What is up with this? ( kids watching tv) - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 29 Old 06-10-2002, 12:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Is it "normal" among "mainstream" parents to sit infants in front of the tv? I have veard that they see it as educational and appropriately stimulating. I am not understanding this.

-BelovedBird

Mom of 5 boys- 13, 10, 8, 2 : and newbie Aug. 24th, '09 . babywearing advocate . Cook, baker, homemaker, wife to a man with another woman's kidney (live altruistic, unknown donor).
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#2 of 29 Old 06-10-2002, 02:04 PM
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I don't know if it is normal, but I think it started with those videos that were made for infants. A couple people told me how "great" those videos were because the babies were so fascinated by them.: How about holding and talking or singing to your baby, or just letting them watch what you are doing, they will be just as fascinated by that. I do think that most mainstream parents let their toddlers watch tv because they think that they are learning numbers, alphabet etc., even though the mainstream peds recommend that children under two don't watch tv.
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#3 of 29 Old 06-10-2002, 02:10 PM
 
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TV/Videos are the "In" thing right now. My sister has every Baby Einstien video (actually DVD) available. Her one-year-old daughter has been watching them since she was about 3 months old. I think she spends at least an hour a day watching them. My sister thinks their wonderful. I get all this pressure from my sister and my parents to let my DS watch them too. I tried a few times and he has no interest (can't complain about that!). I do put the TV on for him here and there (like to distract him from a diaper change) but I think it is sad that these parents are letting their babies watch so much TV.

At my Gymboree class, we have these parent topics. One topic was "What are some fun things you do with your baby". I eagerly anticipated getting fun things to do with DS. But almost every parent there named The Einstein videos as their fun activity. Oh, and one mom mentioned flashcards. I loved the looks on the parent's faces when I said "Well, I tickle Jack and we play peekaboo."

Dina
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#4 of 29 Old 06-10-2002, 02:15 PM
 
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we use the tv while i clip dd's nails. thats it. it works great btw. i'll have to remember it for diaper changes.
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#5 of 29 Old 06-10-2002, 02:33 PM
 
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i don't feel great about letting dd 14 mo watch elmo videos, but i get to read the paper and have some coffee in the morning. she loves them, but you won't hear me saying i think they are educational or anything like that. she never watched that stuff till she was 7-8 mo and i never actually let her just sit there and watch a whole tape till about 2 months ago. i always held her and talked to her/read to her. we do lots of great stuff together. i just need a little coffee break first thing, and coffee is hot, i'd rather she not be hovering.
i would not recommend these videos to anyone, nor would i stick her infront of the tv for hours at a time, nor would i believe that i was doing her any favors by letting her watch these tapes. but i am only human!
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#6 of 29 Old 06-10-2002, 03:25 PM
 
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i let my son watch seseame street when he started talking and talking and talking, the getting a break issue is so important, he was "spirited" so i held him all the time and he bf just about every 30 mins,( was 20 lbs by 4 months!)

i know that it acually did do him some good as he was realy to learn letters and numbers and so on, but we kept it at about a half hour a day. my daily little break

but i wouldnt recommend it as the thing to do. those einstien vidoes are just rediculous imo. your infant will learn much more from you just talking to him, your face and voice is the best and most stimulating experience he can get at that age
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#7 of 29 Old 06-10-2002, 03:51 PM
 
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Umm..I let DD watch SS or a video sometimes, usually when I am about to "lose it" and just REALLY need her to not need me for a few minutes. It may not be the perfect AP thing to do, but I am doing my best at these times. I am human too.

In defense of the einstein videos...well she has two and she really likes them. One is just animals and music, she really likes the footage of kittens and puppies playing, ducks swimming, etc. I don't see anything THAT bad with the content. To me it is more the issue of letting her watch TV in general. No, I don't think of them as educational, but they do entertain her briefly. I think used occasionally in a conscientious way they are pretty harmless, the problem is when they become "the babysitter".

