Raising a T.V and Media Free Kid ?? - Mothering Forums

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Old 12-17-2007, 07:02 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I truly believe that t.v and most pop culture/media is very unhealthy for a childs development.

I so want to be able to raise our (6 month) girl in a way where her exposure to these things is limited. The thing is, short of moving to Alaska or some other far flung place (which believe me I would LOVE to do, had I the $$) is this even possible in todays world ?


Exposure from friends and relatives I imagine will be a problem as she grows. How much can I realistically keep that junk at bay, without being a controlling and freakish mom ?

I would love to hear from those of you who have been successfull at this and anyone else with thoughts, idead or suggestions ....
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Old 12-17-2007, 07:09 PM
 
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i think no tv is SO key. granted, my big kids are only 4.5 and 3yo, but it's already made a big difference. we try to stay out of the big box stores, which also helps a ton. we get groceries from farmer's markets or natural stores, limiting the exposure to things like junk food splattered with cartoon characters. my oldest has perfected the phrase, "that's just a marketing ploy," haha. i think we've done a pretty good job thus far. while i'd love for them to never, ever see a tv, the reality is that we spend a lot of time with family members who don't live a similar lifestyle, so there's still some exposure. keeping it out of OUR house, though, has set a standard. you just kind of learn as you go!
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Old 12-17-2007, 08:30 PM
 
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My daughter is TV free, she's 4.5. We do have a TV and it gets watched after she is asleep but she has never seen it on.

It is impossible to completely avoid TVs, even some restaurants have them in them! In fact my daughter's favorite place, a great Japanese restaurant, has one. They know she is TV free and always seat us at the one table that doesn't have a view of the screen LOL!

Even though your child will undoubtedly see a TV playing at some point, it's not the same as sitting in front of it or having it be a regular part of their life. Because it's not really known to my daughter, she doesn't know or feel like she's missing anything. I seriously doubt she'd be interested in giving up any of her daily activities to sit in front of it, even if I offered it.

She does see TV character on things on occasion such as at the grocery shop but she also points them out and says "That has characters on it so that I will want to buy it!"

As far as other people's homes, I have no qualms about asking relatives to please not have the TV on when we are there. This isn't such a big issue for us because we live in another country from them and it's the yearly visits where this happens. As for friends I have yet to encounter a friend who didn't respect the fact that I don't want my daughter watching TV. Besides the fact that whenever we are with friends we are doing loads of other things. Frankly I don't think I'd be friends with someone who's life revolved around the TV, mainly because it would be unlikely that we had anything in common.

You will encounter people who feel sorry for your deprived child that will be scarred for life and never fit in or understand cultural references. I just smile and nod at them.
So, if you are going to do it-go for it and just live your life and don't worry about how other people react and know that the best example is set at home.
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Old 12-17-2007, 08:54 PM
 
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I too am just starting to deal with this issue. My parents are half way on board buy i've already run into people who think that it's not fair to him, that he won't fit in,etc. The fact that i don't want him to have plastic media driven toys is really throwing people for a loop this christmas season. He doesn't need that much stuff he's only 8 months old and would rather play with the towel rack and wooden spoons anyway. I think we might be donating some toys after christmas even though i told almost everyone please no plastic! But thanks for some good advice. i'll try to remember to control what's in our house and not be so worried about the rest. we have a friend though who has a big screen on the wall and their 6 month old daughter is already watching tv so this issue is bound to come up a lot. but they already think i'm crazy. oh well. i guess it comes with the territory
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Old 12-17-2007, 08:54 PM - Thread Starter
 
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But what about those of you with older kids ?

The reason I ask is because I have a lot of friends who riased their kids in a very waldorf community (they go to the school ect..)

Yet, almost all of them now have kids age 8 to 14 who play video games. I have a young niece who is so addicted to them that it is scary.

