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#61 of 81 Old 03-26-2011, 05:18 PM
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I didn't include this in my comments before but I think there is some new research that has shown that the human brain is being rewired from heavy media exposure.

 


I really wish popular media would frame explanations of neurological research in less loaded terms. 

 

Since the creation of neurological connections in an individual brain are the product of experience, all exposure to anything "re-wires the human brain." 

 

All that's really been found is that heavy exposure to media has a different impact than no exposure to media, and even that is hard to demonstrate beyond limited clinical applications - we don't have a long archive of MRI brain scan data that allows for broadly generalized historical comparisons.  We also don't have good ways to account for the changing and varied forms of media (tv vs. internet vs. radio vs. maintaining an active correspondence vs. reading a ton of novels or newspapers or comic books vs. spending a lot of time listening to political speeches in public parks vs. riding past a lot of posters on the subway or driving into downtown Los Angeles), or pragmatic definitions of "heavy" and "light" media exposure. 

 

In the end, I think most judgments about the impact of media on children are the product of popular prejudices that reflect cultural beliefs about what childhood is, and by implication, what is appropriate for children. 

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#62 of 81 Old 03-26-2011, 07:45 PM
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great insights.

 

personally i think tv sometimes happens to be a much easier scapegoat to focus on as parents that the bazillion other small and large things that we do daily to potentially "mess up" our kids. tv, limited tv, or no tv is just much easier to control than daily dramas. the way a kid grows up is dependent on so many many variables that it's frankly sometimes very scary to think about whether we are doing it "right" or not.


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#63 of 81 Old 03-26-2011, 08:47 PM
 
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The studies all show the same thing: Children will not learn anything from TV that they could not learn from NOT having TV.  The only TV that MIGHT have a teaching effect, is programing that shows human faces talking in real time. 

 

The real problem, is that on a chemical level, TV is bad for them.  There are whole books on this (Endangered Minds is the one I have)

and it explains how just watching TV, regardless of content reforms children's brain synapse'  for shorter attention span, causing a rise in perceived ADD etc...

 

My son watched almost NO TV until age 2...then less than an hour a week.  At age three he watches a few times a week...mostly so I can rest (pregnant now) and/or take a shower, etc. 

I use it as a baby sitter ONLY...never for any "purpose".

 

 

 

 


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#64 of 81 Old 03-26-2011, 11:21 PM
 
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The studies all show the same thing: Children will not learn anything from TV that they could not learn from NOT having TV.  The only TV that MIGHT have a teaching effect, is programing that shows human faces talking in real time. 

 

The real problem, is that on a chemical level, TV is bad for them.  There are whole books on this (Endangered Minds is the one I have)

and it explains how just watching TV, regardless of content reforms children's brain synapse'  for shorter attention span, causing a rise in perceived ADD etc...

 

My son watched almost NO TV until age 2...then less than an hour a week.  At age three he watches a few times a week...mostly so I can rest (pregnant now) and/or take a shower, etc. 

I use it as a baby sitter ONLY...never for any "purpose".

 

 

 

 


I have ADD and watched all of 10 hours of tv from 9 months old to 5 years. My parents specifically got rid of their TV when I noticed it as a baby because I hyperfocused (ADD trait) so much that they couldn't get my attention until the TV was off.  When I was four, I had seen so little TV that I yelled at Mr. Rogers for not hearing me answer a question.

 

Many people with ADD find TV is great for letting their mind multitask on something unimportant so they can actually concentrate on the task at hand. For me, at least, other people being around does the same thing, but it's a LOT harder to spontaneously generate a group of chatting people who don't care if I tune them out occasionally, and rarely have my full attention on them, than it is to start up Netflix.

 

Do people who watch a lot of TV have ADD, or do people who have ADD watch a lot of TV?  How many kids have worse ADD symptoms after vacations from school, not too many I'd guess, but no one's bothered to look into that.

 

 

Does the book you have discuss chemicals or does it discuss brain wave patterns? And does it look at people reading books for pleasure, watching plays, gazing at a nursing infant, or any other relatively passive observation time and compare those chemicals (or brain waves) to people watching television?