BTW all videos we have were gifts (even though we have said we have *plenty* already)
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#8 of 29 Old 06-10-2002, 04:24 PM
 
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You can ask anyone who knows me and they'll tell you that I'm basically anti TV. We don't have cable and we own one TV which is often in the corner unplugged. However, I LOVE the Baby Einstein videos. I bought them with baby #2 and haven't looked back. I also have almost all of the books that go with them. We also have the CD's that play the music from them. I wouldn't say that I sit my kids in front of the TV at 6 mon to watch them for an hour but I will say that when they want to watch TV I'd rather have them watching those and then follow up with the books and the CD's then have them watching alot of other crap that's on. I tried to cut TV out altogether but felt it was too limiting. There are some educational things on TV. We definately do a lot of reading, talking, holding and singing too. In fact, I often sit and watch the videos with them. That way we can learn together.

Just my 2 cents!

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#9 of 29 Old 06-10-2002, 05:30 PM
 
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im sorry i didnt mean to offend neone who likes and uses the einstien vidoes, no excuse but i really shouldnt post when ive just woken up :

i guess my real beef with educational vidoes for infants is just tryiin to compensate for the intense publicity all that stuff if getting, as if this is the "new way" to parent and if your not on it your diservicing your child and hes gonna be behind all the "smart" babies

as a short break i think alot of shows can work but as an education tool, hands on is my preferred choice, i.e books mags, blocks, road signs, shapes are everywhere!
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#10 of 29 Old 06-10-2002, 05:42 PM
 
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I, for one, wasn't offended at all! I don't know if you were talking about me but I wasn't offended! I was just stating my case! I agree, hands on is definately the best! You can't substitute a video for real life and hands on!

Amy - Blessed wife to Jesse (the best dad in the world), mother of 10 on earth plus 8 in heaven.   PROUD to be a Catholic! : winner.jpg familybed2.gifhomeschool.gif

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#11 of 29 Old 06-10-2002, 06:00 PM
 
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I try to limit TV as much as possible. My ds has seen the weather channel a few times so I can figure out how to dress him, and I let him watch a few minutes of family videos. I think my biggest fear is that he will like TV too much, and that it would be tempting to let him watch it while I do chores or something. I doubt that I would, but I'd rather not risk it. I'd much rather interact with him.

That said, I'd much rather someone turn on the TV for a few minutes than lose it with my ds. My mom babysat him while I went to a doctor appointment, and he was pretty upset toward the end. She turned on cartoons to calm him down. Not my first choice, of course, but certainly better than getting to a point where she lost control. As for videos, I think they're better than TV because you can avoid some of the marketing in commericals.

We got an Einstein video as a gift. The one we got was terribly boring. I do think exposing your children to all types of music is a plus. Watching it, though, isn't as exciting as playing some offbeat song on the stereo and teaching baby a new dance, imho. He loves being surprised by my music choices and dances.
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#12 of 29 Old 06-10-2002, 10:05 PM
 
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i guess my real beef with educational vidoes for infants is just tryiin to compensate for the intense publicity all that stuff if getting, as if this is the "new way" to parent and if your not on it your diservicing your child and hes gonna be behind all the "smart" babies
This reminded me of something funny & sad FIL said (he is getting a bonus baby this summer...been 30 years since his next youngest was born (DH) : ) We said something about how DD loves to read books all the time, how sometimes after reading like 20 or 30 in a row it gets tiring...he said "oh they got these books nowadays...you don't even have to read them, the kid presses a button and it reads the book aloud to them...". Dh says "Dad, you are in for some big surprises if you think your kid is gonna like that better than you reading to them". I don't think FIL is anti AP or anything, or that he wouldn't want to read his kid a book, he's just mainstrream, and mainstream people sometimes see these things as a parent conveinience more than a toy for the child. But I think DH is right...he is in for some surprises...

BTW I wasn't offended either. Everyone is entitled to their opinions IMO

OM
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#13 of 29 Old 06-11-2002, 12:03 AM
 
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We use the TV as a babysitter here pretty regularly. It's the only way I get to shower, and helps with pre-dinner time, too. As long as what they're watching is something I've seen and approve of, that's okay.

