Why do people feel the need to justify themselves (re: tv) - Page 4 - Mothering Forums

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Old 09-08-2007, 10:49 PM
 
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I think, because they know there are so many better things for them to be doing.

Like I feel guilty because I am on MDC so often:

As a side note, I put TV and videos on the same line (non interactive)

Video games (xbox and such) and internet usage (no streaming videos - informational sites, webcamming with the grandparents, starfall - all interactive or informational) I think are acceptable.

My dd is only 7 mos though. We've been TV free for over a year and I'm proud of that. I was addicted to it. (I *had* to be home to watch certain shows.......)

We'll probably add tv back into our house in little bits. Some pbs, some local news and such. Probably not network dramas, etc.

~ Kim

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Old 09-08-2007, 11:02 PM
 
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Originally Posted by UnschoolnMa View Post
Advertising is a tool. We can evaluate it just like we would any other thing.

"That looks cool. I wonder if it would break easily though?"

"That's the dumbest commercial I've seen in ages."

"What the crap are people thinking? I'd never buy that because..."

"Ooooh now that looks fun."

"OMG you guys have you seen that commercial yet? It's so funny..."

And just like a lot of other tools, children don;t understand them and they are not safe. I do no think that a young child understands that they are being manipulated to buy things. If young children are so independent and can make all these decisions for themselves, even at 2 YO, then why do they need us?


DS sees commercials occasionally and we have explained it to him, but I wouldn't want him to watch a lot of commercials, especially if I was not in the room. I don't think that advertising is evil, but I don't think that it is appropriate for young children. They simply do not have the same reasoning skills as an adult.
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Old 09-08-2007, 11:06 PM
 
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I do have to say though without judgment, I am an advocate of not introducing TV until around age two. We did that with dd and I felt really good about it. Up until that time I didn't feel comfortable introducing TV.
I think that's a great guideline. It does, unfortunately, become much more complicated when there are multiple kids of various ages in the home. I can't quite see myself telling my 14-year-old that he can't watch tv because his brother is too young, yk?

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Old 09-08-2007, 11:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Can I hug you for this? You really summed up a lot of my thoughts on this matter. I have often sat here wondering what's the difference between lusting after some 100% handmade gnomes versus a Dora toy? KWIM? Heck sometimes living naturally is just as pricey as being a mainstreamer if you don't pay attention to your consumption.

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Exactly! People are paying $80 for one diaper or $200 for a pair of longies because they are the current "in" brand in the NFL world. How is that any better than my daughter wanting Dora crocs (which I did buy for her by the way and she looks darn cute! ).

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Old 09-08-2007, 11:50 PM - Thread Starter
 
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And just like a lot of other tools, children don;t understand them and they are not safe. I do no think that a young child understands that they are being manipulated to buy things. If young children are so independent and can make all these decisions for themselves, even at 2 YO, then why do they need us?


DS sees commercials occasionally and we have explained it to him, but I wouldn't want him to watch a lot of commercials, especially if I was not in the room. I don't think that advertising is evil, but I don't think that it is appropriate for young children. They simply do not have the same reasoning skills as an adult.
That's the odd thing though. My kids watch a lot of tv (we don't place limits on amount, just make sure they are watching appropriate programs) and they have NEVER asked me for something because they saw it on a commerical. My youngest daughter likes Dora stuff because she loves Dora but how is that any different than someone liking a certain brand of cloth diaper because they keep seeing ads for it here on Mothering and then they see someone has posted a picture of them and oooh, they have to have it! I have never, not even once, had my children come to me and say they want such and such an item because they saw it on tv.

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Old 09-09-2007, 12:22 AM
 
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Well firstly, dd doesn't see much advertising as we don't have cable and also because she self regulates her TV viewing beautifully....

To answer your other question, I know the tremendous flexibility of my choices and embrace that. I use advertising for my own purposes, not the other way around and I can say that confidentally. The evidence of that is the fact that I am truly happy inside independent of what I have or don't have. I have had much, and I have had little, and a world of in between and I can truly say that I have been at my happiest with having the least -- not because I live simply, but because I found inner joy and contentment.

