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#1 of 18 Old 09-19-2009, 02:58 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We're TV free, have been since before our first child's birth. Last year when I was pregnant I relaxed the no computer game idea for our 3 year old. He was bored, I was too sick to do much and it was hard. Well he loved the 2 games, and now knows his way around a macbook, better than many adults.

I then got him a video that was based on a series of books he loves when the baby was little (again he was not getting the attention he needed, sadly) he loved it.

So, I've gotten a few more videos but still unsure it's the road I want to go up. I am NOT going to buy a TV anytime soon, but wonder if the video's is just like the same thing?

Any ideas or advice?

ETA: he's 4 now.
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#2 of 18 Old 09-21-2009, 01:31 PM
 
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I think videos are the same thing as tv, but a tiny bit better b/c of the no commercial bit. Maybe you could continue to avoid getting them?

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#3 of 18 Old 09-21-2009, 01:44 PM
 
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I was tv free for the longest time, but got one last winter when my laptop died and I realized I couldn't watch videos of my own in the evenings after DS goes to bed. Since then, I have bought a few (maybe 8?) videos for him. They come out **ONLY** when I am sick, which is extremely rarely. He knows it is a HUGE treat to get a video, so he doesn't even ask for them.

I still consider us to be tv-free for the most part, and I am extremely selective on what I will allow him to watch. I bought videos that are produced in Europe and there is absolutely no chance of him seeing the characters here in the US. When you are sick and have a toddler boucing off the walls, I think that you have to let a few things slide in order to stay sane.

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#4 of 18 Old 09-21-2009, 08:26 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by yogafeet View Post
I think videos are the same thing as tv, but a tiny bit better b/c of the no commercial bit. Maybe you could continue to avoid getting them?
You really think it's the same? See I don't think so at all. TV is full of commercials and most of the programs are useless. Kids watch a screen for hours on end, it's just not good.

I can't see watching wallace and grommit for 10 mins now and then as the same as having a TV on all the time.

Learning computer skills has got to be good. I mean look us, we're on the computer a lot. It's not like kids can do email (not at this age) and stuff. Are computers evil too?

Like or not I think they are going to be a big part of their lives
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#5 of 18 Old 09-28-2009, 11:38 AM
 
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Personally I would look at your reasons for being TV-limited and see if you are still fulfilling those goals. I would also look at if introducing videos has changed his behavior or the household dynamic in a negative way. We used to be TV-free but we started allowing computer time and videos. DD went a bit overboard at first but now seems fine with cutting back to 1/2 hour a day.
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#6 of 18 Old 12-17-2009, 02:20 AM
 
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To me, videos are the same as TV-- just without commercials.

I tried to convince myself that they weren't-- but my kids still had the zombie stares when watching a video.

Welcome to the Real World she said to me, condescendingly, take a seat. Take your life; plot it out in black and white.
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#7 of 18 Old 12-17-2009, 11:57 AM
 
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Learning computer skills has got to be good. I mean look us, we're on the computer a lot. It's not like kids can do email (not at this age) and stuff. Are computers evil too?

Like or not I think they are going to be a big part of their lives
Just had to comment on this because I do not understand this at all. I'm 40. No one had video games at home growing up except for pong and Atari 2600. We were rare that we had a Commodore computer when I was in high school. I have worked in the computer industry since I quit grad school circa 1993. I mention this because computers are obviously a big part of my life. But, I've also witnessed countless people learn how to use them over the years. None of it is rocket science.

Not a single thing we do on computers needs to be introduced or mastered by young children. As children, there is absolutely nothing they need to learn how to do on a computer that they will not easily figure out when they need to use the computer.

So, I personally lump "screen time" together for young children. This includes videos, commercial TV, computers, video games, video podcasts. I'd say that until recently (DD is 5), we were pretty close to screen free. With certainty I can say we were for the first 3 years of life, and have gradually lessened at different times.

As an example, for an experiment, we let DD use the computer a couple of times to use Starfall which everyone raves about. In her own words she told me that she didn't think it taught her anything but it was fun to do. I agreed with her, but we both agreed that there were a lot more things that she could be doing instead. So, we put that experiment to rest. At age 5, I would rather she spent time manipulating and working with real words, in her own handwriting, practicing reading skills with us rather than with a computer.

ETA: Where I'm finding myself struggling more with screen time is with non-fictional videos. There are tons of topics that I cannot reproduce at home nor can I bring her to experience it first hand. Things like nature videos, instructional videos, etc. DD is very drawn to non-fiction topics so I am personally struggling with this issue a lot right now. It's the first time I have truly felt that screen time can give her something I couldn't....if that makes sense.

Holli
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#8 of 18 Old 12-17-2009, 12:19 PM
 
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Good thing about videos: no commercials, you control the content, there's no channel surfing for hours on end, enjoyable way to spend a half hour or so

Bad things: it's still mindless zombie entertainment

I'm with the PP, you need to examine your personal reasons for being TV-free...