 

 

Oh, and real faces talking in real time are the only type of video that kids can learn from? Unless that includes cartoon anthropomorphic frogs, then no. And dd first learned about sand castles from a cartoon pig and her little brother, so again, no.  (Note, when I was able to get her access to good wet sand castle sand, she knew just what to do with her bucket and spade and was sooo thrilled to be able to teach me.)

 

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#65 of 81 Old 03-27-2011, 01:18 AM
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There's a long tradition of popular literature claiming that this next generation is going to hell in a hand-basket and is far inferior to all the generations that came before it.  This is usually fed by the myth of the idyllic past.  In order to believe that the current generation is bad, you have to believe that the previous generation (usually the writers' own) was better.  Once, social critics blamed generational decay on Socrates.  I feel strongly the books like Endangered Minds are carrying on this ancient trend.  And I'm sure the subtitle Why Our Children Can't Think and What We Can Do About It has helped sales immensely.  It's a lovely combination of fear and pandering.

 

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#66 of 81 Old 03-27-2011, 03:16 AM
 
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I currently have three children of my own and a single mom at that. I find watching a movie in the evening before bed seems to calm my children down for bed. I have tried all other ways to calm them down before bed, but it seems watching a movie makes them relax, as well as adults. I sit and watch with them, and its always child friendly movies that are entertaining to them as well as myself. That is our time together before bed. My children are 18mths, 31 months and 4.5 years old. We do not do this every night how ever, some nights we sing quiet songs before bed as sometimes dinner takes too long to make & don't have time for a movie. I watched tv all the time as a kid, and I am a very smart adult. I dont believe in tv or movies messing with my kids heads at all! They learn alot that I didn't think of teaching them from it as well. But again, thats not me. Im not an every day average mother.


 

 

 

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#67 of 81 Old 03-27-2011, 04:21 AM
 
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Well the only thing that bothers me about the TV is all the violence in it if you don't filter what is watched. A child is exposed to 200,000 acts of violence by age 18, To me that is a red flag.

 

I worry about the desensitization of violence through the television. How many children see people killing each other on tv? I know a child who's tv is not filtered in the least. He always wants to play with "guns", he pretends to shoot you and says "I kill you/you dead now/blood everywhere/shoot you with my gun", it is glorified to him through tv and he does not see killing someone as something bad. He is only 4 y/o. I also know 3 and 7 y/o siblings that watch rated R movies, they cuss, fight, and attach people. The daughter will literally punch her mom in the face and call her a dumb c word. The 3 y/o pretends to kill people all the time. That is scary. These kids will grow up more than likely to be desensitized to violence since it seems they already are. It's not "just a phase", it's teaching them this is funny or look the hero kills the bad guy. I personally don't think killing is ok ever. Now it seems there is an increased screen time for rape scenes as well. This makes my stomach turn b/c I have been the victim IRL. It seems to be very drawn out, long and violent scenes...last night DH and I were watching the movie "The Killer Inside of Me" and like 30 min into it it shows a boy raping a 5 y/o girl and covering her mouth while she cried and it SHOWED her dress up and him thrusting and the car moving up and down and her facial expressions, I shut it off right away and thought I was going to vomit. This was absolutely sickening and has no business being in a movie. It was rated R and of course DD was sleeping but I was so repulsed by why that would be in a movie no matter what rated it is.

 

OP when you wrote that you let your son watch Iron Man I had the reaction of "WHY?! Isn't that a violent show?" I think filtering what is watched is very important. I also think limiting time is too, but even if you weren't going to (like so many people I know) if you filter out the violence, I think it helps quite a bit.

 

BTW I hate that violent or tough guy type of shows are geared towards little boys...


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#68 of 81 Old 03-27-2011, 04:42 AM
 
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Well, the movies are rated for a reason, as well as tv shows say "parental guidance while watching the show"... Things like rape, beatings, abuse, everything happens in real life whether anyone wants to believe it happens or not. I infact watched HoundDog which is another movie about raping a kid, and fatherly abuse. I however did not enjoy viewing what happened, but it gave me guidance on what to watch for in my future spouses as well as gave me strength to speak up from what happened in my past and let it be heard to my family who never knew! I realize some may think its revolting and shouldnt be put in a movie, but in some sense, it helps the people who have been sexually abused or physically abused, and how they come out of it, or show them that they werent the only ones!!! That is my view personally though. Everyone has their own opinions. (BUT yet again, Rated R is there for a reason, for kids not to be around while watching it)


 

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#69 of 81 Old 03-27-2011, 04:52 AM
 
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Right, but how many kids grow up to be these monsters and maybe this influenced it.