The original Baby Einstein is okay with me. DS#1 loved it and was able to recite the alphabets of six languages at 24 months because of it. Not too shabby.

The music ones were worthless. Listening to someone play little Mozart-esque ditties on their electric piano is not my idea of expanding brain power or music appreciation. And the visuals that went with those actually spooked DS, so we never tried it after the first attempt.

We have cut back on actual TV (versus videotapes) though, since 9/11 (DS was watching a kids show that was pre-empted when the first plane hit and ... well, never mind).

- Amy
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#14 of 29 Old 06-11-2002, 01:47 AM
 
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whats so baffeling to me is my young friends (19-21) i'm 21....who rave about their 2 month olds who love the TV. I guess my 18 month old is an odd apple (luckily) because she wont have anything to do with tv unless i am watching and there is a doggy or kitty on. I cant imagin a child under two sitting down for TV for longer then 5 minutes. I personally watch TV too much so i am blessed that she doesnt like it or i would have to just keep it off and i am sure i will have to change my bad habbit once she gets interested in it. maybe i should just start not watching it now. i only have 2 channels anyway.

its definately a trend that mother rave over...instead of my baby is smiling its....my baby is so into TV! weird.

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Angela: Catholic Homeschooling Mom to Sierra(11/00), twins Addison & Kendall(3/03), Jack(4/06), Brielle (7/08), Levi (2/2011); due with#7 (9/13). Birthed every witch way.....hospital. C section. VbAC. Unassisted water birth (hypno/painless). Assisted waterbirth to an almost 10lber! (Not painless!)
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#15 of 29 Old 06-11-2002, 02:07 AM
 
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I don't have a problem with parents using the TV to get some personal time during the day. What bugs me is the extent to which we are sold the idea that our kids will be losing out if we aren't plunking them down in front of Baby Einstein (or whatever) for an hour a day.

TV is mental junk food, IMO. A little isn't going to hurt anyone, total deprivation sometimes just makes the kids want to binge when they're out from under your thumb, but you certainly shouldn't feel like you're HURTING your kids if you don't give them any, especially when they're young enough not to know what they're missing!

(We do own a TV. 20-month-old dd takes no interest in it. It might help if I ever turned on children's programming, but we don't get PBS very well for some reason. I did pick up a Sesame Street video once, but I haven't had the heart to open it. I just stick her in the bath with me while I shower, and I either encourage her to sit at the dining room table and color while I'm starting dinner, or I wait until dh gets home.)
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#16 of 29 Old 06-11-2002, 02:22 AM
 
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Okay I must be evil or something - DD and I are in front of the TV most of the day right now. BUT we first watch TLC for their childrens programming before Baby Story then we watch the baby story - we are expecting on Christmas day and I want her to be familiar with the sounds of labor and a new baby. We also sit in front of PBS for quite a while. We watch together and I point out things to her. I sit and watch WITH her, she doesnt' jsut sit in front of the tube and stare. I do have to say that up until we started watching PBS etc she wasnt' really trying to form many words, now she is her vocabulary has gone from mom-mom to about 20 discernable words. We will usually read a book together after we ahve watched something and try to correlate what we have watched to what book we choose (okay I do that part) but for us it has been a great educational tool.

We would spend more time outside but right now we have a heat index of about 98 degrees durign the day here and I jst cannot take that heat - even in the pool it is too much for me right now. DH usually takes her out exploring in the early evening when it starts to cool down. He puts her int he wagon or on the back of his bike and they go for their nightly walk or ride.

Yes, I feel guilty but frankly - I'm fat (no I'm not putting myself down I jsut know I'm not skinny) , pregnant and jsut getting over the m/s and exhaustion so the TV as a teaching tool is what works for us right now, when it cools down a bit and I'm not so tired taht might change considerably.
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#17 of 29 Old 06-11-2002, 08:00 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by Naomi
TV is mental junk food, IMO. A little isn't going to hurt anyone, total deprivation sometimes just makes the kids want to binge when they're out from under your thumb, but you certainly shouldn't feel like you're HURTING your kids if you don't give them any, especially when they're young enough not to know what they're missing!
You see, that was exactly what I was wondering about with this question. How some parents see tv as essential to their child being raised well. I don't own a tv but for those that do, I understand letting kids watch it, using it to get a few free minutes to do something. Mam's who have a tv probably "lose it" with their kids less because they have somethig that the kids want to do that keeps them from "nagging". I just don't understand how someone would see my kids as not growing up as "well" since they don't have the benefit of tv.