I would hate for this to rub off on my daugter..
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Old 12-17-2007, 09:27 PM
 
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My kids are media free- no TV or video games.
Anyway, they've got some friends who are mostly TV free-and some friends and cousins who IMO watch way too much TV.
It hasn't really been a problem to us- perhaps they are too young to be influenced yet. I would be interested to see what others who have older children have to say!
There have been times when other kids are talking about characters on Disney and my kids have no idea what they're talking about. It hasn't been awkward or strange at all, and they have not even been remotely interested in wanting to know what Disney or Dora or whoever else the characters are. It has just been their life so far, and they haven't really questioned it.
I have actually had more problems with other parents- I get the feeling sometimes that they think it's weird or depriving that my kids don't watch T.V. For some reason since my daughter is 6 everyone assumes that she knows who the "disney princesses" are- and she has no clue. I've had parents look at me weird that-gasp!- she doesn't know who they are?! What kind of childhood is that?!
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Old 12-18-2007, 02:39 AM
 
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Our DS is now 5.5 and is 99% media-free. His only "screen time" is that he can watch something of his choosing once per week, on Fridays (but only if he asks). Often months will elapse when he just never thinks to ask about it. I have joked that I don't know how he would work TV or computer use into his busy schedule of playing. And its not like he's over-scheduled or anything; just 1/2-day kindergarten and a few play dates per week at a friend's house or the local park/playground. His choice was usually Thomas the Tank engine episodes for 1.5 years, but lately he asks to watch a documentary about Alaska.
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Old 12-19-2007, 12:46 AM
 
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My granddaughter watched her first video a few weeks ago. At the time she was just under 8 years old. Her mother let her watch the Sound of Music, although she fast forwarded through a bit of the scarier Nazi stuff. I don't think she has asked for another one yet, she is too busy mastering reading, preparing for Christmas, enjoying school, knitting, playing...

As far as playdates go, it is something that has been discussed in advance with friends and no one has ever minded keeping the TV off and encouraging the kids to play. In fact, one family they've known since both children were born, recently switched their son from public to waldorf and I think he is incredibly happy. So the media thing has rubbed off a bit
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Old 12-19-2007, 01:39 AM - Thread Starter
 
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This is SO inspiring ! Please keep the stories of media free kids comming ! I am loving it..

It is making a new mama very hopeful....
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Old 12-19-2007, 12:08 PM
 
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We are just going completely tv/video game free

We tried this a while back and it worked awesome. Then I gave into the pressure of DH to re intro the tv for a once a week movie which was a slipperly slope back to tv almost every day *sigh*

Anyway we quit cold turkey 2 days ago and its over.

I have 2 special needs kids, the oldest has OBVIOUS issues with tv (the other two have the "typical" kid issues with tv which are still pretty bad). But my oldest has autism and he just gets so tv obsessed that he will do nothing else but talk about it all day. Last time we pulled the tv he talked about it and played movies in his imagination for at least a week. And would do nothing else. Then he snapped out of it and it was incredible. He was doing so well that everyone who met him was amazed with the change. Then the harping on started, DH, DH's family, my family "well hes doing so good surely a once a week movie wouldnt be a problem" or "let him play a video game while he is sick and lying on the couch" ect....

Like I said spiral down. Then his behaviors got bad again, so bad that the tv became a habit, it was my daily "break" and I would let him watch a half houra after lunch every day....

Then the other day I just had it, the behaviors were horrible, he was sneaking tv every time I turned my back, wouldnt stop talking about it, refused to play with his toys.

And I lost it at DH. I told him we were done, that the tv could go completely as far as I was concerned, but if he wanted it it would have to be moved to somewhere the kids couldnt get to it (preferably the computer/office room since I don't let them on the computer either). But that I was finished. And if anyone so much as started to give me a hard time on this I would lose it with them.

My DH thankfully agreed, that all of them just didn't seem as well off as that time when we were tv free.

So we started again, 2 days into a week of what will be torture for my oldest, but when he gets back where he was, where he is happy without the darned thing, it will be overwith for as long as he lives under this roof.

