Is there a place for television in dc's life? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 22 Old 01-21-2004, 03:24 AM - Thread Starter
 
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So, I'm paranoid about my kid turning into a tv addict.

We have our tv in an upstairs room and only watch it (well, dh does) after dd goes to sleep. So she's never really been exposed to tv...maybe has been in the vicinity of an operating tv for about 10 hours in her life.

The other day my friend was raving about the Baby Einstein videos and how her dd (same age) loves them and how great they are.

I'm wondering if there is some value to certain programs or videos? Or is it better to just keep kids away from tv's altogether?
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#2 of 22 Old 01-21-2004, 04:56 AM
 
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Well, now, here's a topic that just begs from some good mud-slinging ... :LOL

Just kidding.




But seriously, if you can avoid introducing TV to a toddler, avoid it. Would've if I could've. But sometimes needed the time&space that TV can provide ... as a WAHM with deadlines, particularly in the morning ... so my oldest first saw some TV (besides the news, or our "grown-up" stuff) when he was 2yo. Specific shows that I'd tape and play, like "Blue's Clues" (when we had cable) or "Sesame Street" (more about the taping part in the last paragraph of the post ...)

Of course, the darned thing is insidious, and then it turns into "Clifford" and whatever else. Which is what you have to watch out for ... what I call "TV-creep," as the time spent in front of the TV can increase exponentially if you're not careful.

In the evenings DH used to love nature shows (on Discovery Channel back when we had cable) and the children watched them with him from a very young age. Only problem with that stuff I found was the commercials ... now we're much happier with "Nature" on PBS or videotapes. "Nova" is fun for kids, too, often, with some subjects that provide good visuals, if nothing else they can comprehend, and no commercials.








If you ever do expose your kids to TV, just make sure you know ... really know ... what you're exposing them to. If you're going to leave the room at all while they're in front of it, make sure they're watching a videotape or something that you have familiarity with and some control over. I learned that lesson the hard way on 9/11.
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#3 of 22 Old 01-21-2004, 01:22 PM
 
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While I think no tv is best, for everyone, I don't think that limited selected programs are harmful. I don't go for shows being educational, like videos and Sesame Street, but I don't see them doing any harm either. Ds currently watches Sesame Street in the morning, and sometimes a Baby Einstein video in the afternoon. He has also sometimes watches some Teletubbies, or Reading Rainbow. My biggest concern is making sure he doesn't watch any commercials, so it's only PBS or videos for us.

We sometimes watch some tv in the evening while ds is still awake, usually the Discovery channel or maybe a Seinfeld rerun. Rarely I will turn on Oprah in the afternoon while ds and I kind of play in the living room.

I feel lucky that so far ds has been very reasonable about turning off the tv when his show is over, and not demanding it all day. Sometimes he asks for a video and I say no, and he's fine with that, so I feel pretty good about it so far. If it ever became a major struggle, I'd probably get rid of it altogether.
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#4 of 22 Old 01-21-2004, 02:27 PM
 
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i would lose my mind without dora, blues clues, ses st, and little bear videos. really. my dd isnt in front of the tv more than an hour a day, and she only watches commercial free stuff like tapes or pbs or noggin. it gives me a break, and she loves it. even ol doc sears says a little video isnt bad if it helps mama catch her breath...

Erin, 33, salty southern mama, sitting by the sea with my DH35, DD10, DS4, &DD2!
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#5 of 22 Old 01-21-2004, 02:55 PM
 
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ugh. I am really struggling with this. I was one of those no-TV-at-home, TV addicted kids, so I know I don't want to do that. OTOH, I *do* feel strongly that TV is very likely not doing anything beneficial for my ds's brain developement, and may likely be detrimental. That said, I'm also human (and 5 mos pg). We don't get any channels and own *one* taped off TV ten years ago tape with some Mr. Rogers and Sesame st. Lately, we watch 30-40 minutes of it 2-3 times a week. I find it most helpful as a nap substitute. We have gone from 2 down to one nap a day and there are days when he needs some chill out time either when it is still to early in the am to start his nap (e.g. he got up at 5 am and therefore is exhausted at 9 am, when the earliest I'm willing to do a nap is 11), or if his nap was on the early side, and he needs some zone out time in the late afternoon in order to make it to bedtime (which *can't* be before 7).

