Wondering if there is a place in some kids' lives for TV... - Mothering Forums

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Old 03-25-2005, 06:00 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I was wondering if TV can have value for kids in any way. Aside from educational value even. Maybe a way to veg out like we adults sometimes do? Work out stress? Our 4yo does not watch TV and I have been debating back and forth with myself over how it might actually have a place in his life. Maybe wildlife videos, space videos, etc. Maybe a way to just relax. I know many brilliant folks (professors, authors, artists) who like the TV/movies for an escape and relaxation. I know I sometimes use the TV/computer to just let my brain rest. On the other hand, I am afraid it will be a slippery slope. Once we turn it on there will be no going back. We don't want to get into power struggles over it. We will either let DS have TV or not but we don't want to tell him "30min per day" etc. yk?

Any thoughts mamas?
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Old 03-25-2005, 06:06 PM
 
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I think it can be great, honestly! Emma is nearly 4 and we let her have TV as long as it doesn't conflict with anything else (like dinner, family time, Daddy's turn to watch football!). I love to sit and watch with her and discuss things like the relationships in Dragon Tales, the problem solving in Little House on the Prairie, even just the goofy songs on Barney.
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Old 03-25-2005, 06:42 PM
 
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The way things work with my ds, is that if there is something he hasn't had in a long time, i.e. ice cream or TV, he wants a whole lot the first couple of days then tapers way off. I don't find not having limits to be a huge problem as long as there are other alternatives, different foods and different activities available. If we get a new video, he wants to see it 3 times in one day. Personally, I can't see limiting to just once because repitition is how kids absorb new things. If it was a new book, he would want it read 3 times, too.

The arguement against TV is that there are better things a kid could be doing with his time. Once they can read, they will be able to fill that need for relaxing entertainment by reading. I would rather read, myself, and view TV, as being a somewhat lazier alternative, something to do when I don't have anything to read. The problem with TV watching is it tends to be less planned. Frequently people turn it on just to see what's on. But TV/videos can certainly be a good way to learn about new things as long as one is discriminating, IMO.

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Old 03-25-2005, 06:46 PM
 
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I limit my dd's watching to less than an hour at a time because she gets kinda nutty when she watches longer, and to encourage other activities.

It's useful for her midday when she is tired but not able to nap anymore.

Some shows kids like are actually pretty educational- Dora the Explorer, Blue's Clue's, etc. they teach problem solving and I see my dd using skills and language she learned there all the time.

Funny thing, I always feel guilty about how much tv dd watches (and sometimes it really is too much) but I met a woman on the plane the other day who started a company with her husband that is now publicly traded and almost a household name. she is a fairly AP mom, too. We discussed tv and she said the TV was ALWAYS on in her house growing up. she grew up to be a smart, creative person, so I guess it's possible.

That's totally anecdotal, but made me realize that it's not the end of the world. I watched quite a bit of TV as a kid as well and I turned out OK.

Mainly I think it's annoying to have it on a lot (especially loud.) And for some kids it's overstimulating.

Finally, dd gets a lot of her stories and games she plays from videos and tv. I know other kids also play make up games, but it always seem that the no-TV kids' repertoire of games/pretend is smaller than the kids who do watch. I really don't like to read out loud, so I'm glad she hears stories through TV.

Anyway- that's my take. there are pros and cons. But nothing's all bad.
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Old 03-25-2005, 06:51 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by mommyofshmoo
Finally, dd gets a lot of her stories and games she plays from videos and tv. I know other kids also play make up games, but it always seem that the no-TV kids' repertoire of games/pretend is smaller than the kids who do watch. I really don't like to read out loud, so I'm glad she hears stories through TV.

Anyway- that's my take. there are pros and cons. But nothing's all bad.

This is very interesting........nak
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Old 03-25-2005, 06:56 PM
 
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On the other hand, my kids don't get TV at all and get a lot of play milage out of books and stories we tell them. I don't think that TV in inherently evil, but neither have I found it to be necessary. There are lots of ways for kids to veg out and rest their brains.

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Old 03-25-2005, 06:56 PM
 
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My DH was raised by an unusual for her time AP/NFL mom with no TV.

It did not turn out well. All of his sibs and he are TV obsessed.

When my kids were little they seemed to naturally limit their TV watching.

Now our rule about TV is that your free time is yours and once you have done homework you can watch TV.

Our family has so much fun watching shows like American Idol. We talk, discuss etc...

I would never want to miss out on that part of life.
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Old 03-25-2005, 06:56 PM
 
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Originally Posted by nycapmom
This is very interesting........nak
Please note that my sample size is very small.
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Old 03-25-2005, 07:01 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maya44
My DH was raised by an unusual for her time AP/NFL mom with no TV.