I know that no ad campaign can give that to me and no ad campaign can take that away from me. I am the master of my experience and though I know it is so easy to fall into blame, that is not what I am about.

There is a point in one's life where they would be better served to look within themselves rather then outside of themselves to find peace.

You may say, 'but that is what I am saying, look within yourself and realize ad campaigns are evil!'

and I say, 'look within yourself and realize that your belief that they are evil and hold so much power is what makes them hold so much power'.

Ad campaigns hold no power over me... not because I am so enlightened -- but because I make a simple choice that they will hold no power over me... and so I create my reality.

My daughter will have her own path to walk. I pray that she will seek my wisdom in such things as she seeks my guidance most things as someone she trusts and who treats her as someone who can be trusted.

However, there is no way I can claim to trust someone or even allow them the opportunity to explore how they feel about a subject if I never allow them to be exposed to said subject (in this case, TV).

Thanks!! ... and yes! I always accept hugs!
I really liked your posts, also wanted to say, my oldest daughter is the same age as your daughter.

solomonj, it is true that advertising can be much worse than the actual shows, but as captain cruncy says, how can a child learn good judgement if they're never exposed to an opportunity to make that judgement.

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Old 09-09-2007, 12:42 AM
 
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solomonj, it is true that advertising can be much worse than the actual shows, but as captain cruncy says, how can a child learn good judgement if they're never exposed to an opportunity to make that judgement.
I've never felt a lack of exposure to ads, even if the TV was never turned on. A four block walk from one subway stop to the next when I lived in New York City as a nanny to a 3 yr old gave more "opportunities" for discussion of billboards than could fill a week. In a big city, standing in one place on a street corner places you in the sight line of two dozen colorful advertisements, easy.
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Old 09-09-2007, 12:44 AM
 
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I think that's a great guideline. It does, unfortunately, become much more complicated when there are multiple kids of various ages in the home. I can't quite see myself telling my 14-year-old that he can't watch tv because his brother is too young, yk?
Having a 2 yo and a 15 yo I struggle with this as well. It was one of the factors that played into me deciding to ease up as far as tv with the 2 yo. My son told me he felt I was being hypocritical since when he was 2 he watched a lot of tv ( I was 21 at the time) . Oddly enough the more tv time we allow dd she could care less.

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Old 09-09-2007, 12:48 AM
 
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Having a 2 yo and a 15 yo I struggle with this as well. It was one of the factors that played into me deciding to ease up as far as tv with the 2 yo. My son told me he felt I was being hypocritical since when he was 2 he watched a lot of tv ( I was 21 at the time) . Oddly enough the more tv time we allow dd she could care less.

Shay
DS1 was exposed to quite a lot of tv when he was little, too...but it was because of my ex. We watch almost no actual television programming, and do DVDs, instead. One of the reasons we watch so little tv these days is because I got SO sick of it when I was with my ex. There's something about coming into a room where a tv is on and nobody's there, turning the tv off and going to change, and coming back out to find the tv turned back on and still nobody there that made me a little nuts...

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Old 09-09-2007, 01:02 AM
 
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I've never felt a lack of exposure to ads, even if the TV was never turned on. A four block walk from one subway stop to the next when I lived in New York City as a nanny to a 3 yr old gave more "opportunities" for discussion of billboards than could fill a week. In a big city, standing in one place on a street corner places you in the sight line of two dozen colorful advertisements, easy.
Not everyone has lived in NYC, I haven't.
Not everyone has lived in large cities, although I have.
I don't now, therefore neither do my daughters.

I was just saying I agree with you that media is everywhere, and tv commercials are bad, but I also agree with captain crunchy that we can't over-protect our children and never give them the opportunity to learn about things they are bound to come across in their life.
My mother was over-protective, to my detriment.

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Old 09-09-2007, 02:10 AM
 
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they have NEVER asked me for something because they saw it on a commerical. My youngest daughter likes Dora stuff because she loves Dora ...
You are LUCKY! My DD saw one commercial on our "on demand" choice of some Sprout show with Mr. Clean and now we can't leave the supermarket without going to visit Mr. Clean!