I'm ready to be tv free too. So I think I'm going to try to talk DH into just selling/giving away the tv rather than moving it. We'll see. I don't think he is personally ready to be done with tv. But the kids for sure and probably me are done.
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Old 12-19-2007, 04:50 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Yeah !

Good for you mama for having the courage to stand up for what is best for your family.~
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Old 12-19-2007, 05:36 PM
 
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you can do it enchantedgypsey...we're doing it. our twins are 2 and have no screen time at all. we don't even really go into stores where they could be exposed to the stuff. our friends and family know and respect our decision. the extended family is starting to understand what acceptable toys for them are...with our gently coaching...

it's a wonderful way to live really...you and your children naturally become more creative people. imo, it's all about a natural childhood, and tv has no place in a natural childhood.
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Old 12-19-2007, 05:44 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks ladies !

Yes, it's really no question of IF we will, that is how we are living already. DH and I do not own a tv or even have electric lights. We live off grid with a small amount of solar for things like sarellite radio, c.d's and computer use.

My concern is really about the influence of OTHER people , relatives and friends on our daughter. We plan on homeschooling, which should help.

We do use the computer but plan on limiting the use and using it in another area. We will also explain, if asked to DD that computers are for older children and adults, which I fully believe.
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Old 12-19-2007, 07:43 PM
 
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My son will be 7 in 2 weeks and he is media free. We have a TV in our bedroom but the only one who watches is my husband- either DVDs after ds is in bed or grand slam tennis tournaments which ds watches for about 10 minutes at most (commercials muted). We co-slept until age 5 and during that time the TV was in an unused room. In general our relatives turn off the TV when we visit and I have spent a lot of time reading to ds at the homes of relatives without kids and no toys (which is most of them). We homeschool but would do Waldorf if school became a necessity. We read a ton of books and listen to books on tape. We shop at the Farmer's Market, the Food Coop and Longs (CA drugstore). We eat at locally owned ethnic restaurants. We have been very fortunate with friends- the neighbor kids below 10, watch TV very little and none play with gameboys as a social activity. Ds' playgroup from infancy consists of kids who watch about 30 minutes of TV a day- never as a social activity. At ages 4-9 both groups of kids play well together and the play involves acting out hurricanes or making peace signs or being horses (not marketing characters). The homeschool kids we hang out with watch very little mainstream TV. DS just started using the computer about 3 months ago and it is a tool for searching for info together, sending emails and arranging photos. We talk about hidden messages and media manipulation in the advertisements and marketing he does see. In general, my ds lives in a rich and wonderful world and does not feel deprived or sheltered- major media influences just are not an issue. I feel that with such a strong foundation, he will be prepared for more exposure later. Increasingly, as a parent, I am realizing that I can only control so much.
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Old 12-24-2007, 02:05 AM
 
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My 2 year old is TV free. She is intrigued when she sees TVs like in the doctor's waiting room, restaurants, stores etc. but she doesn't really watch it, rather points out animals or other things of interest. We do have children's music on sometimes, but only for short periods while we're dancing, then we turn it off again.

She has no clue who any popular characters are, unlike some of her friends who are already very into Dora, Diego, Thomas the Train etc. If we see one of these characters I usually say 'look, a mouse' to Mickey, 'it's a duck' to Donald Duck or 'a little girl' to Dora rather than referring to them by their character names. I dare say that will get harder as she gets older.

