The TV question - Mothering Forums

View Poll Results: The TV Question
We are TV-free--no television applicance in the home 23 100.00%
We own a TV but only use it with a VCR to watch videos or taped shows 75 100.00%
We own a TV but we are selective over what our children watch. 218 100.00%
We own a TV and allow our children to regulate their own viewing. 18 100.00%
Our children do not have a TV in their own room(s). 161 100.00%
Our children have a TV in their own room(s). 8 100.00%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 6. You may not vote on this poll

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#1 of 113 Old 12-01-2002, 04:12 AM - Thread Starter
 
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NOTE: The poll is really more than one question. One is the general TV regulation question and the other is the TV in the child's room question. You can vote more than once.

So I'm trying to get various perspectives on how much tv some of you moms allow and what you allow? Do you not regulate at all? Trusting your children to set their on viewing pace and preferences? Are you a tv-free home and opt for your children to spend their time with other activities? Do you own a tv only for use with a VCR? Do you own cable or not?

As a vegetarian who really wants to homeschool (unschool), the idea of a TV-free home is both exciting and concerning for me. I mean I think it would be so cool to go tv-free--more time for the family, the ability to get more things done. BUT if I would feel like my children were "missing out" on alot. And I know I would get comments from well meaning family and friends about my kids not eating meat or milk products, not going to school, and not watching tv.

At the same time, I think that by regulating tv you make it a forbidden fruit and I have heard all the arguments for allowing the child to get his or her fill and thus they will come to regulate tv on their own.

I also know that there is alot of educational value on tv and would love if my kids could have access to that but I also feel that tv teaches us to live passively and vicariously not to mention that there aren't a lot of positive influences on tv esp regarding POC(which I am and my children will be).

Thus, I'm turning to you, MDC mamas. I would love a wide range of views and welcome any ideas.

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#2 of 113 Old 12-01-2002, 05:10 AM
 
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Hi,

We're also planning to unschool, and I completely understand your concerns. I go back and forth on how I feel about TV's educational aspects (if there are any).

On the one hand I know there's a lot of info presented on tv, and maybe it is kind of illogical of me to be so opposed to that one medium of communication. I remember watching a tv special the year after the WTC attack that made it much more emotionally real to me than all the news reports I had read when it happened, because you could see and hear the real people. TV seemed valuable to me then, and I don't discount that.

But my gut feeling for now (my ds is only 21 mos) is that tv has nothing to offer him at this age, and I don't know about the future. I was doubting myself a lot about this, but then we were over at a friends house. There were 3 kids there including my ds, all the same age. They were playing fine, then she put in a video. All the kids got wound up. It was hard to converse over the noise of the tv, hard to finish a thought in your own head. The thing that really got to me though was that I was watching the video with DS, and the images went so *fast*. He and I would be starting to get interested in something, like an animal on the screen, and it would flash away and on to the next thing. It was Baby Einstein, btw. It was like mtv for babies to me, fast paced flashing images with music. It went so fast there was no chance to settle your mind on it and learn. I have noticed that the attention span of children who watch tv is lower than my DS's attention span... maybe this is why?

I also think back to my own childhood. I was much less into tv than my friends, but we all watched a ridiculous amount of tv (like 4 hours a day or something). I often regret spending time on that, instead of the experiences I could have been having. When I think about the peak experiences of my life, most have involved being out in nature and doing something physical. And when I think back on where I learned things as a child that I value now, I think of specific books I read that really made an impact on me.