Huh. Can you tell I'm obsessed with sleep lately?:LOL

Back on-topic: I agree w/ the others who said that it is wise to limit time, choose carefully, and watch together whenever possible. But I would say, at your dd's age, I'd skip it all together if you can. Even the AAP reccomends no TV until age 2 (so yes, I'm being hypocrtictiacl in my advice, since my ds is only 17 mos). I figure, they reccomend bf'ing for 1 year, and I'm sure that's not long enough, so probably better no TV for even longer than 2 yrs. So... thats what I think. I already said what I do. I also spend *a lot* of time agonizing and feeling guilty:
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#6 of 22 Old 01-21-2004, 03:32 PM
 
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I think the other posters offered great insights . . .here's my story:

I grew up being left alone a lot, so TV became a good friend. I don't think TV harmed me, per se, but being left alone so often was a problem. I also have recovered from an eating disorder, and find it very dangerous to think of things in strict terms (that something is BAD or GOOD). I find it very limiting (and stressful!) to judge things in extreme terms.

That being said, if your DD is fine without TV, let her continue be fine without TV. She isn't missing out on anything ("if it ain't broke . . .") and she'll have plenty of time to get interested in TV if she chooses or when/if you choose to let her watch it. In our house, we do let DD watch DVDs (sign language videos, the Wiggles, which I find to be increasingly annoying even though I once thought they were fab, and Richard Scarry stuff). Yes, she has learned things from the DVDs, but she would have learned other things had the TV been off.

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#7 of 22 Old 01-21-2004, 05:57 PM
 
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I think that you may as well start limiting TV as best as you can because it just gets harder and harder.

The Baby Einstein videos you mentioned were my daughters first introduction to TV/Video and I do like them BUT…I don’t like “Julie Clark”…sorry, Julie. They suggest at the end of the video that they are “interactive tools” and say that you should sit at the base of the TV pointing to stuff for your infant…NO THANKS! If I wanted to interact with my baby, I’d just interact.

I did start using the TV when that video was given to us, which coincided with a time intensive class that I was taking and it was a lifesaver. I could get some after school work done while Aya watched the video. She was 18 months when she was first exposed to it.

After that *need* period passed, we went on a NO TV spurt, which was nice. At this point she doesn’t watch any kid’s videos but she watches some sit-coms with us a couple times a week. She also does some computer stuff with her dad.

My big gripe with TV is overuse, commercials and Cross Merchandising, which drives me absolutely crazy because it gets into your home even if you don’t allow commercials. I was in a woman’s clothing store in a small town in France my daughter saw all these Jungle Book stuffed animals. I thought that was an old movie…why are they selling that stuff there…and on cereal?

For me, it comes down to moderation and limiting being taken advantage of.

Mama to DD September 2001 and DD April 2011 *Winner for most typos* eat.gif
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#8 of 22 Old 01-21-2004, 08:37 PM
 
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I don’t like “Julie Clark”…sorry, Julie
OH I CANT STAND HER. could she BE a little more irritating??? it makes me want to hurl when she says something like" you know, if another mom says it works YOU TRY IT!! YOU JUST DO!!!! " like all mamas are sheep or something. and really could the videos be more sanitized and staged and homogeonized upper middle class??? ugh. make me barf. we have the water one, and there are so many things that bug me about it...i used to like it, until i really watched it *rolls eyes at self*

Erin, 33, salty southern mama, sitting by the sea with my DH35, DD10, DS4, &DD2!
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#9 of 22 Old 01-21-2004, 08:57 PM
 
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My big gripe with TV is overuse, commercials and Cross Merchandising, which drives me absolutely crazy because it gets into your home even if you don’t allow commercials.
ITA . . .that recent article in Mothering talked about this, and it really does make me ill. I know this sounds extreme, but I feel like kids get literally BRAINWASHED with this stuff, and it's scary.

