Deschooling/unschooling teen, T.V. and baby - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 26 Old 07-22-2004, 04:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We are going through the deschooling phase right now with my 13yo. When he's home I've been letting him watch unlimited TV, which usually consists of various cartoons for older children. He has a TV in his room but would rather watch it in the living room because there's no AC in his room and it gets very hot. Obviously, I am usually in the living room with my 6 month old baby. I have noticed that the baby is interested in the TV and seems to really enjoy the cartoons. I am concerned, however, about him being exposed to so much TV in general at this age and, specifically, cartoons like Dragonball Z and Billy and Mandy.

I know some unschoolers think that children should be given complete free reign so I'm not sure how to handle this situation. Should I tell my older ds he has to watch the cartoons in his room or should I just let him be? What do you guys think of the influence of these shows on my baby? TIA for your help and opinions.

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#2 of 26 Old 07-22-2004, 07:33 PM
 
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I think it all depends on your philosophy about television.

I'm not one for tv/video, etc for very young children so I would ask my older children to either watch in a seperate area (in your case his room) or I would take the baby and myself into another area.

If it's a content issue for you and not an overall issue regarding tv, etc then maybe you could just let your older child know that certain shows are ok to watch in the living room and others are not (or when the baby is around...or whatever would apply)

It's one of those things about living in a family. Everyone has different needs and they have to be balanced with each others
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#3 of 26 Old 07-22-2004, 09:20 PM
 
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I feel bad about the many limitations the little ones create for my oldest. But I do expect her to respect their needs because we are a family and I try to balance that out. I actually do not allow innappropriate shows to be on and wouldn't give my dd tv freedom at that level. I consider it appropriate to control tv content in our home and most shows my oldest can watch are also reasonable for my youngest. I will allow dd1 to stay up late and watch more grown-up shows with us. She's almost ten where we will be in three years I don't know.

But I am a "borderline" unschooler. (not strictly child-led) I can't decide whether to post on the "calling all unschoolers" thread or not. And we didn't do a "deschooling period" when I took dd out of school. I do think we unschool--others might disagree. We set goals together, but I am fairly insistent about follow-through unless we have a reason to adjust... We do things with a lot of freedom but some things are required, including limits that relate to the "social life" of the family.

You could enlist your son in creating a compromise solution where he could help find ways to adjust content (a lot) some of the time and you could give him alone tv-time at other times. Content-wise those shows seem pretty bad for a baby, toddler, preschooler, or even a gradeschooler IMO--obviously there's more elbow room with a 13 yo.

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#4 of 26 Old 07-22-2004, 09:41 PM
 
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We are going through the deschooling phase right now with my 13yo. When he's home I've been letting him watch unlimited TV
i can't understand this. why would anyone want to do this?

please explain.
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#5 of 26 Old 07-22-2004, 09:54 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Well, Klothos, from what I've read and been told about homeschooling in general, kids need a deschooling period to get away from the negativity they experienced in public school. My ds experienced a lot of negativity, believe me. A lot of pressure and constraints and rules and limits are placed on children in that setting. From what I understand of unschooling, it's all about trusting that the child knows what he needs at the moment and allowing him to do it. Additionally, watching cartoons or other TV in and of itself could be considered learning rather than just deschooling. For example, I jokingly said to my ds today that TV would be the end to all of us. He commented that TV helps him use his imagination. I went with this and asked how. He told me that it helps him come up with inventions. He said he and his friend invented binocuvision for when your wife wants to go bird watching and you want to stay home and watch the game. You have binoculars that make it appear as if you are watching the birds with your wife but they have a tiny TV inside so you can watch the game instead. Pretty ingenious, if you ask me.

And, notice I said I give him unlimited acces to the TV. I do the same with video games and the pc, when I'm not on it. To my delightful surprise, he does not sit around all day watching TV. He watches a few shows and they goes outside and plays with his friends, rides his bike, goes to the pool, etc. He has shown me that he has the ability to turn it off when he's got something else do to. There's a difference between doing something all day long and being given unlimited access to it. I have unlimited access to the TV and turn it on and off throughout the day depending on what's going on. When my dh is home, he has the TV on constantly, whether he's watching it or not. Why shouldn't I allow my child the same consideration? It doesn't seem right or fair to me to tell my ds, "Do as I say, not as I do." I didn't buy that from my parents and I'm certainly not going to try to shovel it on my children.