I didn't vote in the poll, btw, because none of the choices really seemed true for me. My son has watched a few hours of tv/videos in his life, mostly all when he's been sick. I tend to watch a few hours of tv and maybe a couple of videos each year.
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#3 of 113 Old 12-01-2002, 12:04 PM
 
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I voted both ways for regulating and not regulating - I'd make sure they weren't watching scarey or inappropriate things when they were little, but when they got older I think they should be able to regulate their own tv watching.

hopefully i can be a good influence by then. i'm kind of an addict myself, now. but I think i can find something else to do. i'm already planning on cutting way back once i'm a mom.

i'd like to get rid of the tv, but there are a lot of things i enjoy watching and i think are valuable. it is part of our society, but doesn't have to be a strong part - that's where i hope to be a good influence. esp when it comes to saturday morning cartoons and all that media aimed at kids who may not be able to distinguish that it's false. I give 'em credit for recognizing bs, but the industry is very insidious about how they state things. They're lucky in the UK not to have so much comercialism on tv. It was a relief watching tv in the uk

I'd like to home or unschool, too, but don't have all my ducks lined up, yet, and DH isn't fully onboard.

Thanks for your thoughts.

Lori
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#4 of 113 Old 12-01-2002, 12:13 PM
 
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She can watch The Wiggles, The Simpsons and any movies or football games, or TV shows we are watching. Everything else is off limits. We even mute the TV during commercials. I can't see anything worse then letting a child watch the network TV cartoons. Have you seen them? Violent is an understatement!!! I also have a TV tuner card in my PC, we watch TV sometimes while I'm doing whatever online. She's only 28 months so has a limited understanding of why we dont watch things, but I do explain to her why so she knows.
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#5 of 113 Old 12-01-2002, 02:58 PM
 
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We don't have cable, and don't get any TV reception withoiut it (*not a single channel*), and I am thankful for that. We do have a DVD player and rent mopvies for that regularly, the video store has become an issue for the kid so we are trying out Netflix. This way, I can browse and choose what I think is appropriate, it comes in the mail and the kids are excited regardless of what it is. My hussband is trying to convinve me to get Dish TV and use their Tivo type option, but I am standing my ground so far. I'm so much happier without broadcast TV.
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#6 of 113 Old 12-01-2002, 03:13 PM
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Since television is so physically damaging to the prefrontal cortex in children (hence the AAP policy of zero tv before the age of 2 and very limited viewing thereafter), I wouldn't feel good about allowing my child to view tv, videos, etc. AT ALL. Despite what Julie Clark, et. al. tries to convince me otherwise (which is suspect since the AAP doesn't ask me for a dime but babyeinstein founder needs me to buy all her stuff).

Now that it's known that there are significant physical dangers to children from television, it's more about how does the parent want to deal with allowing the risk (or all out likelihood) of their child's brain being damaged?

The AAP Policy RE9911 is the best thing I've read so far detailing the social, emotional and cognitive damages from television.

IMO, TV is not a necessary evil. Or something we sugar coat and call 'educational' when it's PBS, Sesame Street, Wiggles, Teletubbies, babyeinstein, etc. It's the medium that delivers this stuff that is so damaging...no matter the 'educational' label on the content or how that content is contrasted with more violent cartoons or whatever.
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#7 of 113 Old 12-01-2002, 04:19 PM
 
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We have no TV, but we occasionally watch DVDs on our computer. It took us many years to get a computer and now we're thinking about what our guidelines will be for dd using it.

Our dd's 4yo sister (we adopted dd) was over the other day and watches a lot of "educational" TV. She told me details of strewn body parts after the Wellstone plane crash - it had interrupted her show. No, we won't be doing TV in this house. (Not even for dh basketball games! )
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#8 of 113 Old 12-01-2002, 04:23 PM
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Quote:
[i]Our dd's 4yo sister (we adopted dd) was over the other day and watches a lot of "educational" TV. She told me details of strewn body parts after the Wellstone plane crash - it had interrupted her show. [/B]
Holy moly!! What an awful thing for the precious mind of a 4 year old to process!

That is so very sad. And easily avoided in the first place.

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#9 of 113 Old 12-01-2002, 04:23 PM
 
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We have made the call not to have a TV. I love that my daughter expects every activity she engages in to be truly engaging. I have no doubt that TV will be a big part of her childhood anyway--it's how our culture is. I feel that one of the kindest gifts I can give her is a tv-free-sanctuary at home, and the hours spent in imaginative and/or interactive activity that might otherwise be flushed down the tv. And not having a TV also means that she never sees us modeling TV watching, just reading, playing guitar or doing creative projects with our down-time.