I'm inclined to say allow the occasional video but don't start buying box sets of every show he loves... Allow the videos when he's sick, or on vacation, or special occasions, or even a certain number of videos a week... figure out what you're comfortable with but don't feel bad if you change your mind & want to allow him more or less video time down the line!

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#9 of 18 Old 12-18-2009, 03:56 AM
 
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Just had to comment on this because I do not understand this at all. I'm 40. No one had video games at home growing up except for pong and Atari 2600. We were rare that we had a Commodore computer when I was in high school. I have worked in the computer industry since I quit grad school circa 1993. I mention this because computers are obviously a big part of my life. But, I've also witnessed countless people learn how to use them over the years. None of it is rocket science.

Not a single thing we do on computers needs to be introduced or mastered by young children. As children, there is absolutely nothing they need to learn how to do on a computer that they will not easily figure out when they need to use the computer.

So, I personally lump "screen time" together for young children. This includes videos, commercial TV, computers, video games, video podcasts. I'd say that until recently (DD is 5), we were pretty close to screen free. With certainty I can say we were for the first 3 years of life, and have gradually lessened at different times.

As an example, for an experiment, we let DD use the computer a couple of times to use Starfall which everyone raves about. In her own words she told me that she didn't think it taught her anything but it was fun to do. I agreed with her, but we both agreed that there were a lot more things that she could be doing instead. So, we put that experiment to rest. At age 5, I would rather she spent time manipulating and working with real words, in her own handwriting, practicing reading skills with us rather than with a computer.

ETA: Where I'm finding myself struggling more with screen time is with non-fictional videos. There are tons of topics that I cannot reproduce at home nor can I bring her to experience it first hand. Things like nature videos, instructional videos, etc. DD is very drawn to non-fiction topics so I am personally struggling with this issue a lot right now. It's the first time I have truly felt that screen time can give her something I couldn't....if that makes sense.

Holli
I agree with all the above! Not that I work in the computer industry, but I can get around a computer pretty well and yet in high school I learned to type on a typewriter (I think we might be the same age except we had an Apple IIe!).
DD will be three in January and is screen-free except for once a week when we go to my parents for dinner. We lived with them for about half a year between selling our house and finding our new one and during that time they introduced her to Horton and the Whos. She watches that video and Fantasia. She is a zombie when she watches it. But I am pregnant and tired and it is once a week and she watches for about thirty minutes. I refuse to have my parents introduce anymore videos...
But as a homeschooler/unschooler I am torn as she gets older with the more science/nature videos that one can get on netflix. there is some amazing stuff out there and i am not sure how to integrate it in but i think at some point i do want to. Also, i think my daughter would enjoy some of the old Fred Astaire/Shirley Temple movies...but I am waiting because I know it is too early. I am thinking maybe around 8 years of age...

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#10 of 18 Old 12-19-2009, 04:06 PM
 
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We weren't a TV family - just weren't interested - and didn't have a TV connection for years, but my son loved a few videos when he was little - he was free to put one in on his own and play it whenever he wanted, but never got excessive - and I think they were much more of an asset to his imagination rather than a hindrance. One was the Winnie the Pooh, a very different experience from the original Milne books that we also loved. And one was the absolutely enchanting claymation version of Wind in the Willows - here's a short video clip. I'd earlier taped them off the TV, but I just found out I can buy a copy, and I'm going to do just that - for me !

When I look back and think about what I might have done differently as a parent (which, fortunately, isn't something I indulge in often), the changes I'd make would be to be less controlling about small things like this rather than more controlling. In retrospect, I worried about little things that were pretty unimportant, but I had no way of realizing it at the time. Hindsight tends to be a lot more 20/20 in nature. - Lillian

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#11 of 18 Old 12-19-2009, 04:46 PM
 
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wow. the wind in the willows video looks delightful. We have read the book many times, and listen to it in the car. My boys would like it.


We spend a lot of time trying to balance this. We don't own a tv, but I don't consider us to be tv free. My boys have about 2 hours of screen time a day. Far more than most people here.

Children deserve the respect of puzzling it out.
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#12 of 18 Old 12-19-2009, 04:55 PM
 
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I do consider videos to be the same as TV only without the commercials. We don't have a TV. But I love movies, as do my kids.

We have a weekly movie night and the kids earn screen time to play computer games and such that they can use on the weekends.

For us, restricting it to those times works very well. Because for me, the major problem with TV, videos or any other kind of screen time is the way they quickly become the default when there's nothing to do or when parents want the kids out of their hair. (Not that I don't empathize with that desire!). It goes from an hour to two, to three, etc.