One of my nieces (age 4) is obsessed with princesses-- "the" princesses (Disney). She loves to role play being a victim, insists on wearing a dress constanly (pants are not princess-like), and talks a lot about marrying a prince (and believes it's OK for a prince to only want to marry her if she wears pretty clothes). My other niece (25 months) has been obsessed with Winnie (the Pooh) since she could talk. I think it really limited her vocabulary and imagination since she spent so much time on this character, and all she really did was look for "Winnies" in books to name them, and that's about alll she got out of books for a long time.

My DD was obsessed with 2 little rubber birds, but she wanted to learn how to care for them (my mom has one) and she did everything with them, from bathing to sleeping. I'm finding that obsessions in toddlers/preschoolers is common, but if it's with a character, then the child is dependent on someone's interpretation/imagination.

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#10 of 22 Old 01-21-2004, 09:04 PM
 
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I don't feel limited television is harmful as long as the content is appropriate. DS is watching a video right now while I'm on the laptop. It is a Sesame Street Favorite Songs video. I sing along with the songs and encourage him to sing also. He watches an hour or so a couple days a week with me in the room but gives me a little downtime.

I watched a ton of TV as a kid and don't feel that was all that great for me. I think kids should spend more time in imaginative play and outside than in front of the TV. Of course, my husband and I don't watch any TV really either (no cable, get 2 channels) so it just isn't a part of our daily lives.
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#11 of 22 Old 01-21-2004, 09:43 PM
 
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DS watches at least some Sesame Street most mornings while I take a shower (with the door open, scrubbing my hair in the middle of the bathroom watching him) and get dressed. It makes a difference for me to be able to eat breakfast and start to feel remotely human. It's a long day with just the two of us. Unfortunately DH doesn't get home until almost bedtime for DS, so getting to day off the a decent start is imperative.

I have to be a realist about TV. I would prefer that I lived in an environment with more moms around me to cook dinner with, do laundry with, and to just BE with in sort of a quasi-communal way. Most neighborhoods aren't set up like this (and neither are most families). Most of the times we listen to music instead of TV, but occasionally I tune into Dr. Phil (depending on the topic).

DS just got over a horrible three day stomach flu. We watched far more TV than we ever have to quite frankly get his mind off of vomiting and nursing (which was also making him vomit). It was so God awful, but I was grateful to have the distraction available for both of us.
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#12 of 22 Old 01-21-2004, 09:53 PM
 
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I actually feel my son watches too much TV but that's changing now... Not in the most idyllic way (he's starting daycare MWF so I can student teach) but there's no TV so he can't watch it.

Anyway, he probably only watches an hour a day but he likes to sit and veg and I don't like that. I also don't like that he can identify Elmo, Cookie Monster, Big Bird, Zoe, Grover, Oscar, etc. and any time he sees a marketed product with one of these characters on it he goes nuts. : Like the stupid disposable training pants sample that arrived in the mail emblazoned with Elmo that he screamed and begged for.

Anyhoo, I do think some good has come out of some of his TV viewing. For example, thanks to the "interactive flash cards" on Ian's Neighborhood Animals DVD he now can identify animals galore, complete with their sound. :LOL Yes, many of the same animals are represented in his books but for some reason they're extra special in that flash card mode.
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#13 of 22 Old 01-21-2004, 10:09 PM
 
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I am very conflicted about the whole TV issue. I was firmly anti-TV pre-baby, but succumbed when he was about 15 months old to videotapes of Blue's Clues (half-hour a day). Now ds is two and watches one hour (sometimes one-and-a-half) of videos in the evening while I start dinner and then for some post-dinner vegging time.

I'd been feeling very guilty about that extra half-hour until today when talking to two mainstream moms at the library -- from the sounds of it their kids watch TV ALL DAY. One was like, "oh, sometimes he will play by himself but otherwise it's just videos all day." Miles plays by himself most of the day, although we are careful to get up and get out every day, even with this cold weather.

I don't think TV is very educational (and am anti-Baby Einsten videos -- they are specifically marketed to babies after all) but I do think it is ok to just zone out occasionally as long as we're busy with more physically active, mentally stimulating activities the rest of the day.
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#14 of 22 Old 01-21-2004, 10:24 PM
 
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Although I am not sure how much this really matters, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no TV for babies under two. After age two they recommend limiting TV to one hour per day.

