Do You Tell the Names of Licenced Characters? - Page 2 - Mothering Forums
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#31 of 56 Old 05-17-2008, 10:50 AM
 
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Hmm--I'm starting to feel like this thread is going in a "What's the harm of TV and movies?" direction...
yeah -- thanks for pointing that out.
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#32 of 56 Old 05-17-2008, 04:55 PM
 
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Hmm--I'm starting to feel like this thread is going in a "What's the harm of TV and movies?" direction...
Huh. I don't see that here at all. Honestly, I think people have brought up a very fair point. It isn't any different to tell your child the name of a character in a tv show or movie than it is to tell them the name of a character in a book. Now if you're going to tell me you also have your children create every name in each story you read, you can talk to me more about that, but seriously, who does that or even would want to? It's NOT the same as letting your kids watch tv, teaching them about the show related to the character they happen to see on a lunchbox, t-shirt, stuffed animal, whatever. It's about answering a question - "What's his name?". If you're comfy with not giving truthful, straightforward answers to your dc's questions, that's on you. I just don't personally see it as an end to open-ended play. Personally I'd prefer my kids didn't ask so they do assign their own name to characters but if they ask, I tell them.

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#33 of 56 Old 05-17-2008, 04:58 PM
 
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Right now I just call them things like "the little girl" (Dora), funny pretend animals (elmo and co).
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#34 of 56 Old 05-17-2008, 06:05 PM
 
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It isn't any different to tell your child the name of a character in a tv show or movie than it is to tell them the name of a character in a book.
I think it is, because to tell them that a TV- or movie-based character has a name clearly implies that there is a narrative that this character is involved in, yet you aren't actually introducing the narrative. The named character becomes a sort of recognized "person" in your kid's life and I think they are therefore more drawn to the character if they do happen to see the shows. Putting the characters on products is a very intentional gateway to getting kids interested in the TV show, IMO, as well as a very intentional way to get kids who do watch to ask for the items. The whole system is part of what really bothers me about kids' TV in general--it's so obviously a marketing/consumerism vehicle. In general it all bugs the hell out of me and not telling DD the names seems like a minor way to resist it.

I actually don't really love all the gear for classic book characters, either.

Also, I generally felt like the thread was going the way of "Oh, who really cares anyway...relax...TV and movies are great and don't have any effect on children."

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#35 of 56 Old 05-17-2008, 06:43 PM
 
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Fair enough. I just didn't hear that in the thread (maybe I missed some posts). I abhore the marketing/consumerism ploy as well but really don't find it hard to escape it being that we do keep our kids tv-free. It just isn't part of their lives. Combine that with keeping our play things very Waldorf friendly (we're a Waldorf family) leaves little room for those characters in their play regardless. But still, we do live in the real world so sometimes these things are seen. Hasn't become an issue though.

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#36 of 56 Old 05-17-2008, 06:56 PM
 
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We don't even own a TV and my kids still know the names of Spiderman and Batman. I don't see how it is possible to shelter kids from that, especially if they interact with the neighbor kids or go to any kind of playgroup, etc. I used to really, really bother me, but now it doesn't so much. So they like Spiderman-so? They act out their own stories for him and they have nothing to do with what Spiderman is really like. I think it's only a problem if we let it be a problem. In my oldest's mind, there is no difference between Spiderman and "The Strongest Guy in the World," a character he made-up. My children have no problem taking a character and making it be who they want it to be. It is their world, their imagination, their games.

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#37 of 56 Old 05-17-2008, 07:10 PM
 
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my boys have picked up a lot of character names from their friends - we're the only people I know who don't have a TV, though we'll let them watch an occasional movie on the computer. they did learn some characters, like elmo and thomas from books.

we tried as long as we could to keep them away from all the commercialism, but grandparents and other relatives send so much disney/elmo/thomas/etc/ stuff, whether it be clothing, undies, toys, movies or books. It wouldn't be so bad if the things were good quality, but most of the toys are plastic crap made in China. My Mom actually had to call me and tell me not to open up a certain Christmas present because it had been recalled - lead paint.