 

Of course ratings are for a reason. How many cartoons show physical violence all the time? Almost every kids movie I have seen. Almost all the Disney movies show violence, Pixar, nickelodeon all the tv companies that make "kids movies" seem to have violence in all of them. It is usually the main plot. Toy story was violent, Aladdin violent, Tom and Jerry very violent. All the newer movies like dispicable me ect


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#70 of 81 Old 03-27-2011, 05:40 AM
 
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Well no matter if its in movies or tv, or what not. Its in the schools, the dirty languages they speak in schools. You just have to be the parent and tell the kid right from wrong. Thats what I do to my children, and they do not hit or shove because they know its not nice & it hurts feelings. They know if it was done to them they dont like it. I think its all in the parenting. You cant keep your child away from EVERYTHING to be honest.


 

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#71 of 81 Old 03-27-2011, 07:39 AM
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Well the only thing that bothers me about the TV is all the violence in it if you don't filter what is watched. A child is exposed to 200,000 acts of violence by age 18, To me that is a red flag.

 

I worry about the desensitization of violence through the television. How many children see people killing each other on tv? I know a child who's tv is not filtered in the least. He always wants to play with "guns", he pretends to shoot you and says "I kill you/you dead now/blood everywhere/shoot you with my gun", it is glorified to him through tv and he does not see killing someone as something bad. He is only 4 y/o. I also know 3 and 7 y/o siblings that watch rated R movies, they cuss, fight, and attach people. The daughter will literally punch her mom in the face and call her a dumb c word. The 3 y/o pretends to kill people all the time. That is scary. These kids will grow up more than likely to be desensitized to violence since it seems they already are. It's not "just a phase", it's teaching them this is funny or look the hero kills the bad guy. I personally don't think killing is ok ever. Now it seems there is an increased screen time for rape scenes as well. This makes my stomach turn b/c I have been the victim IRL. It seems to be very drawn out, long and violent scenes...last night DH and I were watching the movie "The Killer Inside of Me" and like 30 min into it it shows a boy raping a 5 y/o girl and covering her mouth while she cried and it SHOWED her dress up and him thrusting and the car moving up and down and her facial expressions, I shut it off right away and thought I was going to vomit. This was absolutely sickening and has no business being in a movie. It was rated R and of course DD was sleeping but I was so repulsed by why that would be in a movie no matter what rated it is.

 

OP when you wrote that you let your son watch Iron Man I had the reaction of "WHY?! Isn't that a violent show?" I think filtering what is watched is very important. I also think limiting time is too, but even if you weren't going to (like so many people I know) if you filter out the violence, I think it helps quite a bit.

 

BTW I hate that violent or tough guy type of shows are geared towards little boys...



my "no-tv" now 8-year old nephew has been one of those pointing-fake-guns people for a couple years now. he has a big phase of telling people he was going to shoot them and kill them etc... he also attends a school where many parents are also "no-tv" although he was at a more mainstream preschool.  so i don't think you can blame tv for all of that. 


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#72 of 81 Old 03-27-2011, 09:18 AM
 
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Personally, we follow the no TV rule. I think in moderation eventually it will be fine. But, I feel that when kids are watching TV, it is easy to just let them sit and be happy and try to get a few things done and that could turn into a bad habit. I have noticed with many people (including myself) that when the TV is on, you're going to spend less time reading or being physically active. I think those things are too important to miss out on just to watch a little TV. We will see how it goes for us as our son gets older, but for now we have cancelled our cable so it is not even an option.

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#73 of 81 Old 03-27-2011, 09:35 AM
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I absolutely agree that there are things that children shouldn't watch. I think it's a pretty big leap, though to say that because there are r-rated movies, children shouldn't watch tv.