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#18 of 29 Old 06-11-2002, 09:30 AM
 
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Here are a couple of interesting links from the AAP on TV viewing.

http://www.aap.org/advocacy/chm98nws.htm

http://www.aap.org/advocacy/archives/augdis.htm
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#19 of 29 Old 06-11-2002, 10:21 AM
 
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Kinda OT, but not really...

A recommended book that goes along with the info in jasnjakesmama's links:

Magic Trees of the Mind: How to Nurture Your Child's Intelligence, Creativity, and Healthy Emothions from Birth Through Adolescence
by Marian Diamond, Ph.D. and Janet Hopson

Kinda dense...very technical and a somewhat difficult read, but worth it. Marian Diamond is a reserch scientist working on how the brain develops and how physical and sensory stimulation assist the sprouting and branching of neurons (magic trees). It even has illustrations of how develped those branches are based upon the type and amount of stimulation.

It discusses ways to help those "magic trees" develop at every stage from conception through adolescence. Very good book.

Oh...as for TV & videos, my 10 mo dd isn't much interested except for a few min of Teletubbies. For some reason, they really get her attention. My MIL turned it on for her one day when she was babysitting for me & told me how my dd squealed and giggled and "talked" to the characters. So, on occassion, I turn it on for her.

My 17 yo dd didn't watch anything until she was about 18 mo and then it was Sesame Street, Reading Rainbow & Zoobliezoo. There was another show with 3 musicians that I can't remember the name of ....the Elephant Show, maybe? She really liked that one, too. But we limited the amount of TV time, dependent upon age. 30 min at 18 mo, 1 hr at 2 yrs, etc. She always had a max of 1 1/2 hrs throughout childhood, mostly PBS shows or videos from those shows. She did occassionally watch the reruns of The Muppet Show & loved the Muppet movies when she was older.
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#20 of 29 Old 06-11-2002, 11:03 AM
 
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I cancelled cable TV two months ago when ds was one year. And if you don't have cable, it's almost impossible to watch anything else here (because of the satellite), so we are free! and we are so happy! When ds is older, I can consider renting some videos for us to watch together.
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#21 of 29 Old 06-11-2002, 11:38 AM
 
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My brother and I watched PBS only sporadically until Mom had back surgery when I was 5 and my brother was 2 1/2. Then she encouraged us to watch the whole PBS kids' line-up, about 4 hours every afternoon, to keep us occupied quietly while she was in traction. I don't think that was a terrible thing--they were good shows and often inspired us to try new kinds of creative and experimental play--but it did get us into the habit of watching TV, and later my parents had to argue with us about watching cartoons or sitcom reruns after school.

We had three family rules about TV that I think were very good: Turn off the sound when a commercial comes on, turn on TV only for specific programs (no channel-surfing), and if you are not giving your full attention to TV it will be turned off. The last rule prevents you from getting into the habit of half-watching TV while doing homework, etc. (The downside is that you don't develop the ability to ignore TV when you can't escape it, for instance in a restaurant. But that motivates you to avoid that kind of situation!)

As we got older, my parents didn't officially regulate what we were allowed to watch in the evenings, but they did pay close attention, discourage us from watching every night or for long periods, and usually watch with us. We loved the British shows on PBS, rarely watched the commercial networks, and never had cable. Kids at school thought I was weird because I usually hadn't seen the shows "everybody" else had, but I don't think I missed anything! On my deathbed, I'll be happily recalling bedtime stories with my dad and family firefly-watching walks, not wishing I'd seen every episode of "Eight Is Enough"!