Some folks on MDC say they have kids who self-regulate with screen time. I wasn't like that. My kids aren't like that. If we had a TV, they'd be watching it every moment. Even as an adult, put me around a TV and I'm a zombie.

So no, I don't consider videos or movies to be evil. But I do think that without effort, you can come to rely on them just like TV.
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#13 of 18 Old 12-19-2009, 07:48 PM
 
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Just curious... how do you all with no TV's still watch movies & have 'screen time' -- not a big deal I'm just confused LOL!!!

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#14 of 18 Old 12-20-2009, 01:38 AM
 
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Just curious... how do you all with no TV's still watch movies & have 'screen time' -- not a big deal I'm just confused LOL!!!
Computers!

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#15 of 18 Old 12-20-2009, 11:52 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Lillian J

When I look back and think about what I might have done differently as a parent (which, fortunately, isn't something I indulge in often), the changes I'd make would be to be less controlling about small things like this rather than more controlling. In retrospect, I worried about little things that were pretty unimportant, but I had no way of realizing it at the time. Hindsight tends to be a lot more 20/20 in nature. - Lillian

[/COLOR]
I think there are some assumptions here, though, Lillian--that this is being controlling and that these are unimportant things. That might have been true for your family, but it's not necessarily true for all. And, I say this as one of your biggest fans. I have learned more from your postings about homeschooling/unschooling than I can recall!

Controlling has negative connotations. But, this is where I have serious issues with a radical unschooling perspective. If something is simply not a part of my lifestyle, I don't see it as something I am controlling. It's just called living my life. In this sense, vegetarians are controlling too.

Fundamentally, I am frustrated and angry (to be honest) that just because something is so pervasive in modern society that if my family chooses to not participate in it, we are seen as controlling (at best) and completely freakish weirdos (at worst).

I am seriously appalled by society's obsession with television, commercial characters, movies. My academic training is in neuroscience, particularly child development. I was working on my PhD when I left grad school in the early 90s. There is absolutely no anecdotal story that a parent could possibly share with me that would encourage me to expose my particular child to screen time.

Programs like Sesame Street, for example, were originally intended for select demographics who were shown (statistically, qualitatively, etc.) to have significantly lower parental involvement. These groups of children didn't benefit from parents who read to them, who directly involved them in play. Many of these families simply didn't have the luxury of time to do these things--they work too many hours/jobs. Others simply didn't know they were supposed to be doing these things. In these very select cases, there are benefits for children to watch shows like Sesame Street (in its original inception, not since the marketing weasels have infiltrated it...). They were getting exposure to language, social skills, etc. that they were not getting any where else. They were never meant to replace direct parental/adult interaction. They were meant to fill a void.

The problem, though, is that these programs have vastly overflowed their intended use. Marketing folks have long since played on the emotions of parents, telling us that we need to let the kids watch programs for fear of them falling behind. They've convinced most of our society that they have created educational programming and toys to accompany them. Even worse, is that the kids who need the most help are getting the least now because marketing convinces parents that they need to buy these expensive "educational" toys that then require parents to work even more to fund them, taking away even more direct parental involvement.

All they have really managed to do is replace huge chunks of what should have been direct interaction with the real world, with passive, screen-based drivel. The human brain requires that children directly manipulate their world. Watching something is simply not the same as working through it in the real world.

However, this is why I am personally struggling with non fiction programming for older children. (Brains of older children are different so this is why I am specifying older...I'm still not 100% convinced of what that magic age is for "older" though.... so that's my own personal struggle). Anyway, in my mind, they target the original intent of educational programming. They are supplementing something I cannot otherwise provide. For example, my daughter loves flamenco dancing; she has ever since she saw a performance last year. I cannot find her a class locally. I am not a dancer. We can read about it, but reading about dancing is difficult. So, I recently found a DVD about flamenco for kids. I ordered it, but I'm going to screen it before sharing it with her to see what I think. This is a big deal for me; it's the first DVD I've ever bought for her, and I honestly have no idea how it's going to work out. But, it's a very specific example of where I do see a possible benefit.

Everything else is just fluff, which is perfectly fine. I have no problem with my daughter having fluff in her life. We've got plenty of fluff books and toys. But, at the age of 5, I see absolutely no motivating reason to plop her down in front of a screen to ingest this fluff. She has decades of her life ahead of her in which society will do everything possible to jam it down her throat.

Yea, it's fun and exciting to see some book you love on the big screen. But, how many based-on-a-book movies have you seen that have ever lived up to your expectations? I can probably count on one hand. I am always disappointed--sometimes to the point of changing my opinion about a book. It took me years to figure out why--it's because someone else has, essentially, violated my imagination. I get so much more enjoyment out of imagining these worlds that it's a bit of a watching a disaster to unfold to see what other people do with these words.