I use it as a defense when people ask why my baby (16 mos) does not watch TV. Truthfully she does not watch TV because I do not watch TV.

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#15 of 22 Old 01-21-2004, 10:33 PM
 
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I was just thinking of this today. We started letting ds2 watch bits of pbs kids in the morning, and I mean bits, like 5 minutes or so. He's always woken up badly, and needs time to just zone, and zoning to the tv a bit in the morning really helped; he'd then wake up gradually and be in a great mood. Anyway, with running my business and such, lately he watches about an hour or so in the morning; which really is fine with me. But, I do find that when he's really being challenging, or when we don't have anything to do, I do let him watch more than I think I should. My ds has always been "spirited". As long as we do things, particularly leaving the house (go outside, or go out to the store, for walks, etc) he's fine. But he really won't just play with toys, or do much interactive play- only for short bursts. Of course, he'd like to climb on me all day long, though He really wants to be on the go. So, I've discovered that he will play better and longer if the tv is on in the background. I don't know why this is, but it is. So when the weather is bad and we can't go outside, I do "use" the tv to keep him entertained. We do other things, too, like read books and play and he uses me as a jungle gym; but I do let him watch alot. He watches PBS, or videos. Right now, for example, he is watching a Barney video, and also playing with ds1.


Also, he doesn't zone in front of the tv (except for about 10 minutes after waking in the morning and from his nap), he interacts and plays in front of it, if that makes sense.


I was really anti-tv, and I do struggle with it. But, my ds2 is smart, funny, and happy, and I don't feel that tv is harming him. I wish that he would play with his toys and do creative play more, but he doesn't. We've even gone tv free for a few weeks about a month ago, and that didn't make a difference.....he still didn't play much, he wanted to go go go go.

So, I'm not quite sure of my point, lol. If your dd doesn't need or want tv, I recommend not starting the habit


ETA my ds2 is 19mos now, and he started watching around 16mos

Kristi

"Have faith in yourself and in the direction you have chosen." Ralph Marston

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#16 of 22 Old 01-22-2004, 05:04 AM
 
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I've been struggling with this too... I guess TV in moderation is ok. I don't have any cable or TV stations, so my daughter just watches videos. Being single and a WAHM, it really allowed me to get things done at times. But then it became a routine. Now, every morning after she eats breakfast she sings the Veggie Tales theme song, or asks for "MAAAII" or "BAAIII" (which is either Maisy or Bear and the Big Blue House). We walk to the library 1/week to check out a couple of videos (sometimes for me too for when she's asleep). So the routine thing has me concerned, but then, I have to eat too don't I?!

But then last month PG&E sent a pamphlet with my bill about EMF (something something frequencies) that are emitted from all electrical appliances. It stated that there aren't any conclusive studies that show health problems derived from EMF. However, it did state that all electrical appliances emit them. It suggested that you move electric alarm clocks away from your head side of the bed, and limiting the time you spend in front of (or near) hair dryers, microwaves, tvs, computers, etc., etc., if you are worried!

OK, so now I'm worried. Does anyone know anything about this? Anytime I read about people's concerns about TV, it is always related to content, but not to the physical implications from EMF. Is it something to be worried about?
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#17 of 22 Old 01-22-2004, 05:35 AM
 
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Originally posted by dreadmama
Does anyone know anything about this? Anytime I read about people's concerns about TV, it is always related to content, but not to the physical implications from EMF. Is it something to be worried about?
Sorry, I don't know anything about EMF. I do know that even plugged in remote control appliances draw electricity. I just hopped on here to stay that *content* is not, not my big concern. For us it’s way more about *time*! I think the content issue is a slippery slope because there is lots of “quality” stuff out there but no matter how good it is it’s still TV a passive medium.

Edited to add that I usually lump TV, Videos and Video Games in one group. That inclueds all content...Basically all things done in front of TV screen or monitor.