I recently read a book from the late 1970s called The Plug-in Drug which makes some good points about the negative effects of too much TV particularly on young children. I agree that TV is similar to a drug. My attitude is that drugs are not wholly evil but should be used carefully and moderately, and children should be introduced to them very gradually and with a lot of parental guidance.

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#22 of 29 Old 06-11-2002, 03:25 PM
 
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I have one video that I put in about once a week for 20 minutes or so when I just need a few minutes to relax. It's like a baby mozart video, but it's called So Smart. Someone gave it to us. Ds really likes it. Other than that, ds doesn't watch any tv, but I worry about the exposure of the tv that dh and I watch. During the day I usually don't watch anything, maybe Oprah now and then, or maybe the cooking channel while ds naps on me. But in the evenings we tend to have the tv on for awhile. Not every evening, but most. Ds is usually playing on the floor with dh while this is happening. Does anyone else worry about this? I wonder if I am conditioning ds to watch tv just by us doing it. I guess I am, since they learn by example. We have definitely cut down our tv viewing since he was born. Got rid of digital cable. (Can't get rid of regular cable, cuz then we wouldn't get ESPN and the world might come to an end!: ) I don't like to have anything real violent or scary on when ds is in the room however.

Anyway, that's what's happening in our house. I have a good friend with a son the same age as ds (13 months) and since he was a newborn they have raved about all his favorite videos and cartoons. They are pretty AP otherwise - EBF, cosleep, so it has always surprised me that they are so into the tv as entertainer/babysitter.

As a kid the rule was that we always had to ask to turn the tv on. I like this rule, as it definitely cuts down on the automatic switching on of the tv. My parents were always taking us to do things on the weekends too, so other than watching Shirley Temple movies on Sundays, we didn't veg out in front of the tv much. That is until I was a teenager and MTV came out! I plan on having the same rule for ds, and definitely no tv in his bedroom.
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#23 of 29 Old 06-11-2002, 03:36 PM
 
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Gotta agree with you oceanmomma. WHen I was a kid the same rules applied. and NO ONE ever had a tv in the bedroom then! I can't beleive it! I got a TV in my room when I was 19 and bought it myself! DS lives with my folks and he has had one in his room sine he was 6! Makes me sick! BUt he *HAD* to be able to play his video games when mom and dad watche their tv shows! AAACCCKKK ! Oh well - their house=their rules I suppose. THey adopted him when he was 6 becuse of school districts and a lot of other reasons so I gues sI don't have a lot of say int he matter anymore... Oh well we still ahve a great relationship anyhow...
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#24 of 29 Old 06-11-2002, 05:16 PM
 
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Yeah, this is one of those "when I have children I'm going to" items that I have had a complete change of perspective on after having children.

Pre-baby - I didn't think my children would watch TV (or videos) until they were 2 or 3 and then I thought they would only watch TV if I was watching it with them.

With DS #1 I learned that while he would cry and cry and cry while I tried to take a shower (I sometimes bathed with him but couldn't wash my hair while holding a 3 month old), but he would contently watch the Baby Bach video for 15 minutes.

Now, I let my 2 year old watch about an hour of TV on many days while I am doing household chores or returning phone calls (I work at home, mostly after he has gone to bed, but I have to make some phone calls during business hours). I prefer that he watch Between the Lions or Sesame Street. His favorite show is Dragon Tales. He enjoys TV and I think it's a fine "down time" for him after we've been playing hard all day (going to the playground, pool, etc.).

I only let him watch PBS (and the occasional episode of Oprah -LOL).

I also enjoy watching some TV at night - if the baby is awake and I want to watch a show with potential adult lanuage but okay images (Friends, for example) I watch with closed captioning and no sound.

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#25 of 29 Old 06-11-2002, 05:25 PM
 
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Envirobecca, I thought your post raised some really great points.

Quote:
My brother and I watched PBS only sporadically until Mom had back surgery when I was 5 and my brother was 2 1/2. Then she encouraged us to watch the whole PBS kids' line-up, about 4 hours every afternoon, to keep us occupied quietly while she was in traction.
See, that's a situation where I think using the TV as a babysitter is pretty valid. Ideally, we'd all live in communities where a seriously sick or injured mother would have all her friends and sisters and sisters-in-law to come help out while she was recovering. But a lot of us don't have that. Four hours of TV every afternoon is not an ideal situation, but neither is having a mom in traction. You do what you can, you know?