And they now have Dora on some food product on the cereal isle that is so hideous I couldn't even bear to look at the ingredients! Makes it very difficult to go down the cereal isle...she always spots Dora and wants her - she doesn't even know what is in the package!

OTOH, the sesame street characters are on some Earth's Best products which has helped us entice her to eat some crackers on days when she won't eat anything....



Advertising - can't live with it, can't live without it....LOL
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Old 09-09-2007, 03:09 AM
 
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I was just saying I agree with you that media is everywhere, and tv commercials are bad, but I also agree with captain crunchy that we can't over-protect our children and never give them the opportunity to learn about things they are bound to come across in their life.
My mother was over-protective, to my detriment.
I agree with you, and hope I didn't come across as combative. I'm just responding to the OP as to a reason why some people would offer qualifications or justifications when they say they watch tv with their kids--to acknowledge to other readers in a forum that there are issues with television that increase on complexity the more television is watched. During one kid's half-hour show there might be fifteen commercials, so talking with your child about body issues, about improper gender stereotypes, whatever religious or political issues a family might hold important, proper nutrition, other ways to resolve conflict, how to interact with friends and handle peer pressure, and all the other things that might come up in the sixteen pieces of that half-hour (15 commercials and one show) are sometimes addressed on a hit and miss basis. One might start talking about how little girls were grossly misportrayed and not be able to talk about the real-life consequences of calling a peer mean names. So whatever isn't discussed is left as a model of how people interact with others and themselves in the mind of a child continuously learning how to live. I think I understand one reason why a poster would offer justifications for their kids viewing.
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Old 09-09-2007, 03:10 AM
 
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And just like a lot of other tools, children don;t understand them and they are not safe. I do no think that a young child understands that they are being manipulated to buy things. If young children are so independent and can make all these decisions for themselves, even at 2 YO, then why do they need us?
I think children can use tools safely. Of course they need us around to help show them and guide them and just generally be involved. And we are. With TV advertisments, food, friends, music, and any number of things. I remember discussing product placement with my Dd when she was quite young. Maybe 4 or 5 ?

So yeah, I agree that being there to explain is great.

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Old 09-09-2007, 03:31 AM
 
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I think children can use tools safely. Of course they need us around to help show them and guide them and just generally be involved. And we are. With TV advertisments, food, friends, music, and any number of things. I remember discussing product placement with my Dd when she was quite young. Maybe 4 or 5 ?

So yeah, I agree that being there to explain is great.
And I agree that verbal discussions and explanations are a useful and necessary and respectful part of tv viewing. But as much I explain the consequences of getting hit by a car and get total agreement from a child on the necessity of looking both ways and crossing the street carefully, when we're in the middle of the crosswalk I use physical restraint (harsh description, but true) by holding his hand. At some point in the child's maturity, I let go and just watch carefully. But if I can't explain physical injury consequences to a 3 or 4 year old and assume that's enough for them to understand it and walk safely across unrestrained (harsh), why would I think my discussions of something esoteric like economics and capitalism would be more easily absorbed and understood and don't also require my shaping and limiting the world she encounters, expanding her options slowly over time?
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Old 09-09-2007, 11:39 AM
 
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And I agree that verbal discussions and explanations are a useful and necessary and respectful part of tv viewing. But as much I explain the consequences of getting hit by a car and get total agreement from a child on the necessity of looking both ways and crossing the street carefully, when we're in the middle of the crosswalk I use physical restraint (harsh description, but true) by holding his hand. At some point in the child's maturity, I let go and just watch carefully. But if I can't explain physical injury consequences to a 3 or 4 year old and assume that's enough for them to understand it and walk safely across unrestrained (harsh), why would I think my discussions of something esoteric like economics and capitalism would be more easily absorbed and understood and don't also require my shaping and limiting the world she encounters, expanding her options slowly over time?
ITA....put much more articulately than I could have.


