervised they aren't going to be irreversibly damaged by it IMO either.
post #3 of 103
i don't think its horrible. my kid for some reason doesn't seem to want to watch tv...he's too hyper to sit still like that, but if he watched a bit, i wouldn't stress.
post #4 of 103
I know a family like that, and their kids grew up to be super great

I choose to not have toddler TV in my home, or any TV for the kids because I'm super picky about what my kids are around, and I usually disagree with at least part of even the educational shows. And I grew up with a TV addicted brother, who lived to watch TV, so it's not worth it to me.

But it totally is fine in some families
post #5 of 103
we have the tv on alot here. i like baby einstein for just some good background noise and something pretty to look at. when the kids request help turning on a certain show i'll help, and when they want it off they turn it off. they spend most of their day doing other stuff, and we are only actually home a few days a week (although they do get to watch dvd's in the car too).

i get that some people have alot of problems with tv, i really do. it's just not something i'm really sold on. i feel like i'm very attuned to how my kids handle tv and for now anyways it is definately more good than bad for us.
post #6 of 103
We don't restrict TV/video games but my kids aren't couch potatoes either. I think putting restrictions on things just makes a forbidden fruit. DS1 has a tv in his room and he rarely tulrns it on and I can't recall the last time I turned mine on. DS1 would rather read.
post #7 of 103
i used to feel so guilty until i remembered how much tv i watched as a kid. i'm a professional creative person. i didn't "play" much but i did other things. i was always immersed in a narrative. books, my own writing, or tv. my kid does other things too. he plays, he jumps, he's autistic and not very verbal about some things but since we've gotten a bunch of jim henson things on DVD he's become much more verbal about his imagination and adapted the stories into his own. i think tv can be great. especially if you have hours and hours to fill. nobody wants to be playing with mom ALL the time and for a young child who's still at home there's like 15 hours a day to fill up. watching for less than a third of that, especially with no commercials is not gonna render any body's brain useless.
post #8 of 103
We watch a few hours of TV a day. We have no backyard so that's a factor. I feel like it's not the ideal but it's not terrible either.

The shows I have them watch are commercial free and high-quality. I am always present and aware of the content. I don't let them watch episodes with story lines I don't approve of (like one episode of Miss Spider where the moral of the story is "don't trust your intuition" )

BUT . . . to be perfectly honest with myself . . . to me, the amount of TV we watch is an indicator of some degree of escapism on my part-- a desire for a "break" . . . and sometimes a desire to tune out, to not have to constantly be tuned-in to the kids-- and I need to be careful that I use these "breaks" with discretion so as not to avoid the children's needs for real human interaction and bonding-- even when I feel tired or bored. It is tempting to want to tune out the most when they are the most needy, but that's not good parenting.

I have also heard that the amount of TV watched in childhood affects leadership skills in adulthood . . . . I don't know if that's true . . . and that it can affect eye and brain development. I don't know.

My intuition tells me that TV watching is fine-- even good-- if it's quality content, watched in moderation and in the context of a healthy attachment with a nurturing caregiver-- but that "too much" TV is not "natural" and not good for the mind. What is too much? I'm sure it depends, and I guess that's really the question, isn't it?

It's definitely too much TV if it is taking away from necessary or health-building pursuits, such as, for my family, taking walks outside. So, with this in mind, my family's TV-watching threshold rises in the winter when it is very cold and snowy. If the TV-watchign was preventing my family from talking and sharing together at dinnertime, then I would institute a no-TV during dinner rule. For me, I feel that TV and movie-watching in the evening with my spouse prevents us talking meaningfully, sharing spiritual-reading and study together (one of our goals which we rarely accomplish) and even gets in the way of nookie sometimes. Unfortunately he's rather attached to his screen time, so it is what it is.

I am interested to hear other perspectives on TV watching, as my own opinion is open to evolution.
post #9 of 103
Here's the thing I keep remembering. When I was little (and when our parents were young) ~ we were sent out of the house to roam the neighborhood. We left after breakfast and only came back before dark if one of the *other* parents didn't feed us lunch.

If I did this to my children ~ CPS would be at my door for failure to supervise and probably rightfully so. It's just not the same world.

So, my kids can only ride bikes and go to the playground if I'm with them. Our yard is not fenced in and we're at the corner of two fairly busy streets. Even letting them out the door unsupervised is NOT an option for us.