Quote:
and if you are not giving your full attention to TV it will be turned off. The last rule prevents you from getting into the habit of half-watching TV while doing homework, etc. (The downside is that you don't develop the ability to ignore TV when you can't escape it, for instance in a restaurant. But that motivates you to avoid that kind of situation!)
My family didn't have any real rules about TV, it just wasn't a major part of our family culture. I would binge on Saturday morning cartoons every week (Smurfs, anyone?) but other than that, I watched very little. My parents watched the evening news and then the McNeil-Lehrer report (which is an excellent way to turn your kids OFF to watching TV, by the way -- borrrrrrrrrring!) We didn't get cable. In fact, until I was in middle school, we had only a black and white TV.

Anyway, as a kid, I only watched TV if I was actually WATCHING it. And as a result, if there's a TV on in a restaurant or something, I find it almost IMPOSSIBLE to ignore! It really drives me nuts

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Kids at school thought I was weird because I usually hadn't seen the shows "everybody" else had, but I don't think I missed anything!
When I tell people that I haven't seen even a single episode of "The Brady Bunch," they always have the same question: "Not even the Grand Canyon episode???" I feel a little out of the cultural loop sometimes
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#26 of 29 Old 06-11-2002, 05:51 PM
 
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I know we've talked about this before. I grew up without a tv, and I prefer tv free living. When there is not a tv around, kids get more exercise and have more time to play imaginative games. I know it isn't for everyone, but my household is tv free, and we're pretty happy that way.

I'm pro-adoption reform, but not anti-adoption.
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#27 of 29 Old 06-12-2002, 04:59 PM
 
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We have a tv and it is pretty much always on. I listen to the news in the morning while I'm getting ready. I either watch the news and nurse ds in the evening or I have it on so I can hear it while I cook dinner. He doesn't seem a bit interested, at least not anymore. When he was a little guy he learned to roll over because I would lay him on the floor in front of the tv (the only floor space big enough to lay him down and have me sit with him) and he would raise up and tip his body sideways to see the tv. Eventually, the weight of his head pulled him over onto his back. Occasionally now he will stop crawling around and sit for a second watching the tv but it is never more than a minute because he would rather see how much stuff he can get into!

He still spends plenty of time being held and he isn't plopped in front of the tv. We also read alot and play other types of games. So I don't think he is being deprived of anything just because the tv is on
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#28 of 29 Old 06-12-2002, 10:07 PM
 
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With my ds who is 4 now...we let him watch lots of tv from age 2-3 lots of nick jr and pbs...i really didn't like the effect it had on him he gets really upset if something bad starts happening so I said no more tv...now we watch videos and some tv when he is sick but I can really tell a big difference in his imaginative play....before he would just imulate what he saw on blues clues or whatever now he makes up his own stories(this could be his age too) and can play for hours and never asks to watch it.......my dd who is 1 seems to like it but we will not let her watch as much as we did w/ds....oh well live and learn
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#29 of 29 Old 06-13-2002, 10:05 AM
 
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I watched lots of TV as a kid, mostly PBS and Nickelodeon, and Saturday morning cartoons (yes, Smurfs, my dad would get up at 8 a.m. to watch that with me). Also sitcoms at night. My parents wouldn't let me watch anything violent or scary or blatantly sexual, but they didn't watch those things either. We usually watched together. I remember enjoying it and I still have fond memories from it. We liked stories, and the TV was another source of stories. However, I spent MUCH more time reading books and acting made-up stories with my dolls than I spent doing anything else as a child.

But, I don't like television now...the flickering of the screen and the noise really bothers me after a few minutes...so although I make an occasional exception, I generally like the TV to be turned off.

I don't anticipate having real problems with my own kids. Maybe they will turn out like me and watch it when they are little but shun it when they grow up.

Mommy to eyesroll.gif (age 7) and mischievous.gif (age 3)

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