My perceptions may change over time, and I wish to convey no disrespect to mothers who take a different approach. At this point children are 4 1/2 and almost 2, and this approach feels right to us.

I feel pretty uncomfortable with many aspects of our popular culture, the sexism/racism, consumerism, junk food addiction, violence. I figure that not inviting the TV into our home is one way to provide a buffer. I also feel that even educational TV tends to foster a kind of passivity from the viewer which I worry about.

Parenting is such a process of discovery, soul-searching, and creativity. There are no easy answers! We'll take it step by step.
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#10 of 113 Old 12-01-2002, 04:39 PM
 
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I'm trying to convince dh to turn off the tv and get rid of all but one that we keep for videos/dvd's. We have 3! He agrees that dd (14 mos) shouldn't watch any and knows that we need to unplug it sooner rather than later. Habits are hard to break, I guess.
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#11 of 113 Old 12-01-2002, 06:40 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by frogertgrl
Since television is so physically damaging to the prefrontal cortex in children....
Thanks for your info. I think I saw some other links from another tv thread, and I bookmark'd 'em, but I never get to read everything I find. Thanks for the reminder.
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#12 of 113 Old 12-01-2002, 09:14 PM
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Hey, no problem, mystichealer!! It's so hard to live in these times when TV is a very powerful thing. I want my kids to fight for their minds, though. After working in marketing (for childrens' programs, no less!), I learned alot about the science of hooking kids early and tacking on a bunch of agendas (philosophies, products, services, etc.) on to the original message. Scary stuff.

I think that we as parents can't really legitmately use the lines we did even just a decade ago about TV. The lines like, 'well, I watched Sesame Street and Gumby and I turned out fine!', or 'my baby loves those babyeinstein videos!' or 'well, I parent from my instinct and my instinct tells me it's okay in moderation'...because now we KNOW television has a measurable physical impact our own precious childrens' brains. It's not a question anymore, we know now.

So, now we have to ask ourselves, 'since it is verifiable that this part of my child's brain is impoverished during ANY television viewing and that could possible lead to learning difficulties, social problems and a general lack of interactive abilities later on, what say I to the role of TV in my child's life?'

Parents can choose to say, 'yes, the brain is damaged via tv but I think I can make up for that elsewhere' but the question begged in today's world is: why would you risk this at all?

I will say that no videos, etc. makes it a helluva lot more challenging to ME as the mom to figure out the things we'll do each day!! But no one said mothering was easy. Or something to pass off when I'm burnt out.
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#13 of 113 Old 12-01-2002, 11:09 PM
 
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My daughters are allowed to watch quite a bit when it comes to tv. We don't allow: tv shows/channels with commercials, violence, vulgarity/rudeness. We discuss things that they may see we aren't thrilled with (i.e. on Arthur if there are rude comments/names etc used)

We approach it as "these are the shows you can watch" instead of "you may not watch XYZ" and I think that's gone a long way in preventing the "off limits shows" from becoming "forbidden fruit."

Rarely though do the girls actually sit and watch tv... they are always either reading or drawing or playing with toys while it's on. That's perfectly fine by me - I'd rather have them DOING something instead of just sitting like little zombies.
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#14 of 113 Old 12-01-2002, 11:33 PM
 
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As far as the becoming forbidden fruit thing, I just wanted to day that when I was growing up, we were very restricted in what TV we were allowed to watch.

We could watch PBS in the afternoon (Sesame Street, Mr. Rogers, 321 Contact and Square One, (but not all those shows on the same day, only 1 hours's worth). On Saturday we could watch cartoons for 2 hours. No TV on Sundays.

Yes, when I was little, TV was fascinating. When I was over someone's house and they had the TV on, I would watch it in fascination. However, when I went to college and now as an adult I had/have very little interest in TV. We rarely watch TV.