I
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Old 09-09-2007, 01:12 PM
 
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And they now have Dora on some food product on the cereal isle that is so hideous I couldn't even bear to look at the ingredients! Makes it very difficult to go down the cereal isle...she always spots Dora and wants her - she doesn't even know what is in the package!
I have this discussion (with Dora being the #1 offender) all.the.time. : And while my kids do watch TV, I fast-forward through the commercials. Sometimes, I forget to catch one and the kids will often yell, "Mama!! It's a commercial!" My 3 year old has no idea what's going on with commercials. But with my 6 year old, I've been working on him for a few years to understand what marketing means. I, personally, loathe commercials and I'm really picky about what I buy. So, I've told my 6 year old that commercials are sneaky ploys. People are trying to trick us into buying something that we wouldn't otherwise buy.

We were in Target the other day and we passed some disgusting looking over-processed snack with Dora's happy face on it. Of course, the kids instantly wanted it. I said, "What's inside that box?" "A snack.", they replied. "Yeah", I said, "But what kind of snack is it? What does it look like? What does it taste like? Is it good?" I said, "Someone is trying to sell those snack boxes and it might not even taste very good. So they figure if they put Dora's face on it, people who like Dora will want to buy it. Isn't that sneaky? It's a trick." It's a constant educational process and I guess it will take years to really help them see past the smoke and mirrors.

I would prefer for them to not see commercials, because I'm aware they are powerful. But even PBS advertises with that stupid Chik Fil A cow that is constantly on there. And when you get DVDs, they often have tons of commercials up front, even if it's just marketing for more videos. If you watch the Leapfrog Letter Factory 'educational' video, well, it's also marketing for Leapfrog products. Your child will recognize the characters and the logo and bug the crap out of you when you go to Toys R Us. Marketing is very pervasive and annoying. It does provide a good opportunity, however, for kids to learn how to be critical consumers.
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Old 09-09-2007, 01:34 PM
 
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We were in Target the other day and we passed some disgusting looking over-processed snack with Dora's happy face on it. Of course, the kids instantly wanted it. I said, "What's inside that box?" "A snack.", they replied. "Yeah", I said, "But what kind of snack is it? What does it look like? What does it taste like? Is it good?" I said, "Someone is trying to sell those snack boxes and it might not even taste very good. So they figure if they put Dora's face on it, people who like Dora will want to buy it. Isn't that sneaky? It's a trick." It's a constant educational process and I guess it will take years to really help them see past the smoke and mirrors.
Awesome job, mom! Kudos.
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Old 09-09-2007, 01:37 PM
 
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But even PBS advertises with that stupid Chik Fil A cow that is constantly on there. And when you get DVDs, they often have tons of commercials up front, even if it's just marketing for more videos. If you watch the Leapfrog Letter Factory 'educational' video, well, it's also marketing for Leapfrog products. Your child will recognize the characters and the logo and bug the crap out of you when you go to Toys R Us. Marketing is very pervasive and annoying. It does provide a good opportunity, however, for kids to learn how to be critical consumers.
No kidding! We watched PBS last week and the commercials were just as bad as reg tv. At this point, my 10yo ds has been educated his entire life and will readily say that ads are a ploy to get us to buy more crap. True, that. It is such a matter of educating yourself and your family into not being a voracious, uneducated consumer. BTW, my kids watch tv, limited to certain channels, and are certainly well-educated and well adjusted. TV can be an amazing tool and a way to experience things that we would otherwise never see. Discovery Channel, History Channel, love em!
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Old 09-09-2007, 02:12 PM
 
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I think people justify because they feel guilty. And they feel guilty because the preponderance of evidence suggests that tv is bad for young children.

I do let my children watch tv, and I don't feel great about it.
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I think it's because I think television, like chocolate, is okay but should be consumed in moderation, in my opinion. Because it's so ubiquitous in our culture - ).
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They feel guilty and judged by people who think TV is bad or wrong or unhealthy. That's my guess anyway.


Yeah to all of that.