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#6 of 26 Old 07-22-2004, 10:02 PM
 
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we're a Kill Your TV kind of family here. my SO and i don't watch any tv... so... that kind of changes the perspective a bit.
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#7 of 26 Old 07-22-2004, 11:11 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by klothos






we're a Kill Your TV kind of family here. my SO and i don't watch any tv... so... that kind of changes the perspective a bit.
Definitely puts a different perspective on things

Klothos ~ totally off topic here but every so often I wonder how severly rural in CA you are - we are pretty far out in the boonies ourselves...outside of Placerville.

deeporgarten ~ Different people think unschooling means different things. If you feel like you are an unschooler, then that's all that matters
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#8 of 26 Old 07-22-2004, 11:31 PM
 
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Deschooling/unschooling/whatever I guerss you need to set rules for the TV as a family and stick to them. If it is inappropiate for your sone to watch too much TV or to watch it in front of the baby then there needs to be restrictions there. I personally don't see what unlimited TV has to do with deschooling or unschooling but we have had limits on the TV since my first child was born and those limits have been thre regardless of what direction our educational prefernces were taking.

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#9 of 26 Old 07-22-2004, 11:35 PM
 
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We have a general no tv during the day rule except if it's educational tv like science channel or history channel or something and then it is commerical free because I always prerecord with tivo. I never had to do a deschooling time since dd never went to outside school. But I don't think unlimited tv is a good idea.
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#10 of 26 Old 07-23-2004, 12:51 AM
 
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But I don't think unlimited tv is a good idea.
phew. thanks Arduinna. i was starting to get worried that i may be the only one who feels this way here...
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#11 of 26 Old 07-23-2004, 02:15 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by klothos
i was starting to get worried that i may be the only one who feels this way here...
Actually I think we've got near unanimity.


But I have heard of "deschooling" as a way to get the sense of oppression out of one's system due to not being ready to get into self-directed constructive activities. Kind of unwinding, getting used to the idea of less structure as part of a transition out of negative "me vs. authority dynamic" often present in schools. I don't really have an opinion on or experience with this.

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#12 of 26 Old 07-23-2004, 04:09 AM
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My wonderful post just vanished into cyberspace...but the gist of it was that I think Alysia is totally doing the right thing, allowing her son to decompress and get used to having freedom again. I've never limited access to tv or computer and I believe that limiting access to resources is detrimental to unschooling. Sometimes Rain watches lot of tv or plays lots of computer stuff, sometimes almost none.

I do think sharing common space as a family is a different issue, and I sometimes ask for quiet in the living room because canned laughter gets to me... well, noise gets to me. Asking during, say, Saturday Night Live would be unfair, because it's her fave, but asking during, say, Seinfeld reruns is generally not a problem. Maybe you could find out when your son's favorite shows are on and be somewhere else with the baby during that time?

And I didn't realize how many rural California people we have here... we're off 5, about 1/3 of the way from Sacramento to Redding, on a farm 6 miles outside the town of Dunnigan. Not as pretty as Placer county

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#13 of 26 Old 07-23-2004, 04:46 AM
 
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http://ishmael.org/Education/Writings/unschooling.shtml
here is something to mull over that may help
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#14 of 26 Old 07-23-2004, 05:17 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I appreciate the responses I've gotten but I'm not sure it's hitting the point. My question was about whether the cartoons that my teenage ds watches would have a negative effect on my baby, not whether either one should watch TV at all. I think it's rather obvious what one would think if they don't want their kids watching TV in the first place. And, if you don't watch TV, you won't be familiar with the shows I'm talking about so you can't really give an opinion on that. I didn't want to get into a discussion about the merits of TV in general.