On violence in television - children's books are also pretty violent. My 3yo is in love with the Three Billy Goats Gruff right now. It's not exactly gentle. Children's stories are violent even in traditional media. Someone tries to kill Harry Potter every year. Red Riding Hood's grandmother gets eaten. Hansel and Gretel are abandoned to starve, and then kidnapped and almost eaten before carrying out a murder. Superhero stories like Iron Man carry on the tradition of heroic adventure stories that goes back as far as the first recorded stories, and that have always been enormously appealing to a broad audience. Seeing it on tv is very different from reading it and individual families have to decide what is right for them. But it's hardly fair to suggest that tv is the most violent medium.

I also object to characterizing cartoons like Tom and Jerry as violent. They're slapstick. They have deep roots in an ancient comedic tradition. If you have kids who seem likely to imitate that, or if it's just not right for your family, it's probably a good idea to limit exposure, but I still wouldn't call it violent.
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#74 of 81 Old 03-27-2011, 02:06 PM
 
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As part of my syllabus I teach media studies, so needless to say I watch a fair amount of various modern media to get an idea of what my kids (students) are watching.  I also let DS watch TV because I watch TV and I can't ban him from it while I'm watching it. DD is under 2 and she sees it on and is in my lap nursing while I surf the web and listen  to podcasts, etc. Shedoesn't really watch but she does like to dance to the music.  She is not that drawn to screens unless its Skype with her Gran.

 

DS has always been drawn to the screen and is mesmorized and when he's with a babysitter or his Gran I know he's getting plopped in front of a TV or Starfall for hours, and he never ever would get bored.  I'm just glad its mostly Animal Planet and Starfall and not Disney Channel and ClubPenguin.  We talk a lot about media in our home constantly, its impact, its goals, and what is really being said and sold in the subtext.  He's pretty intuitive and understands a lot of the manipulation happening, but we still limit access because he's a nicer kid when he gets outside and plays in the sun or uses his creative energy. 

 

I don't put a lot of stock in research about the effects of media because the media is constantly changing and we can't really tell what the long term effects will be.  Furthermore I usually hear these reports being cited for evidence that I should sink my money into some other toy or "educational" item.  DS watched probably too much TV for a kid, but he was speaking bilingually in full sentences by the time he was 18 months, and is now reading at a second grade level in Kindergarten.  DD is incredibly verbal in two languages (for a 14 month old) and she signs about 40 different things and has a TV or computer screen on around her almost 5 hours a day. I think it has way more to do with how you watch media, and what your parents allow you to do with that media, and how you are encouraged (or not) to explore the effects of media.  Mindless absorbtion of anything is bad, from TV to schooling to church.  A child who is encouraged to be passive in their intake of the world is not really learning, they are just absorbing, and that's not the same thing. 

 

Some good videos for parents to watch (from Media Education Foundation) are Consuming Kids, Mickey Mouse Monopoly, and Killing Us Softly 1-4, just to name a few.  They highlight some of the more dangerous impacts of media, and while a part of me thinks this is good reason to ban all TV I realize that this would not really be a solid solution because they get movie days in school, or go to a friend's house, and then they don't have the skills to process it because I banned it.  Like with alcohol, drugs or sex (when we get to that age) I would rather be able to talk openly and honestly about it then have it be this forbidden thing that is too taboo to discuss.


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#75 of 81 Old 03-27-2011, 02:56 PM
 
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Rebekah!  I saw Mickey Mouse Monopoly in grad school and would LOVE to see it again.  Where can I find it? 

 

I also have Consuming Kids and love it.  Am totally frustrated with the marketing towards kids, even babies here in this country. 

 

Thanks!

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#76 of 81 Old 03-27-2011, 03:20 PM
 
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I downloaded both of those from Vuze...is that legal to admit?  You can also buy them from the Media Education Foundation website.


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#77 of 81 Old 03-28-2011, 12:41 AM
 
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I have raised my only daughter, now 21 months old, relatively isolated from the mainstream. We live in a place that can only be reached by plane in Alaska. I think often the choices we make as parents are greatly influenced by our immediate environments, even if we do things differently.

My perception of the cultural norm here in terms of child rearing is that TV is generally on a lot, from the time that children are very little. It's just a fact. I see it as a very large part of the kids' world, I think it may have some detrimental effects and yet it also is a window into a world that they do not often get to see firsthand. So there is a narrow picture of my community, and then there is the inside of my home. My husband was raised with TV often in the background, to fall asleep, after school, whenever he wanted. He still loves to watch TV, he finds a lot of comfort in it, he enjoys the mindlessness of it after a long day, he even feels that he has been largely educated by it- and he doesn't have a problem with letting our daughter watch it. It's not that he wants her to be glued to the tube, but given his upbringing and how he turned out (quite well- he's extremely bright, engaging, a reflective and thoughtful person and professional, he loves to read, he embodies excellence--and he loves TV), he doesn't see it as a problem.