My family doesn't really understand why we don't have a TV and pretty much disregard our requests for non-commercial gifts.: Instead they kind of make a point of inundating us with it, like the boys are being deprived of something.

OT: i recently learned that my mom doesn't want to visit us because we don't have a tv... sad.
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#38 of 56 Old 05-18-2008, 10:21 PM
 
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I totally don't mean to hijack this thread (maybe someone can point me to a thread that will answer my questions), but why do you feel it's important for your lo's not to know the names of licensed characters?

We haven't ever owned a tv, but dd is only 11 mo so I've never had to deal with this. I know you are all smart people, so I must be missing something here. What's the benefit in not knowing the character's names?
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#39 of 56 Old 05-19-2008, 08:38 PM
 
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I totally don't mean to hijack this thread (maybe someone can point me to a thread that will answer my questions), but why do you feel it's important for your lo's not to know the names of licensed characters?

We haven't ever owned a tv, but dd is only 11 mo so I've never had to deal with this. I know you are all smart people, so I must be missing something here. What's the benefit in not knowing the character's names?
I don't think it's a benefit so much as a personal choice. For me, I didn't like that my son was being spoon fed ideas by somebody else, somebody who is trying to make money on the fact that he will fall in love with this idea/ character. I also didn't want the annoyance of walking through a store and hearing "Oooo I want the Dora shoes! I want the Elmo cookies!" etc. We walk through and he doesn't bat an eye.

As I have said before around here, I like that when my son sees a clownfish, he says "oh a clownfish" and not "Nemo!!!!!!" He knows some of the characters now from just being around other kids, but of course he almost 4 now and can actually show some form of rational thinking every now and again. I can now start to have the conversations that many pro-TVers talk about... we discuss whether said item is truly the one we need or the best one, or are they putting said character on it to trick little kids into buying that one... even if it's something junkie or useless.

BUT -- I firmly believe that we can now have these conversations because we've been tv and character free this whole time and continue to be. And he sees it for what it is. He has no love affair with these things so he can look at them rationally. He has things he loves and they are based on his own interests and ideas and imagination and he is now strong willed enough that he doesn't like the idea of being told what to like.

FWIW, DS has LOTS of characters -- they are just the ones he makes up or from his favorite stories that we read. And they have no multi-million dollar product line attached to them.

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#40 of 56 Old 05-22-2008, 10:50 PM
 
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Hmm--I'm starting to feel like this thread is going in a "What's the harm of TV and movies?" direction...
Wha... what?! I totally didn't get that from this thread, and I certainly hope you weren't referring to my posts. : I am not at all saying TV and movies have no effect on children. If I thought they didn't, I certainly wouldn't be going to lengths to avoid them and keep them out of my home. I am saying that knowing the names of branded characters doesn't.

My children know the names of LOTS of characters, and do you know how it effects them? They know the names. That's IT. Knowledge. I answered their question. They never have any sort of play involving characters whose names they only know, so it hasn't stifled them there. They never ask for things with those characters on them, because knowing the name of something doesn't mean they desire it. As a matter of fact, they only very occasionally mention them at all. The occasional "It's Elmo." Or "That's Carebears. My friend has those on her backpack." And I just say "Yep." and we move on.

I honestly don't get how that means TV and movies are freaking great. I didn't know this forum was a "My kids are media-freer than yours" pissing contest. I have no use for that. I was here looking for support and to share stories and experiences.

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#41 of 56 Old 05-22-2008, 10:56 PM
 
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I don't think it's a benefit so much as a personal choice. For me, I didn't like that my son was being spoon fed ideas by somebody else, somebody who is trying to make money on the fact that he will fall in love with this idea/ character. I also didn't want the annoyance of walking through a store and hearing "Oooo I want the Dora shoes! I want the Elmo cookies!" etc. We walk through and he doesn't bat an eye.

As I have said before around here, I like that when my son sees a clownfish, he says "oh a clownfish" and not "Nemo!!!!!!" He knows some of the characters now from just being around other kids, but of course he almost 4 now and can actually show some form of rational thinking every now and again. I can now start to have the conversations that many pro-TVers talk about... we discuss whether said item is truly the one we need or the best one, or are they putting said character on it to trick little kids into buying that one... even if it's something junkie or useless.