I know there's a lot of "kids don't need TV" parents out there. Just like everything else, that's what works best for their family. TV is in ours. We borrow DVD's from the library, watch educational shows, etc. (We do however, believe that commercials are EVIL!!!!)

We don't worry about TV in our life. Our children are articulate, intelligent, creative, polite, and healthy.

That said, We do notice sometimes when my DS gets into a "slump" and DOES want to spend all day for several days in a row watching TV. We will step in and try to break that cycle. However, it's not all that often...

post #10 of 103
Originally Posted by Sharlla View Post
We don't restrict TV/video games but my kids aren't couch potatoes either. I think putting restrictions on things just makes a forbidden fruit. DS1 has a tv in his room and he rarely tulrns it on and I can't recall the last time I turned mine on. DS1 would rather read.
hey sharlla, what's up with your siggY? why the puke guy? does homeschool make you sick, or barack obama? i don't get it.
post #11 of 103
I don't intend to let this baby watch much TV. DD did the baby einstein thing (not this time). DD (7 years) watches a few hours of TV at night, it was on during dinner and a commercial came on, she watched it, listened than said... yeah right, I don't believe that! I looked at DH and said we're doing our job with that. ROFL I think children need to know what commercials are, there intent and how to take them. Now i see no need for toddlers to watch TV, my first never did for long anyway....
post #12 of 103
I don't get the desire to look at being TV-free as some sort of status symbol, either. My concern when my oldest was a toddler was that he literally zoned out when the TV was on. But, that didn't stop me from buying a bajillion Elmo tapes.

The TV-watching, zoned out toddler has always been my friend. It's how I got laid regularly and a sexed mommy is a happy mommy in my household.
post #13 of 103
It's not a big deal to me. My kids generally don't zone out in front of the TV... they get up and move around, play with toys, wrestle with each other, all while watching TV.
post #14 of 103
Originally Posted by bellymama View Post
hey sharlla, what's up with your siggY? why the puke guy? does homeschool make you sick, or barack obama? i don't get it.
nope, just thought I would put it in the sig
post #15 of 103
Originally Posted by desertwind View Post
Does anyone else share my view that watching TV is no big deal?
It isn't evil in my world.

And you are not a bad mom because you are okay with it.

post #16 of 103
My family loves to watch TV. We've learned many things from it, and it's also just a fun way to relax and enjoy. It's not more or less "evil" or a big deal than reading or etc IMO. I think being mindful parents is a good idea with regard to media just like it is with any other area of life. I share my thoughts on TV with my kids just like I share my thoughts on food, news, what we want for dinner, clothes, friends, and the rest of life.
post #17 of 103
I the television.

true story, one time when i was about 15 or 16 my mom went out of town and i decided to have a small party. i was going to marry my TV, because i loved it so much. about 10 of my friends came, dressed up, and we had a ceremony. when the time came for the TV to answer the "do you take kittyhead to be your partner" part we unmuted the TV so it could speak. the first words that came out of it were "we do". so, the TV loves me, too.

I the television.
post #18 of 103
I think it's okay for older children to watch commercial-free television in moderation. I think it's harmful for babies and young children to watch it.

We have a television, but don't have broadcast tv (we live in an area where if you don't have cable, you don't get tv stations). We use hulu and rent dvds. This works really well for us and it allows us to totally control what comes into our home.
post #19 of 103
I limit the amount of TV my 4 yo dd watches - my 18mo couldn't care less if the TV were on, he's got better things to do!

When dd watches TV, she does Nothing else, not a thing. She just sits, mesmerized by the show, and would sit and watch TV all day if I let her. We don't watch broadcast TV, just tapes/DVDs since dd is very sensitive, so I have to make sure the shows she watches have no conflict, even Curious George sometimes upsets her. Do to how intently she watches shows, she's also very prone to being overstimulated by them, so that's another reason I limit TV, if I didn't, after an hour she'd have a melt down.
post #20 of 103
I don't feel guilty and we love out TV.
Dd loves to watch sesame street and Word World and Super Why.
My boys have loved it too, and the oldest is a well adjusted sophomore at a nice private university doing very well, so it hasn't effected his intellect at all.
Sometimes I think too much of a big deal is made over it. It's not like my kids were tied to chairs and made to watch. They mostly ignore it when Dh and I are watching something and go off outside to play.
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