I on the other hand was raised with TV on a very restrictive basis. I was only allowed to watch it once or twice a week and needless to say, my younger brother and I sneaked it a lot when our parents weren't looking. I resented how little I was able to watch and didn't understand why I couldn't. The only justification my mother would give me: it's not healthy. That did not mean very much to me at the time. But after I made it through my rebellious teenage years and was on my own more, I found that TV was not a huge part of my life, I had a fairly blasé (this iPad just added the accent on the e, how wonderful!) relationship with it. I enjoyed it while it was on, and didn't give it much thought when it was off. Fast-forward a couple of years and I am a parent, and I find, quite honestly to my surprise, that when you become a parent, it seems to behoove you to have very strong, decisive views on every little thing, from vaccines, to processed foods, to sleep habits, to breast feeding, and yes, to TV viewing. What happened to my blasé relationship to TV watching? Without much thought, I reverted pretty mindlessly to my mother's strict views that TV is bad and kids shouldn't watch it. I knew what the research said generally, which further confirmed my bias. I began to judge my neighbors who were raising their kids with it often on, and yes, I even judged my husband, for his apparent lack of regard to my best efforts to keep our daughter away from it.

I've clung to that mindset from DD's earliest months, and only now am I beginning to question it. What started as an argument between my husband and I recently about what our stance on DD's TV watching ought to be- quite contentious and judgement-laden at first- turned, I'm not sure how, to real, deep listening. I began to see that what I perceived as his mindless habits, were for him, a very precious part of his upbringing. It was a part of his family's culture, and still is. It is a means of bonding, it is a way of finding comfort, it is a way to relax, and it can be educational. Not my way, but isn't it still valid?? I began to realize that if I truly accept my husband, I start to get off my high-horse on matters of parenting, and the healthiest way to live, and just start loving and trying to understand more. Essentially I am starting to see TV as a valid thread in our society's fabric, as well as our family's. I may not like general programming, but if we are mindful of what we choose to absorb from the TV waves, and have balance in our lives, it's not such an abhorrent thing.

There is that component, and then there is the simple fact that we as parents, need to take care of ourselves to be at our best. All of the time we have to weigh the consequences of our own choices and actions on the welfare of our babies. I find it to be the greatest challenge to maintain balance with the necessity of being reflective, conscientious parents and the potential for that reflection and constant questioning to turn our bodies and minds into toxic pools of guilt and self-loathing for the potential harm that we are wittingly or unwittingly inflicting on our kids.

Basically, I have decided that sometimes is is just plain better for me to let DD watch the TV so that I can get some much needed space. Sometimes I need a break, and all the better if I can leave the guilt on the front porch. Sometimes, DD really wants to watch the tube here and there, and more often now, I let her. Some days she watches more than others, some days none at all. Most days the guilt of this seeming compromise of my values, and my mother's values eats at me, but more and more I am finding moments of freedom from it when I realize that my daughter KNOWS that I love her and I am here for her, and that I am taking care of myself all the while.

To conclude this longwinded post (I wrote way more than I intended, whew!) I believe that research is research, findings by a bunch of erudite scholars doing the best they can to get at the truth. But research isn't flawless, as researchers are people too, with their own motivations and biases that we can't always know. Research is supposed to give us answers, and while it can lead to more understanding of certain issues on a subset of people, it should not be whimsically thrown at the masses as generalizable truth. I believe that there is no one answer to this perplexing issue of our time. Our society's people are multi-faceted and to assume that there is one answer to this puzzle, or that research studies are the be-all end-all to the question, is short-sighted and perhaps even elitist. I think we need to think about it more, question our judgements and our values, try to decipher where they come from and if they are justified, and come up with the best answer for ourselves, for right now. I'd like to think that we can continuously evolve the discourse on the matter from what is "right and wrong" to "what works best for us and brings our lives and others the greatest joy?" Maybe?