Mama to DD September 2001 and DD April 2011 *Winner for most typos* eat.gif
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#18 of 22 Old 01-22-2004, 07:50 PM
 
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there is no place for tv in my ds's lives. There is a small place for videos of real things in my 4 yo life (maybe an hour or two a month). Nature, animals, firestations, construction site... Things he understands and is interested in but are situations difficult to watch in real life due to safety or the fact we live in a city... There is no place in ds2's life. I want their minds to grow independant of all the filler ideas and comercialism in television programing. They are so independant and imaginative because they don't have it to fall back on 'when they're bored'. They have to learn to amuse themselves, even when they're stir-crazy. One level deeper than their friends who get to watch a short bit when they're at loose ends.

We didn't have a tv until I was 12. It bothered me when I was in school, but looking back it was one of the best gifts my parents gave us kids. An inner peace. I don't need to be entertained. My dh was raised on it and still doesn't know what to do with himself after the kids are asleep, besides tv. He gets restless very easy.
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#19 of 22 Old 01-24-2004, 09:08 AM
 
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I would like to add something from my own experience..I grew up watch no television whatsoever. We lived in the jungle without electricity so no television, radio etc.
When I moved to Europe in my late teens and was exposed to television I could not get enough of it. In fact besides working that is pretty much all I did. For the next ten years or so I spent much of my time infront of the television..it has only been since the birth of ds that I started to realise how much tv I actually watched!! It was scary!! Now of course every person is different but TV is a terrible addiction for me.
On a different note..I still can't watch anything violent or scary..it drives my dh nuts but since I was not desensitized as a child I can't tolerate any of that.
Now that ds is two I have started letting him watch age approptiate videos. I myself have pretty much stopped watching tv all together.
Are there any others out there that grew up with no tv? It would be interesting to hear your view point.
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#20 of 22 Old 01-24-2004, 12:01 PM
 
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"In the marketing world they're called tinys." At just six months of age, babies are already forming mental images of corporate logos. One in four children utters a brand name as their first recognizable word."

http://www.med.sc.edu:1081/babysfirstword.htm
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#21 of 22 Old 01-24-2004, 02:33 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Artemesia....wow, you grew up in the jungle! Where?

Your comments were really interesting for me, because I am also unable to watch anything violent or scary on tv. It seems like I'm physically unable. I have to close my eyes or leave the room. If there are sounds of human suffering I also have to plug my ears. I just cannot seem to desensitive myself or use the argument...it's only tv....they're just actors. It drives my husband crazy because I'm always asking him "what's happening, what's happening?" and he has to keep up a running commentary while I've got my eyes closed Gets difficult when I've got my ears plugged too!

I'm also fixated with the tv when it's on. I can't carry on any sort of conversation. If we go to someone else's house and they have the tv on in the background I have to explain that I can either talk to them or watch the tv...their choice. Everyone else I know can just tune it out. And voilence doesn't bug them at all.

So, for me it is not related to growing up without a tv...because we had one. However, I don't remember watching any violence other than cartoons as a kid...perhaps my mom screened it or there just wasn't as much on tv. I've often wondered what it is that makes it so difficult for me to see violence. Not that it's such a bad thing! But why am I literally unable to watch it. It would be pure torture for me to have to keep my eyes open and see that stuff.

Just before dd was born we went to a friends house to see Lord of the Rings. It made me sick. I ended up leaving the house crying because the violence was so overwhelming. Maybe it was the hormones? Anyway, my mom thinks the series is great and actually bought them all on CD? Go figure...it's obviously not hereditary.
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#22 of 22 Old 01-24-2004, 05:08 PM
 
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Island Mommy..I grew up in New Guinea, my parents are missionaries. lived there till I was about seventeen.
I could not watch much of The Lord of the Rings either
nor many other movies. Mostly we stick to documentaries and such.
For the most part I think I have just not gotten desensitized like many who have grown up watching TV. Maybe since your mother shielded you from violent tv it is the same for you. It shocks me to see what my inlaws let their other grandchildren watch. When we were visiting them for Christmas my two year old ds ran out of the livingroom crying..when we went to investigate the Matrix was on and the grandchildren where watching it. Can you imagine letting a two year old watch something like that. Needless to say I was so upset!!!!!!!!
Dh says that since I had ds I have gotten more sensitive then usual so maybe hormons do have something to do with it. I am a sensitive person anyway so to watch any living being suffer causes me grief...even if it is just pretend.
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