I think by not having it as a big part of our lives when we were little, we didn't expect it to be a part of our lives, and learned to entertain ourselved without it.

With our children, we plan to allow them to watch a little bit of TV. Pick one or two shows they like (only PBS shows pre approved by us), and they can only watch those shows. Those shows HAVE to be on PBS, since I think in many ways the commercials are worse than the shows. At least with PBS there are no commercials. The only exception to this rule, is dh likes to watch college football, so they can watch that with him.

Oh, and we will NEVER have cable.


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#15 of 113 Old 12-02-2002, 12:34 AM
 
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We just returned from the land of tv- my in laws have three televisions in there house for three people. Eli (nearly 2.5) watched a bit of a kids movie my sister in law put in- it was scary watching him zone out. It lasted about 20 minutes and then he was done- back to building with blocks. The tv was on a lot- it is so noisy and distracting, I found my head hurting from it.

I wanted to chime in on the forbidden fruit argument- I just don't buy it. The only couch potatos I know have tvs. And they are the same people who don't know what to do with themselves without a tv- they have not developed any hobbies or interests outside of the tube (before you flame me notice that I said couch potatoes, not all tv watchers). The longer I have been away from tv (over 5 years now) the less I miss it. In fact, I find it downright annoying now and incredibly boring.

Anyway- I really don't intend to be highbrow about this- but I find myself defending my tv freeness all of the time (and I have turned down at least 10 offers of free tvs).
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#16 of 113 Old 12-02-2002, 01:46 AM
 
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TV is not a bad thing, it's just a tool. It can be abused and misused and overused just like anything else. I don't think TV is evil but I am disgusted by most of what is on TV. If it were up to me we'd only use the TV to watch videos and occassional PBS, and to keep up with the news with disasters. Unfortunately every time I put away the bunny ears my dh plugs them back in and I find him wasting a lot of time vegging. He shares many of my same values as far as no violence or lewd acts, etc. but will waste his time with sitcoms.

I think TV can be very important for education with PBS and videos, and the news. I have learned a lot through the PBS show Frontline, as pictures are worth 1000 words. I don't believe in having the kids have personal TVs. That's just affluenza at work, in my opinion.

Darshani

edited to add a few more comments:

My dd watched some of the Baby Einstein videos from a very young age and we were grateful for the distraction they offered when nothing else would calm her down. She loves those videos and has learned a lot from them, and no signs of any brain damage (she's actually advanced for her age). I never sat her there for hours at a time, and I never let her sit too close. We have a small collection of carefully selected videos and she gets to watch 2 a day (total of one hour) and that's it. We have a few Sesame Street videos (like them better than the TV show), 1 Blues Clues, 2 Wiggles, 1 Teletubbies that I taped off TV, 3 Baby Einstein ones (both Baby Dolittles and the Baby Mozart), and 2 Raffi tapes. Also enjoys The Sound of Music with her mommy!

I wanted to share that I grew up in a conservative household and we didn't have a TV until I was 9 years old. I never got addicted to it even after I had umlimited access to it. I was a bookworm and would have rather read a book than waste time with TV. I enjoyed PBS from the beginning. I credit it with teaching me a lot, and stimulating my imagination and interest in the world around me, esp. the nature shows. I share a similar view of radio, preferring NPR to anything else.

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#17 of 113 Old 12-02-2002, 06:30 AM
 
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Could someone please post an article, link or name of printed research paper which containe information about this?
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#18 of 113 Old 12-02-2002, 12:19 PM
 
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H:

I posted a number of quotes with links on another thread (How to get TV turned off?):

http://mothering.com/discussions/sho...ght=television

Here's something in addition

A Children's Hospital Medical Center of Cincinnati study shows that one of every four children less than three years old may be watching at least three hours of television each weekday. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no TV at all for children under two and no more than two hours a day for older children. Recent studies have shown that school-age children who watch less television are less aggressive and have less body fat regardless of programming," says Robert S. Kahn, M.D the study's senior author. Also, children who watch at least three hours of TV a day at age two are more than twice as likely as other children to watch at least three hours a day at age six.