It did not turn out well. All of his sibs and he are TV obsessed.

When my kids were little they seemed to naturally limit their TV watching.

Now our rule about TV is that your free time is yours and once you have done homework you can watch TV.

Our family has so much fun watching shows like American Idol. We talk, discuss etc...

I would never want to miss out on that part of life.
Still nak....

I grew up in a no-tV house and don't have much interest in it to this day. I do, however, spend way too much time at the computer
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Old 03-25-2005, 07:21 PM
 
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My dd uses tv exactly as described in the op--to chill out her overstimulated brain midday. She watches until she is feeling "regulated" again....civil, helpful, kind, no longer wanting to scream and tantrum.....

She has SID, and it seems counterintuitive to me that tv would be helpful or good for her. And, for that reason and others, I wanted to wean her off of it completely. But I discussed it with her OT (not nec an ap/nfl advocate, of course), and she could see how dd was using tv in a really important way for dd. She was using it as an opportunity to "check out" at the point in the day when she gets totally overwhelmed. She prefers to watch familiar videos, rather than new material or television programs. She also felt that it was great that dd had learned (when she was feeling fried) to request a video and some alone time....even if that request was screaming "I need a video and alone time!!!!" At the age of 3, the OT felt that was at least a basic understanding of her own needs for a break, and a step toward managing her own needs in a healthful way.

I think that, as dd grows older, she may chose other activities to chill out. I prefer playing solitaire or reading over tv, but dd is not yet able to do either on her own. She can look at books, but she is still "on", kwim? She loves books, but is active creating the stories in her mind. Not exactly down time.
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Old 03-25-2005, 07:25 PM
 
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What does "nak" mean?
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Old 03-25-2005, 07:28 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nycapmom
I was wondering if TV can have value for kids in any way.
With a screwdriver, a magnetic retriever and some small pliers and socket drivers, you can learn a lot from a television.

Capacitors, cathode ray tubes, electrical connections, the purpose of the lead-shielded screen....the list goes on.

It can be VERY educational.



Honestly, given that I
(1) don't live with one,
(2) wasn't raised with one,
(3) get horribly bored when at someone's house where I have to watch one, and
(4) saw terrible behaviour problems in kids who watched tv regularly when I was a 12 and 13 year old babysitter,
I can't say that I see anything positive in it.

On the other hand, I can take one apart and fix it, if you need me to.
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Old 03-25-2005, 07:34 PM
 
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I was raised with TV and I am TV obsessed. I was also raised with limited sweets and I eat some sweets, I was raised with small sips of wine and I don't drink much more than that as an adult. I was raised by a crazy dieter and I am crazy when it comes to food, but not actually thin.

I don't think you can predict how people are going to react to being raised without addictive behaviors.

TV isn't good for me, that's why we don't have one. So far, my ds seems to be okay. I figure if there is some great program on TV we can rent a DVD of it and play it on the computer for him. Right now I mainly read to him, which I like. he's very interested in books.

I do remember that when one of my friends who is now seven was about four, her mom started to let her see videos. She stopped all imaginative play in favor of rehearsing the stories of the videos for me. It was scary.

I came back to amend this because I never said what I meant to say! I think some children can grow up fine with a television, but it's obvious that since you can grow up fine without one, you shouldn't feel like you are depriving your child of something good.

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Old 03-25-2005, 07:37 PM
 
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Originally Posted by mommyofshmoo
I know other kids also play make up games, but it always seem that the no-TV kids' repertoire of games/pretend is smaller than the kids who do watch.
The question would then be whether or not the TV-watching children are simply repeating the stories they've seen on TV or are indeed making up their own. I noticed after my ds got Thomas the Tank Engine for Christmas, and then also got a video or two to go with the train, that he constantly re-enacted stories from the video. I was actually somewhat concerned because I wanted him to make up his own play, not just rehash something he'd watched on TV. I had read in the book "You Are Your Child's First Teacher" that TV-watching could actually inhibit creativity in this way, because the children get locked into particular scenarios with particular characters, instead of making up their own stories.

Now with that said, my ds does watch some TV. I think the relaxation reasoning is just fine. I am pretty restrictive of his viewing, though. He gets to watch one show/video per day most days. He usually chooses to use this up first thing in the morning, and occasionally at the end of a very long day I"ll let him watch something else if we both need to unwind.

I grew up in a no-TV household, and all my brothers are addicted to TV. However, all are also avid readers.
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Old 03-25-2005, 07:41 PM
 
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Originally Posted by mommyofshmoo
Finally, dd gets a lot of her stories and games she plays from videos and tv. I know other kids also play make up games, but it always seem that the no-TV kids' repertoire of games/pretend is smaller than the kids who do watch.
When I was babysitting, (admittedly, this is anectdotal and a stastically small sample, at that) I saw that the TV watchers had limited games....as in they tended to re-enact the storyline, instead of taking it as a starting point and running with it.