BUT -- I firmly believe that we can now have these conversations because we've been tv and character free this whole time and continue to be. And he sees it for what it is. He has no love affair with these things so he can look at them rationally. He has things he loves and they are based on his own interests and ideas and imagination and he is now strong willed enough that he doesn't like the idea of being told what to like.

FWIW, DS has LOTS of characters -- they are just the ones he makes up or from his favorite stories that we read. And they have no multi-million dollar product line attached to them.
I agree with this. It is a personal choice. I also think it is so great to be able to talk to talk to your kids about commercialism and character tie-ins, being sold crap you don't need. We get a family magazine, and their are adds in it. My DD1 and I have talked a lot about how they try to make the adds for candy look so fun, but not tell you about how bad it is for you. Or how they put characters on juice, etc to make kids ask for it, and how we don't get that kind on purpose. Yay for critically thinking kids!

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#42 of 56 Old 05-22-2008, 11:57 PM
 
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Wha... what?! I totally didn't get that from this thread, and I certainly hope you weren't referring to my posts. : I am not at all saying TV and movies have no effect on children. If I thought they didn't, I certainly wouldn't be going to lengths to avoid them and keep them out of my home. I am saying that knowing the names of branded characters doesn't.

My children know the names of LOTS of characters, and do you know how it effects them? They know the names. That's IT. Knowledge. I answered their question. They never have any sort of play involving characters whose names they only know, so it hasn't stifled them there. They never ask for things with those characters on them, because knowing the name of something doesn't mean they desire it. As a matter of fact, they only very occasionally mention them at all. The occasional "It's Elmo." Or "That's Carebears. My friend has those on her backpack." And I just say "Yep." and we move on.

I honestly don't get how that means TV and movies are freaking great. I didn't know this forum was a "My kids are media-freer than yours" pissing contest. I have no use for that. I was here looking for support and to share stories and experiences.
ITA.
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#43 of 56 Old 05-23-2008, 10:04 AM
 
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Since I seem to have angered some people, I'll say which posts made me say that. I'm not intending to "police" this forum--it's just that I heard some things that made me think of what TV-using folks say to me.

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But I don't think it limits imagination in a typical child based on friends kids who do watch TV and act out the video themes just like my kids do books.
I do think the acting out of TV/video themes is a manifestation of imagination being limited by screen media.

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She ended up watching the movie Cars and really liked it, we have ended up with more then a few car items and it doesn't seem like such a big deal anymore.
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. That is how my kids discovered Thomas the Train. It was after they loved the books so much that my parents started buying them the movies.
These statements seem a little strange to me in the TV-free forum. I personally don't see much distinction at all between "movies" and broadcast TV. If you are watching videos, you aren't TV-free, IMO. Not that the forum is only open to those who are 100% TV-fre--DD is, DH and I aren't--but that's where I was getting that vibe.

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#44 of 56 Old 05-23-2008, 11:21 AM
 
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Since I seem to have angered some people, I'll say which posts made me say that. I'm not intending to "police" this forum--it's just that I heard some things that made me think of what TV-using folks say to me.



I do think the acting out of TV/video themes is a manifestation of imagination being limited by screen media.





These statements seem a little strange to me in the TV-free forum. I personally don't see much distinction at all between "movies" and broadcast TV. If you are watching videos, you aren't TV-free, IMO. Not that the forum is only open to those who are 100% TV-fre--DD is, DH and I aren't--but that's where I was getting that vibe.

This is just my opinion.
While I do agree with you some what, its quite rude to leave a snarky comment and does give an impression of "Im better than you". You can take being media free to any degree. Some are obviously farther along than others. But it serves no purpose leaving rude comments. What I find works better is to show some facts/statistics and heart. Its pleasing to read for everyone and the mum may actually understand (or at least try to) where your coming from.
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#45 of 56 Old 05-23-2008, 02:06 PM
 
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I apologize that the comment bothered you. I actually thought what I said was pretty mild, though. It was not intended to be snarky. It was an honest observation.