When my teenager was younger I spent a lot of time and energy policing his TV viewing. We didn't have cable until we moved here last year so he was 12yo. He was restricted to the PBS shows at home. However, he watched network and cable cartoons and even worse at friend's and my mother's houses. I'll never forget when he came home from a friend's house when he was in the 3rd grade and told me he had watched Austin Powers! He was only 8yo. I couldn't believe someone would be stupid enough to allow someone else's child to watch something like that without permission. I didn't let him go to that friend's house again. I hated Pokemon but he got into it at school and there was really nothing I could do about that except tell him what I thought about it. He'd been in public school for 8 years so he's had a lot of mainstream, commercial influences that I can't erase.

What he could and could not watch became a constant battle between us. I eventually decided it's not worth all the fighting we were going through. I'd rather have him watch that stuff with me and then discuss it. When I said unlimited TV, I meant time not content. I don't let him watch adult shows. We do have basic cable but we don't have any movie channels and we don't have digital cable. He is not allowed to watch R-rated movies and can watch PG-13 movies on a case by case basis. He is not allowed to play video games rated M or above and I screen the T rated games he wants to play. I don't want him isolated in his room. I'd rather have him in the living room where I can be more involved in what he's watching and what he likes and so forth. I'm just concerned about how this will affect my baby, if at all.

With the unschooling, I thought the idea was to let your children immerse themselves in their own interests. Since these are his interests now, I decided I'd let him go with them. I'm trying very hard not to put any pressure or expectations on him to do anything except to help me around the house a little. He does not spend the entire day watching TV. He watches for a bit and then goes outside to ride his bike, swim at the pool and play with his friends. He also goes out to mow grass or wash cars to earn some money. So, it's not like he's doing nothing but sitting on his butt staring blankly at a TV screen. One thing I have noticed is that since this has been going on, he's more discriminating about what he watches. Before, he would watch just about anything that was on whenever he had a free moment. Now, he thinks about what he really wants to watch and when so he can have time for other things.

I don't set my baby down in front of the TV to watch the shows with my teenager. We are in the same room, however, and he does notice them. Sorry this is so long. I hope I hit on everything and made sense.

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#15 of 26 Old 07-23-2004, 05:41 AM
 
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And, if you don't watch TV, you won't be familiar with the shows I'm talking about so you can't really give an opinion on that.
i don't think that's a fair assumption. the shows you mentioned have been around quite awhile, and even if we don't watch TV now it doesn't mean we never have.

you said your baby is 6 months old ~ the AAP recommends that children not watch any television (or movies / etc) until they are past 2 years old.

my personal feeling is that television is not only unnecessary but detrimental. there are good reasons why people shouldn't watch television, or should limit their viewing time, and i don't think those reasons should be brushed off simply because someone likes watching tv. one of the biggest concerns i would have with allowing unlimited time watching television (and no, the time thing was not misunderstood before, at least by me) is the increased exposure to advertising. children are being made into consumers by the advertising industry and many, even older, children lack the mental capability to fully distinguish between truth and the manipulative lies that commercials feed to them.

especially for a baby, exposure to a great deal of television will affect their language development and their ability to communicate, as well as how they think (not to mention what they think about). at 6 months old, babies need to not be watching tv, no matter the content.

i know you didn't want to discuss the merits of television but this seems essential to your basic question ~ should you continue to allow that much tv around your baby... should you make your son watch them in his room...?

my answer, which i'm sure you will have predicted already, is this ~ turn off the television. unplug it. stash it in a closet and do something or somethings together.


Quote:
With the unschooling, I thought the idea was to let your children immerse themselves in their own interests. Since these are his interests now, I decided I'd let him go with them.
my understanding of unschooling is learning through exploration without a formal curriculum, and there is very little that is exploratory about watching television shows, particularly cartoons. television does not foster the imagination, it hinders it.
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#16 of 26 Old 07-23-2004, 05:42 AM
 
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Hi hon! I'm gonna spitball here a little. Tell me if any of my "fact points" are off.

So, he wants to view his choices in the common living area because of comfort issues. Makes perfect sense.