I distinctly remember my mum refusing to buy me the character socks that all my friends had when I was at school (Holly Hobby, I think!) and I thought she was just the meanest mum in the whole world. But apparently mum's really do always know best, since I'm now doing the same with my poor 'deprived' child. I did wonder if I was getting a little obsessed with my anti-marketing campaign today. Someone had given my daughter a little fleece sweater which I really liked except for the Gap logo embroidered on the pocket. So I bought an applique and covered it up! Makes me happy even if other people think I'm crazy.
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Old 12-25-2007, 04:25 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by teambearbhan View Post
i think no tv is SO key. granted, my big kids are only 4.5 and 3yo, but it's already made a big difference. we try to stay out of the big box stores, which also helps a ton. we get groceries from farmer's markets or natural stores, limiting the exposure to things like junk food splattered with cartoon characters. my oldest has perfected the phrase, "that's just a marketing ploy," haha. i think we've done a pretty good job thus far. while i'd love for them to never, ever see a tv, the reality is that we spend a lot of time with family members who don't live a similar lifestyle, so there's still some exposure. keeping it out of OUR house, though, has set a standard. you just kind of learn as you go!
yes, this is so important. Department stores are just completely saturated with licensed characters, junk food etc, packaged in a way that is almost irresistible to children. I try to avoid these stores if possible. I have had many talks with my family about our parenting philosophy. So far gifts have been the biggest problem. For one, they buy entirely too much, and the gifts consist of some licensed character or cheap plastic toy. We do not celebrate Christmas, but my family does. So this year I gave them a list of natural toy websites and explained kindly what toys we want our dds to have. It can be difficult-as a gift should be a gift, something that someone desires to give- not dictated.....but we have a vision for our dds, and I am not giving in on this. I love my family but at times I would like to move completely off the grid or maybe join an intentional community......

here is a thread devoted to tv free families


teambearbhan, Oh, how I will be so proud of my dds when they make statements as your oldest did!!
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Old 12-26-2007, 02:18 AM
 
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I have an 11 yo and a 6 yo. Despite seeing television in passing at relatives or friends homes, we have been completely t.v. free in our own home. I think this is extremely important for healthy development. There is almost nothing worthwhile on the box. I have allowed some videos/dvds that were very carefully selected. Children in our time will almost certainly socialize with children who will talk about and act out movies/characters, etc. There have been times when I didn't have as much control as I'd have liked over media exposure and that's been the worst of it. With the shows I've selected, I've found it's as important to make effort to keep my kids from feeling too alienated or completely out of the loop socially. I also have learned that not allowing something that's wanted creates negative glamour. It's all about balance. Now that they are older, we can talk about the pros and cons. They'll need to start making thier own choices as they become more independent and there are more play dates. There comes a letting go process in the parenting journey...hard as it may be.

If you're interested in brain research, you might look into the writings of Joseph Chilton Pearce. When I need a refresher, I re-read his works.
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Old 12-26-2007, 03:15 PM
 
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OT
enchanyed gypsy i absolutely love your blog!
i you want to drive down to the tip of the baja sur, let me know!
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Old 12-26-2007, 06:16 PM
 
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We are having a really rough time right now with relatives. DS is 6 and DD is 1. We went completely tv free almost a year ago but you are so right that sometimes you feel like two steps back when they are exposed to it elsewhere. When DS visits both sets of grandparents they stick him in front of the tv because they believe we are depriving him. Now their latest trick is buying him dvds as gifts and telling him he will just have to watch them at their house.

I've already had a lot of problems with family about our waldorf lifestyle since DS started kindergarten this fall so I've been trying to pick my battles carefully. I'm so jealous of those folks who have relatives respectful enough to turn the tv off when they are visiting. I've already had so many quarrels with ours that telling them no tv would probably sever our relationship entirely at this point.

So what do you do? Keep your kids away from their grandparents reinforcing their already suspicion that you are involved in some kind of cult or put up and shut up?

That's where I'm at right now. I have no idea what the long term effects of this will be but it gets harder to keep DS from not wanting media influenced toys when he is being exposed to them with the grandparents. Before it is out of sight out of mind but now he is starting to catch on. I've worked so hard to keep that stuff away from him but it seems to no avail.

So don't get me wrong, we aren't giving up entirely but it can be awfully frustrating. If it wasn't for family I believe we would be just fine. It is true that tvs are everywhere from restaurants to doctor's offices but family seems to be the biggest deterrent for us.
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Old 12-26-2007, 08:03 PM
 
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No time for post: just wanted to recommend the book: Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television by Jerry Manders. I grew up tv-free, and this is the book that convinced my father.
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