"Television has changed the American child from an irresistible force to an immovable object." ~ Laurence J. Peter
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#19 of 113 Old 12-02-2002, 02:59 PM
 
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I know what you mean, Elismama. We will be visiting family later this month and there are a bunch of TVs and they are always on. : Any clues for dealing with this?
We've always turned them off if no one is in the room, but they are still sqwalking a lot of the time. And they wonder why we are always going places instead of just hanging out!
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#20 of 113 Old 12-02-2002, 03:24 PM
 
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DH and I both enjoy movies, so we do have a TV, but it's in a seperate room, away from our "living space". So whenever we want to watch a movie, we watch it in the guest room after DS has fallen asleep.

At almost 2 years old, I have no intentions of letting DS watch TV anytime soon. Whenever we're at family's homes with the TV on, I just ask them to turn it off. There have been a few football games (eeek!!) at my in-laws that have been impossible to turn off...and he's talked about "ootball" ever since. Yuck.

As for the homeschooling questions, we also plan on unschooling, and I really don't see our need/desire for television increasing much. I'm not sure I think all those "educational" videos are all that educational, really. "The Plug-In Drug" was a great book for DH and I to read, as it solidified a lot of what we thought about TV and children before. Especially, the whole "content" issue....that that's not really the issue at all. It doesn't matter "what" they're watching, it matters "how" they're watching and what happens physiologically when they are watching. I'd definitely reccomend the book if you haven't checked it out, the revised edition has quite a bit of info on computers and video games as well.
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#21 of 113 Old 12-02-2002, 03:34 PM
 
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Here's the AAP policy frogertgrl mentioned...

http://www.aap.org/policy/re9911.html
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#22 of 113 Old 12-02-2002, 05:15 PM
 
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DS is 20 months old and has recently discovered TV. We don't have cable, and get 4 channels. DH and I watch 3-4 hours a week, but keep it off until DS goes to bed. We do watch CBS Sunday Morning show in front of him, but he stays engaged in his own play, until the end when they have the nature/animal shots.

We plan on regulating his viewing extensively, and won't ever have cable/sattelite. I figure if there's anything out there I want him to see, I can rent or buy it. I bought 3 Wiggles videos when he was sick a few weeks ago, and he has seen those a few times but after reading this thread and what happened to us last week, we are putting them away for now.

DS was over-exposed to childrens videos last week while we were visiting my family, and we couldn't get him away from the TV. Even when he was obviously restless and bored, he was still plugged in and threw a fit when we turned it off or tried to get him involved in something else. We sat with him and talked with him while he was watching, and he would point stuff out to us and make comments, but he was still plugged in. He's been asking for the videos ever since we've been home (Bear in the Big Blue House and Baby Einstein neighborhood animals video.) We thought he might self-regulate and get bored with it, but we ended up having to set limits after 3 days of obsession.

I hadn't realized it was actually physically damaging to his brain. I read 'The Magical Child' a few years ago, and vaguely remembered why toddlers shouldn't view TV, but I didn't know there was an actual study showing damage to the brain!

I think I tend to be overly controlling about what my DS is exposed to, most of the moms I know are a lot more laid back about things like TV and nutrition. In the end, I don't know how much difference it will make. I haven't heard of any studies that show adults raised AP, sans-TV, eating wholefoods are better off, but I'm sticking with the no TV for now.
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#23 of 113 Old 12-02-2002, 05:32 PM
 
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I'm trying to talk dh into "replacing" tv with a chistmas tree... put the tv in the closet and see how we like it for a little while.

so far, he doesn't like the idea

I'm guilty of watching it once in a while out of 'boredom' or sometimes watch it while nursing dd (at night while she's sleeping only - lately, she lives to nurse for about 45 mins after falling asleep and wakes up if I get up)

She's barely over a year old, and I really would like to keep tv-watching to random movies when she gets older.

it's a work-in-progress for us
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#24 of 113 Old 12-02-2002, 08:41 PM
 
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We have a tv, in an amoir that is closed.