You are, at this time, not particularly concerned with either the content of what he is watching or the number of hours he is watching.

You ARE concerned with your wee babe watching A) at all AND B) programs with frantic editing and some violent content.

Okay.... few possibilities: Master the vcr. Or spring for a 'tive' esque digi box....Buy a pack of tapes and make them 100% his. He labels them, you and he set the timer to catch what he wants to see and you discuss a set schedule, ie, 9-10am is wee sprouts nap time and I will have him out of the common room regardless and you can watch anything we agree is okay for you to watch. Or whatever. Set times, set shows. (Set by agreement... with him considering his brothers situation and you considering his needs. Give him some of the Mothering articles about how early TV exposure changes brain function. He's smart and caring.. he won't want that to happen to his brother.) Babe still sleeps enough that this should be do-able. If he wants to watch anything you are not 100% okay with outside this agreement... he can sweat in his room.
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#17 of 26 Old 07-23-2004, 06:45 AM
 
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I am in the YES, the Television is detrimental to your baby's brain development camp. We had the TV on quite a bit when DD was young and by 18 mos (when she figured out how to turn it on herself) she was hooked. This might not happen to yours, but how do you know?

It got so bad that we moved the TV out of the house. It is in the garage now and is rarely turned on. I NEVER let her watch at home.
She does occasionally see tv when we are out and that is fine. It is usually only for a few minutes anyway. I let her watch 1 show when we were on a trip and staying in a motel. I will take her to the movie on occasion.

Even without TV she still managed to learn who Spiderman is! She is only 2!!
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#18 of 26 Old 07-23-2004, 11:13 AM
 
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We restrict television here. A lot. No flipping of channels to "find " something. The values on tv are poor and NEVER match our own , my kids are less creative when watching tv , my kids are MEANER when they watch tv (very impaitent with noise), and they fall into the trap of always being entertained and never entertaining themselves. They beg , yes actually beg for things they see , they want to fit in thru clothing , speech and deed. I don't want them getting their values from anyone other than us. That's part of the reason we homeschool.

To the original poster.... It sounds like you want to tell your son to stop watching so much tv. Do it. Limit it. TV is not an outlet or a passion. It's bad entertainment with sexual innuendos and poor values. Give him other real outlets to express himself and deschool. Right now he's not expressing himself. He's just allowing an impressionable medium to form his opinions. Games , books , activities , projects around the house , dog walking ,playing the piano , etc....
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#19 of 26 Old 07-23-2004, 11:22 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Jen123
We restrict television here. A lot. No flipping of channels to "find " something. The values on tv are poor and NEVER match our own , my kids are less creative when watching tv , my kids are MEANER when they watch tv (very impaitent with noise), and they fall into the trap of always being entertained and never entertaining themselves. They beg , yes actually beg for things they see , they want to fit in thru clothing , speech and deed. I don't want them getting their values from anyone other than us. That's part of the reason we homeschool.

To the original poster.... It sounds like you want to tell your son to stop watching so much tv. Do it. Limit it. TV is not an outlet or a passion. It's bad entertainment with sexual innuendos and poor values. Give him other real outlets to express himself and deschool. Right now he's not expressing himself. He's just allowing an impressionable medium to form his opinions. Games , books , activities , projects around the house , dog walking ,playing the piano , etc....
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#20 of 26 Old 07-23-2004, 11:40 AM
 
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I have been observing my Baby and TV for 18 months now, we dont have the tv on much. Mostly for VCR/DVDs of our choosing.........and they are also usually inappropriate for baby.

I read the book "Fast Food Nation" and learned what junk food marketers have planned for our children/BABIES!!!!!!!!!!

The plan is roughly this.

1)brand recognition (THE 'M') (Ronald) (The Star) etc. by 18 months!!!!!!!!

2)brand loyalty by age 5 ( I want McDonalds)

3)REFUSING other brands by age 8 (I will not eat anything else but McDonalds)

I have seen this work. I KNOW these children.