I found the television-free children I knew to be faaaar more imaginative in their pretending.

When I played D&D (ok, I'm seriously dating myself here), the best people to play with were the kids of tv-free "hippies" who were used to imagining stuff...not the passive watchers. The passive ones were the ones most likely to rely on dice-rolls to decide e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g. (And I mean everything.) If they even thought of doing that.
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Old 03-25-2005, 07:50 PM
 
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We really ride the fence on this subject. We don't watch tons of TV, when we do, it's almost always to turn on a program and turn it off after it's finished. unless it's a news channel.

We do not let dd watch television programs at all. We do let her watch videos but we do not let her watch videos for educational purposes. We feel that if she is going to learn something, she needs to learn it interactively, with us or another person. My husband has had very, very negative experiences with his students because they always complain that he doesn't make his classes fun. He calls this the "Sesame Street Syndrome" - that people are growing up believing that to be educated, it has to be entertaining. So we are teaching dd that when we've had a full day (which almost always includes plenty of physical activity and always some time reading together), it's okay to spend a few minutes to sit down and watch a program (one - not veg in front of the TV for hours), and that it's okay to relax for a few minutes. Sometimes, yes, it's a struggle to get her to move onto something else. Usually, she's so zoned out from the show that she's ready to move on.

The other issue I have with TV is all of the marketing baggage that comes with it. Innocently let a kid watch Barney and before you know it, your kid is a walking advertisement for Barney... and you are the one that's PAYING to advertise for them. I object to the direct marketing to small, impressionable children and the way companies manipulate them. So our solution is that we keep tabs on what is being marketed and we let dd watch only programs that are not marketed where we live. I guess this kind of goes along with the fact that we don't let dd wear clothes that have "labels" on them. I mean like GAP and Old Navy shirts that have that written on it. I'm not going to pay to advertise for these guys.

So, that's my .02 and where we stand. Like I said, we're kind of in the middle.
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Old 03-25-2005, 07:51 PM
 
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I grew up with very little TV at home and I LOVE TV. I do tend to go overboard so I don't have cable anymore so that I can get a handle on my addiction. I do use it to relax and veg out and it works wonderfully. That said- I love to read but have to limit my reading because my house will fall apart and nothing will get done when I am reading. I have an easier time breaking away from TV. I am a single mom with two children who also love TV but can regulate as long as they are aloud free access. If I limit they get obsessed if I leave it alone they will do other things on their own. My children are very creative, intelligent (DD is the best reader in her class and amazes the teachers with her skills), and extremely funny. We have a great time together and some of that is because we have the same TV (Malcum in the Middle, Simpsons, Billy and Mandy's Grim Adventures) exposure. We are hilarious and smart. I have also know a lot of TV free people and they are wonderful, creative, industrious examples that I look up to.
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Old 03-25-2005, 07:53 PM
 
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Oh, and like Sohj said, I can see when dd has watched TV a few days in a row. She doesn't seem to pretend play as much. The past two days were nice and we were outside all the time, so she didn't watch any TV at all. This morning she got up and spent about 2 hours playing with her dolls and dinosaurs making up stories about them. I'd also like to add that we TELL her stories a lot, too. Not just read. I think that's important for kids as well - to hear stories without pictures in front of them so they have to use their inner eye to picture what's happening. Dd just turned 3, btw.
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Old 03-25-2005, 08:54 PM
 
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I think a little tv can be okay. I grew up with almost no tv and my brother and I were both sort of tv junkies when we first got our own places : I sort of think that most things are okay in moderation so we have set out to model tv as an available leisure activity but not a very important one. We don't have cable, dh and I don't watch much tv, and our tv is in the basement rather than smack in the middle of the room where we spend most of our time playing and reading.

I pretty much limit my older ds (who is 5) to watching pbs shows (usually only Sesame Street) or something that we pick out together at the library. I prefer library tapes because they are short and have no ads at all....even pbs pushes some ads :

That being said, he is not allowed to watch tv everyday, I probably allow him a half an hour or so 3 or 4 days a week. (Since Sesame Street is an hour long, I usually don't let him start watching until it is almost over - he hasn't caught on yet.) As my own self-check....on the days he does watch tv, I am always sure to read with him for at least twice as long as he watches.

My younger son is still too little for tv (he will be 2 in June) but I will probably let him start watching a teeny bit once he is about 3.

BJ
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Old 03-25-2005, 10:07 PM
 
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I think TV is great. We've never had any worries or rules about it. For us it's just like anything else we enjoy and learn from... books, the computer, music, the theatre, etc. When they were very young we followed their lead on what they were and were not ready for, and at the ages of 11 and 13 they decide what to watch and when.