DH and I watch 3 hours a week, specific shows, after the kids are asleep.

The kids only watch it when we rent a movie for the family, which happens once every few months.

At my parents house, we all watched the Thanksgiving parade and the dog show...

I object to the programs, I object to the commercialism, it just isn't something we feel is necessary in our home.

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#25 of 113 Old 12-03-2002, 02:25 PM
 
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Some folks asked for links. Here are two I found on brain development:


http://www.limitv.org/preschool.htm

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


-jeanie
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#26 of 113 Old 12-03-2002, 02:53 PM
 
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thanks, Jeanie!!!

I'm printing the articles right now and making copies for dh and my parents
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#27 of 113 Old 12-03-2002, 06:35 PM - Thread Starter
 
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What a great thread this is turning out to be. atsselfonback

I love all the different perspectives. Keep em coming. I want to hear from everyone!

Right now, I feel like tv the first few years of life really yields no advantage for the child--maybe for the parent though. I really want to keep tv out of the program for the first three or so years of life for my future kids. Might be doable with the first child but don't know about later children. And Khrisday (I think) made a good point, if I think the show is so good that I want my kids to see it, I can always go out and buy or rent it. The idea of going tv free still intrigues me. No regulation at all however does not. I just don't want my kids sitting around and watching tv all day. I want them playing outdoors, dancing and singing to music, painting and drawing, fiddling around in the kitchen with me, playing make believe with each other, having friends over....DOING not watching. I think watching has its place though but I feel like I can get that other places than straight cable television, KWIM?

Thanks again for all the great posts...Please carry on.
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#28 of 113 Old 12-03-2002, 06:39 PM
 
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I didn't vote because we don't really fit in the categories.

We don't have a TV, but our kids do watch some TV programs through our computer. They are small yet, so we have full control over what they watch. They watch a couple of different movies that we have on our computer or as DVDs, plus just a couple of TV shows (all Playhouse Disney shows - Rollie Pollie Ollie is our favorite).

They probably average about an hour of TV or movie per day. I personally don't think that is too much at all. My just-turned-1yo probably only pays attention to the TV for 5 or so of those minutes (he's into exploring and not too enamored with the TV unless it's playing some music he thinks is cool -- then he'll stop and watch and dance for a while).

Mama, homeschooler, midwife. DD (13yo), DS (11yo), DD (8yo), DD (3yo), somebody new coming in November 2013.

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#29 of 113 Old 12-03-2002, 07:16 PM
 
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We have 2 TVs both with Satellite (thanks to DH's addiction to TV). DD watches lots of Disney, PBS, and Noggin, and movies on the VCR (Winnie the Pooh, Wiggles, certain Disney) (she scares easily)- but nothing else. No news, no sitcomes, etc. That is the rule. When DD is in the room, only her stuff is allowed on TV. DS is just starting to watch TV (he is 13 months), but doesn't really pay attention. I never have time to watch TV anymore since having kids. I don't think I have watched anything other than kiddy shows for 4 years.
I am sorry to say, that I use it as wind down time for DD or babysitting so I can get some things done without her constant nag for attention. She is hyper active, so it really helps her when she zones out. I do regulate the amount she watches though.

On the home schooling thing, I have no comment. We both work full time outside the home, so it's not an option for us, unfortunately. DD will go to a private Day school in Sept for Kindergarten though. No public school for my kids!!! I think that is the best choice I can make for them. Comprimise (sp?).
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#30 of 113 Old 12-04-2002, 12:14 AM
 
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I quit watching tv in May (except for my yoga videos). I was a lifelong tv fan and dh still watches about 10-15 hours a week. My reasons were the same as Hilary's. It's easier not to get ds hooked on it in the first place and I am against the marketing practices (beer commercials, junkfood, sex sells marketing ideas, and double standards for men and woman, mass consumerism, materialism as the norm, etc.) to my family. I'd be happy to sell the tv, but I can't convince dh of it.
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