Other day PBS had been on something interesting I had watched. Baby and I were playing on the floor ignoring TV. We sudddenly heard babies and parents playing and laughing, it got both of us staring at the screen for maybe 30 seconds. I couldn't figure out what it was until at the end an i nn ocent little golden arches appears in bottom right screen. It worked, they tricked me, they are using brainwashing techniques on my baby. They are using brainwashing techniques on your baby and your son.

AMAZING AND WONDERFUL YOU HAVE HIM HOME, I'm happy for you. I too unschooled for many years, my children for a variety of ages and reasons eventually attended some schooling. The kid with the m ost schooling suffers the most.

Good Luck Lucky BOY!!!

Colleen
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#21 of 26 Old 07-23-2004, 12:26 PM
 
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I think it sounds like you're doing fine with the older child. I'm planning to unschool my baby and have been reading about it a lot. Since you're still deschooling, I can understand why you'd be hesitant to start setting rules again that might, to your son, seem arbitrary. But he's part of the family and does need to know that the baby has needs too. I would not be comfortable having my 7mo ds exposed to that much tv.

13 years is plenty old enough to understand your concerns. Have you talked to him about it? Does he know about he recommendations that babies don't watch any tv at all, and why?

Another poster had good suggestions to present, about recording shows, planning things around baby's typical naptimes, etc.. I bet your son would have some good ideas too, if you go to him with the problem.

Like I said, this seems to be more of a meeting the needs of the whole family, rather than some random rule you decided to impose about how many hours per week he can watch or whatever, so I don't think it would be detrimental to the unschooling.

BTW, anyone freaking out about hte idea of not controling his tv time or not understanding what deschooling and unschooling are should check out unschooling.com, lots of good reading there to help you understand what it's all about.
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#22 of 26 Old 07-23-2004, 01:59 PM
 
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dragonball I would not let an under 10 yr old watch because of the language they use & the the humor which is self deprecating and insulting to women, the female charators are often the butt of jokes on that one.
Having a baby in the same room as TV is going is not gonna affect your baby IMHO except engage them in watching the colors and sounds which is a passive way to play

the other show I totally HATE Biily and Mandy because it is all stupid- insults & gross stuff & mocking not 'normal' kids constantly- the dark humor of the grim reaper trying to get on in todays world my ten yr old changes the channel to watch other stuff cause he know this one is BAD
We have sat down together and dissected this show to explain why it is totally inappropriate for him. He watches Pokemon & Yu gi Oh, likes the science discovery kids shoes, the animal planet stuff- loves games like Kirby, Mario Party, LOTR
again not for the under 10 crowd- both of the cartoons you mention are not ones I like my kids to watch &
we do watch TV, kids each have sets in their rooms and are into video games etc..

I can not give you POV as unschooling parent, my kids are self-directed in their days homeschooling and can sit and watch TV all day and night if they want and it is not part of deschooling either but these are movie/cartoon choices not viewed as 'good' ones in our house

We just went through this as someone gave my oldest ds a gift of 007 James Bond video game, you go on a mission and shot up bad guys. Not that horrbile a gift for a kid his age BUT I did not want my 4 & 7 yr old watching their big bro blow up and shoot people for 30 minutes with the guts all over the big screen TV

sometimes when you have more then one dc, the protection of the younger one is more vip then allowing the older one the freedom to sit and watch whatever he chooses I don't think those shows are bad for your baby now but this would be a great time to talk to your older ds about how his choices are going to be observed and imitated by younger siblings. which you prob already have done
I found it best to sit and watch with my kids what they were watching and mute during commercials to talk about what we see.
It is obvious you care a great deal and are wondering what to do, when I am not sure I usually go with my gut choice. If that contradicts our parenting method'guideline' or homeschooling method' guideline' so be it .
(part of the reason i strongly dislike labels in mothering)
You can be 'AP' and use a crib or stroller, you can be 'unschooling' and set a limit on watching bad TV.
You can't erase your child's past experiences, but you can teach him how to make good choices and you can model to him by having him observe you with younger child the importance of making good choices in everything that surrounds them. Food, toys, tv shows etc.. you could get your older one involved in this decision. Ask him what he thinks about the baby watching this, go to the library together and have HIM read the book on toddler development and TV viewing.
I wish you luck sorting this out.