As she has gotten older, we have even been willing to explore some older fiction movies with her, and she always asks if they are scary at all. Let me tell you--for an extremely sensitive child who also happens to be adopted and gifted (the latter being important only because of the types of questions and concerns her advanced understanding leads to), Disney story lines are absolutely terrifying. Why is everyone's mother dead? It might be fine for kids who haven't had to deal with these real issues in real life, but it's simply not entertaining for her. She simply has no interest in them. She would much rather sit and read a book with us.

To be honest, my DD doesn't like fiction. She has never liked fictional books, unless they are based on real-life (like adoption books). We cannot read any books that have any sad parts in them at all--if they are fiction. She can handle absolutely any non-fiction topic. She can handle the implications of eating animals, even learning where food comes from. But, she cannot handle a sad story about animals.

If I recall the plot from Wind in the Willows, just to use your example, there are some scary parts to it. Trust me, I know that most fictional stories have conflict/climax--that's what makes them good stories. I have explained this to her many, many times. I have even told her that sometimes I read the endings of books first to make sure I like how things work out, but she simply will not or cannot get beyond the sad, conflicting parts.

We have a very open dialogue with her on these topics. She asks us to tell her about the stories, and we do. She always opts out of anything she determines is scary.

So, if this is being controlling, then so be it. I consider it child-led, gentle parenting for a sensitive and smart young girl.

Holli
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#16 of 18 Old 12-20-2009, 01:21 PM
 
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If something is simply not a part of my lifestyle, I don't see it as something I am controlling. It's just called living my life. In this sense, vegetarians are controlling too.
I'm the mostly controlling vegan you'll ever meet... in fact, I sometimes worry (in the back of my mind) that it will be a negative influence on DS & I always ask DH to keep me in check!

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Fundamentally, I am frustrated and angry (to be honest) that just because something is so pervasive in modern society that if my family chooses to not participate in it, we are seen as controlling (at best) and completely freakish weirdos (at worst).
I agree completely. DS is only 10.5 mos and already I'm getting pressure from my family -- "But you HAVE to let him watch SOME TV." "He has to at least watch the Christmas videos." (Yeah, like I want Rudolph to be my son's first understanding of Christmas!) etc... I think part of the problem is, my family gets sooo much enjoyment from watching TV. They can't comprehend how I felt as a teen when I wanted to spend time with them & they were busy watching TV... or I wanted to play piano and they told me to stop, they couldn't hear the show... or we had to rush home to watch some show that was coming on at 8pm. They can't comprehend NOT wanting to watch TV. (I do actually watch some TV now but more because I'm just too exhausted to move by the end of the day due to CFS etc. And I hate it.) I think that not only has TV invaded & pervaded our entire society but also many people just get much more enjoyment out of it than we could possibly understand. And admittedly I don't WANT to understand this huge pull to watch TV!

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To be honest, my DD doesn't like fiction. She has never liked fictional books, unless they are based on real-life (like adoption books). We cannot read any books that have any sad parts in them at all--if they are fiction. She can handle absolutely any non-fiction topic. She can handle the implications of eating animals, even learning where food comes from. But, she cannot handle a sad story about animals.
Aw she sounds like me!!!! I read medical books and biographies for fun... I get no enjoyment out of most fiction! Tell her she's not alone in that!!

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#17 of 18 Old 12-20-2009, 02:13 PM
 
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I think there are some assumptions here, though, Lillian--that this is being controlling and that these are unimportant things.
<snip>
So, if this is being controlling, then so be it. I consider it child-led, gentle parenting for a sensitive and smart young girl.
Holy mackeral, Holli, what timing - I just sat down for a minute with a cup of coffee, but I'm madly packing the car right now to get out the door. So I've cut back to those two comments. When I said "controlling," I was very much speaking about the way I saw what I was doing in many instances that were indeed small things - they didn't seem like small things at the time, but I saw them more and more that way as time passed. I apparently don't have as much charge on the word as some do, but I do look back and wish I had been less of it. Although I was also controlling, in a positive sense, in the way of protection you describe about things that were important, and I have no regrets about that.

What one person has to do in order to keep things healthy would be inappropriate for someone else. I had a friend whose son would get pretty weirded out by looking at anything at all on a TV screen - his eyes would actually spin - but mine was just fine. Yes, the Wind in the Willows video does have some scary scenes, and they didn't affect my son, but he'll occasionally call now and advise me not to see certain movies because he knows how reactive I am to scary stuff. It's all individual. Gotta' get back to rushing around... Lillian
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#18 of 18 Old 01-04-2010, 07:40 PM
 
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Be careful... it can be easy to over do the videos/ dvds just like it is easy to over do tv. We are recently tv free but i still need to cancel netflix... for now they watch 2 or 3 dvds a week... a huge cut from their previous media watching. But I think it is best to not have dvds or tv.

We do allow computers and some video games... it's the passive tv/ movie viewing that really concerns me, especially in little ones.
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