So we live in a community that is mostly TV-free. Some families have videos, but most do not have actual channel reception. We do. We have cable, even. So our home has become the place for kids in DS#1's class to watch various TV shows. (All on one channel, and no, there are no commercials ... except for other TV shows.)

That makes me feel guilty. As all get-out.

We're trying to figure out how to stop being "the TV family" without actually having to turn off the cable. A friend suggested charging the kids for the TV time ...
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Old 09-09-2007, 02:42 PM
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we are a TV watching family. i like it. i have worked in low/no budget film production before and enjoy good storytelling. a good movie moves me just as much as a good book. i want my son to be able to have that same experience of enjoying the media. i'm going to look for a quote from edward r. murrow on TV i can never remember it properly. basically he was sad that we use it to rot our brains when there is such great potential for it to be something that brings us together and allows us to share stories, news, and information.

i do limit his TV watching and i encourage him to watch the best quality shows out there. i'm a movie buff. you think i pay 8 bucks a pop to watch crap films? no i learned how to choose the best on which to spend my time and money. we love fosters home for imaginary friends here. the design is great, the jokes are sophisticated works of absurdest humor and it fits well with our family morals (dh is a subjini). we watch some animal shows and he learns quite a bit.

as far as video games and other forms of screen time DS has been sitting on DH's lap to play World of Warcraft lately. He's really improved hand eye coordination skills which his daycare teachers have noticed by learning how to fly dragons in game. he points to colors of sky he wants to see and flys into them. it's a positive thing. the lines between real reality and virtual will blur beyond our recognition in our children's lifetimes. DS needs to develop at least some concept of the AI that make video games work. He needs to be able to think about the distinction between reality and fantasy/ natural and artificial in a different way than his parents and grandparents did.

i felt just as neglected as a kid being left to my books as i did being left to my movies. neglect has more to do with just leaving a kid in a corner to rot rather than helping choose enriching and/or enjoyable activities. i really think that providing high quality programming, books, toys, and video games to preschoolers is useful to their development. how can we expect our children to have healthy interactions with media if we don't give them healthy experiences with it early on? barring nuclear disaster or 'borg take over video games and tv are here to stay. they have ceased to be diversions and are making their way into every part of our interaction with each other. i respect people who choose to live without but it seems like an odd choice to me.

of course this all applies after a child is capable of grasping a narrative. tv for babies seems a bit silly as it's just flashing lights for them and there is some evidence that that can be quite unhealthy.

i think i list these reasons because i see a major shift coming in our culture and i want others to see it coming too. nanobots and AI won't be sci fi for too much longer and it's important that we adjust our concept of reality and "natural" appropriately.
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Old 09-09-2007, 04:18 PM
 
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I have this discussion (with Dora being the #1 offender) all.the.time. : And while my kids do watch TV, I fast-forward through the commercials. Sometimes, I forget to catch one and the kids will often yell, "Mama!! It's a commercial!" My 3 year old has no idea what's going on with commercials. But with my 6 year old, I've been working on him for a few years to understand what marketing means. I, personally, loathe commercials and I'm really picky about what I buy. So, I've told my 6 year old that commercials are sneaky ploys. People are trying to trick us into buying something that we wouldn't otherwise buy.
I really like that. Commercials are people trying to trick us into buying something we wouldn't otherwise buy. I'm sooooo using that!

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Old 09-09-2007, 04:30 PM
 
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Another thought: it kind of bugs me to think that whenever someone shares details about her various choices, these details are always construed by some as "she doesn't feel good about her choice so she's 'justifying.'"

I'm sure that sometimes it IS justifying. But sometimes, at least for me, it honestly is just sharing. Putting a piece of myself into the equation.

After all, this isn't called an online community for nothing.

So, if you really want to understand someone's motives, why not ask the person, "Hey, are you sharing all these details about your TV viewing habits because you don't feel good about what you're doing -- or is it that you assume we're all interested in your life and want to know you better?"

Okay, that doesn't exactly work, does it? I guess this is one case where asking an individual on-the-spot is really not the best plan.

Susan -- married unschoolin' WAHMomma to two lovely girls (born 2000 and 2005).
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