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#23 of 26 Old 07-23-2004, 03:40 PM
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I don't see a problem with the baby being in the room, then. I think it's a question of balance. If you were plopping the baby in front of the tv and going off to do your nails for 3 hours, that's not good... and if the baby was watching tv all day I don't think that would be good either... but when Rain was little we'd watch tv together, and I'd point stuff out, and she'd sing and dance with the tv. Oh, and she learned all about earthquakes from cartoons... actually there's a lot of into in some of those cartoons. If your older son is up for it I can see it as a potential binding experience - my brother and I were 10 and 12 when my sister was born, and we would watch our shows with her and tell her who to cheer and who to boo, and get her to look for certain things, and stuff like that. There are all kinds of ways to watch tv, no studies I know ever differentiate.

I would use the other ideas, too - tape some shows, plan some activities with baby when you know your older son's favorite shows are on, etc. I just wouldn't stress on the baby watching some Dragonballz or whatever. He won't understand enough of the plot for that to be an issue right now, anyway...

Dar

 
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#24 of 26 Old 07-23-2004, 03:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Vanna's Mom
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PS thread hijacking here--------
I'm out in the boonies but we are in so cal, we have fire in our backyard orange grove mountains tonight and I can not sleep, Vanna has been coughing off and on all day from crud in the air
Wow, scary! I hope they get the fires under control today...

We have a lot of small fires this time of year, but we're very ag with just isolated stands of trees near the houses, so fires generally just burn one field and die out... generally the winter wheat fields where the wheat has been harvested. The other fieleds are too wet still... but it's scary to be driving home and seeing a huge cloud of smoke right around where the house is, even know it;s probably just a field.

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#25 of 26 Old 07-23-2004, 04:40 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by klothos
especially for a baby, exposure to a great deal of television will affect their language development and their ability to communicate, as well as how they think (not to mention what they think about). at 6 months old, babies need to not be watching tv, no matter the content
Thanks you, Klothos. This is exactly the type of opinion/info I was looking for. I'm glad you understood what I meant in my original post. I worry that I don't make myself clear but I try not to make my posts too long. As you can see from my last post, I can be quite longwinded.

I will definitely look into the AAP recommendations on this. It hadn't even occured to me to look there for info on TV viewing. I do like the idea of taping shows to watch at a time when baby is napping. I will definitely discuss the issues of how these shows may affect my baby with my older ds and see what kind of solutionswe can both come up with.

As far as being exposed to advertising, I totally agree that advertisers try to brainwash consumers. I remember reading a report several years back about subliminal messages in ads. I think this is one of those places where we have to take personal responsibility for talking with our children about the trickery involved in that stuff. My older ds is not fiercely loyal to brands, never has been, and does not fall for all the stereotyping that he sees. I don't think he'd even know the difference between most brands even if he does recognize the various logos. I have always been the type to make comments about commercials and big business and stereotyping and so forth. It's quite wonderful now when he tells me about a commercial or other ad he's seen that is biased in someway. The only times he has ever been strongly influenced into wanting only a certain thing is from his friends. For example, right now he's begging for a skateboard but it can't just be any skateboard. He wants to buy all the parts seperately so he can build the ultimate skateboard and all the parts have to be of a particular brand. He did not learn of this from TV. He learned it from a friend who skates and with whom he went to the skate shop.

This goes hand in hand with the content of shows. I do not like most of the shows on TV, including Dragonball Z and Billy and Mandy and such. This is exactly why I don't want to tell him he has to watch this stuff by himself or that he can't watch it all. I'd much rather be able to watch it with him so that we can discuss the issues presented and he can get my point of view.

SarahNH, I posted this exact same question on Unschooling.com so that I could compare answers. I figured I'd get vastly opposing view points. This way I could see all sides and make a more informed decision about this.

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#26 of 26 Old 07-23-2004, 04:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by thistle
Even without TV she still managed to learn who Spiderman is! She is only 2!!
This is an interesting dilemma to ponder.

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