We have seen lots of great stuff on TV, educational and just for fun (though we tend to think of everything as educational anyway, ya know?) It's just never been a concern. We watch it everday.

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Old 03-25-2005, 10:57 PM
 
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In moderation, and with guidance, TV can be wonderful. Abi pretty much learned to read after watching a Blues Clues episode about it. She was not quite 3 yet. SHe enjoys nature videos from the library and learns a lot of facts from them. They have ones made just for kids. I have a few Baby Einstein ones that I use for Nitara. She's tube-fed in her high chair and gets very wiggly so they work great. I often sit next to her and talk to her about them, name the objects. Most of what my kids watch is videos/DVDs that I have carefully selected. Abi is allowed to watch some PBS for older kids but they only watch TV about 2x a day so we miss most of the shows.

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Old 03-25-2005, 11:00 PM
 
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more anecdotal evidence...my dd watches tv and has an incredibly deep imagination. she'll often walk away from a movie and start playing. we don't watch "tv", we do netflix. last winter we watched the first season of "i love lucy", right now my dd is watching "the muppet show" (the one with john cleese). right now she's obsessed with "singin' in the rain". she loves the songs and knows them all by heart ("sound of music" too). I like renting the dvd's because we can watch tv that educates because it has historical value, i.e., "i love lucy" - black and white, roles of women in the '50's, etc. Everything in moderation. we don't watch a lot of tv, maybe a half hour a day or an hour at the most (unless we watch a movie). we watched the jean cocteau version of "beauty and the beast" (i read the subtitles to her until she was old enough to read)...we also watch concerts, like the "down from the mountain" dvd, and last night we watched stevie ray vaughn at montreux. i also have the monterey pop festival on my queue and we watched "hype". it's too easy to write off tv, it's a creative medium just like painting and you can use it creatively.
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Old 03-25-2005, 11:04 PM
 
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Originally Posted by boomingranny
it's too easy to write off tv, it's a creative medium just like painting and you can use it creatively.
OK, you had me til this.

Trust me, it is not easy to write off TV or to live TV free.

I don't think tv is satan's helper or anything, but neither do I feel it is a necessary part of a well-balanced life

nak

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Old 03-25-2005, 11:17 PM
 
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who said it was neccessary?

i control what's on, and we use it creatively. i like to use it for edjumakation. there're a lot of great movies, and yes, tv shows, that are worthwhile. if the tv blew up tomorrow, i wouldn't freak out and think we were going to hell in a hand-basket.

while the olympics were on, it was great to watch the athletes (especially the women). we also watched the commercials and i had her guess what they were trying to make us buy, or feel like we "HAD" to buy.

like i said, it's how it's used.
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Old 03-25-2005, 11:31 PM
 
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who said it was neccessary?

Um.. no one, I was stating my opinion. Sheesh.

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Old 03-25-2005, 11:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So here I am lurking on my own thread. You mamas are awesome at helping one see things from all different angles. Thanks!

OT - we are Stevie Ray fans from way back I remember seeing him live at the Ritz on New Year's Eve when I was 17. I stood right at his feet the entire show. It was amazing. I swear I felt his sweat spritz me.
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Old 03-26-2005, 01:58 AM
 
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sure, there are kids who are t.v. watchers that have horrible imaginations and those who have incredible ones. same for non-t.v. watchers. i was raised in a pretty-free-for-all t.v. house and have always had a very active imagination. i had friends in school who did not have a television and were frankly quite boring. this is just a snapshot, not a truth about all people.
i think it all lies in the PARENTING. t.v. or no t.v., it's your parenting that is going to make the difference, not barney or blue or whoever.
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Old 03-26-2005, 02:15 AM
 
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So, isn't anyone going to tell poor Momto shmoo what "nak" means?


cause, I always wanted to know but was afraid to ask.
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Old 03-26-2005, 02:19 AM
 
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nak = nursing at keyboard!

And to keep it on topic, I'm in in the TV's okay camp. DS watches about 45 minutes a day, on DVD so I control it.

-Erin

Momma to 8 y.o. DS and 5 y.o. DD. Married to a Maker!

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Old 03-26-2005, 02:21 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nycapmom
Maybe a way to veg out like we adults sometimes do? Work out stress? Our 4yo does not watch TV and I have been debating back and forth with myself over how it might actually have a place in his life. Maybe wildlife videos, space videos, etc. Maybe a way to just relax. I know many brilliant folks (professors, authors, artists) who like the TV/movies for an escape and relaxation. I know I sometimes use the TV/computer to just let my brain rest.
My main response to this is that adults have pretty much completed their neurological development. Kids haven't. Tv interferes with neurological development. I'd recommend reading _The Plug-In Drug._

Namaste!
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