Thanks for reading folks, it's my first post, and I'll try to be more succinct in the future as well as interact more with previous posts. I just joined and felt compelled to share. Lots of love and respect to the mommys and daddys out there...
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#78 of 81 Old 03-28-2011, 08:17 AM
 
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Thanks Emmyflowers for your perspective!  I enjoyed reading your first post :) 

 

A note on research:  I have worked in several university research labs that have large national grants to study various social and medical issues.  All too often I have seen intelligent, well respected researchers reorganize the data in ways so that vague results become something a little more conclusive so that a paper can get published.  Then a popular science magazine comes along and takes the reorganized vague data turned semi-conclusive research paper and paraphrases the study into something compelling to read.  Of course this is not always the case, but I have lost some of my faith in research after working in the research field.  Just don't forget the grain of salt.

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#79 of 81 Old 03-28-2011, 08:28 AM
 
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Originally Posted by pranava View Post

Thanks Emmyflowers for your perspective!  I enjoyed reading your first post :) 

 

A note on research:  I have worked in several university research labs that have large national grants to study various social and medical issues.  All too often I have seen intelligent, well respected researchers reorganize the data in ways so that vague results become something a little more conclusive so that a paper can get published.  Then a popular science magazine comes along and takes the reorganized vague data turned semi-conclusive research paper and paraphrases the study into something compelling to read.  Of course this is not always the case, but I have lost some of my faith in research after working in the research field.  Just don't forget the grain of salt.



So true! and I can't tell you how many times I have seen two articles cite the same study with different results, or a different twist on the results to emphasize what is beneficial to their point.

 

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Rebekah - mom to Ben 03/05 and Emily 01/10, a peace educator, and a veg*n and wife to Jamie.
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#80 of 81 Old 03-30-2011, 10:38 AM
 
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If I could eliminate television from the planet, I would. lol. But since I can't I don't think it's fair to ban it altogether in our home. I am so proud of my husband, who has gone from an almost constant tv watcher to getting the baseball package online and not getting cable channels :)  For the kids, I buy movies that I have screened and approve of what they are teaching, both the upfront and the not so obvious. I am also fine with watching something together with the kids, and just taking it out of our "tv library" if there is something my husband and I think is not appropriate.

 

Personally I have seen Word World a couple times and am not very impressed by it. Really I haven't seen much at all on cable that I think has any point to it. Olivia I don't think is terrible. Just bought an Olivia dvd, should come in the mail soon. Hope Iwas right to get it.

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#81 of 81 Old 03-30-2011, 11:02 AM
 
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Originally Posted by kismetbaby View Post

In my ideal mommy world I would not even have a TV. .. but in reality I let DS, 17m watch one (occasionally two) Signing Time video a day.  But hey, in my ideal mommy-world, I'd also have extended family around to help me.  The reality is that DS is high needs and sometimes I really need to cook dinner and it would be impossible without the distraction.  I don't feel great about it, but I keep it limited and he has actually learned a lot of sign language from the DVDs.  Of course I reinforce that by using the signs myself, but he truly loves those videos.  And now he has seen them all so many times, that he will often just play while they are on, but get upset if I turn it off before it's over.  So, I definitely can relate to the child playing better on their own with the TV on.

 

I was brought up without a TV in the house till I was 10 or so and I was one of those "weird" kids who would totally zone out if I saw a TV, b/c I was so unaccustomed to it.  My friends used to tease me about it when I'd go to their house and I couldn't ignore the TV as background.  

 

So I guess I'm aiming for something in the middle for my kids, some moderation, but not total banishment of media.

 

 

Right there with you however I was raised with a TV, no doubt.  Shooting for the middle ground. 

 

My Son is 21 months and we watch Signing Time as well.  We have been checking out Alone in the Wilderness and that is fantastic.  We chat while he watches and he signs bear, water, deer, and the list goes on.  I personally cannot stand the TV... we do not have cable but occasionally my Husband wants to watch a movie after DS is snoozing.  We watch his cues and do not let him watch busy DVDs at all (Disney, I cannot stand all the hidden agendas, etc. ). 

 

When over at friends houses he sees the kids watching and wants to join... which we let him for a SHORT time only.... moving on to something else.... me in the corner clenching my teeth. 


 

 


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