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#46 of 56 Old 05-23-2008, 10:15 PM
 
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Since I seem to have angered some people, I'll say which posts made me say that. I'm not intending to "police" this forum--it's just that I heard some things that made me think of what TV-using folks say to me.
loraxc, if you are going to quote me in that way I would appreciate you quoting my context.

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For me the concern is that it will limit imagination (not coming up with her own names for toys, making them act like the character, etc)

My boys have great imaginations. However, I often hear them "acting out" things from their favorite books. Today I heard on kiddo say "Will you pull our little train" and the other say "pull the likes of you, I think not" straight out of The Little Engine that Could. I think it's typical for kids to borrow stories and actually good developmentally. But I don't think it limits imagination in a typical child based on friends kids who do watch TV and act out the video themes just like my kids do books.
The "it" I am referring to is not videos as I feel your pulled out one sentence quotes implies. With context, I was saying that it seemed typical to me for children to "borrow" story themes...if they don't have videos they in my experience borrow themes and story lines from books. I'm not going to stop reading or pick only things with no plot (I guess??)! I would add if you pulled books too so you didn't limit imagination they would use story lines "borrowed" from stories of grandparents or daddy's childhood.

They certainly are not going to borrow a story line based on knowing the name "Dora" when they've never seen a video or show about Dora. So telling them her name when they see her in the store is, to me, entirely unimportant. That was my point. Kids do borrow story themes whether they watch videos, read books, or mommy tells them about her childhood. Kids experiment in that way and it's typical. Withholding or hiding character names isn't going to change that. And doing that "borrowing" isn't going to stunt their imagination. Or if it does I don't see how you would ever avoid it. That was my point.

Anyway, nothing in either of my responses was supporting video or TV watching are anything of the sort. Perhaps you read what you were predisposed to see or something. But I don't appreciate what I wrote being taken out of context and lumped in with two quotes suggesting (I guess...I don't know their context either) videos are fine.

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#47 of 56 Old 05-23-2008, 10:39 PM
 
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For the record, my boys know many character names as I don't withhold information. They don't ask for character products or much care when they see them places. I think that stuff may come from watching videos/movies/TV but in my experience a draw to it doesn't come from just knowing the names. My boys are four.

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#48 of 56 Old 05-23-2008, 11:20 PM
 
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They certainly are not going to borrow a story line based on knowing the name "Dora" when they've never seen a video or show about Dora. So telling them her name when they see her in the store is, to me, entirely unimportant. That was my point. Kids do borrow story themes whether they watch videos, read books, or mommy tells them about her childhood. Kids experiment in that way and it's typical. Withholding or hiding character names isn't going to change that. And doing that "borrowing" isn't going to stunt their imagination. Or if it does I don't see how you would ever avoid it. That was my point.

Anyway, nothing in either of my responses was supporting video or TV watching are anything of the sort. Perhaps you read what you were predisposed to see or something. But I don't appreciate what I wrote being taken out of context and lumped in with two quotes suggesting (I guess...I don't know their context either) videos are fine.


My kids base their play on so many things (very often books they've read, they even pretned to be a friend's family) and I can honestly say I've never answered the "What's that called?" question and had them playing Dora or Elmo later. They have no context for it. It's just a leap of logic that makes no sense to me.

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#49 of 56 Old 05-23-2008, 11:58 PM
 
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I apologize that the comment bothered you. I actually thought what I said was pretty mild, though. It was not intended to be snarky. It was an honest observation.
What bothered me personally was that in this forum it was almost an insult, know what I mean? I felt like it could turn people who are struggling with media in their lives away. I came across a little harshly and I'm sorry, but I was pretty upset thinking that people might not feel comfortable coming here as they are, watching occasional videos or watching TV all day but wanting to cut back or stop altogether and needing advice. There isn't any support online or IRL for most people to go TV free, and I was really hoping we could support people through the process.

And as far as people thinking TV is just fine & dandy? They're welcome to their opinions, you know? I know why I don't do TV in my house, and I'll give them my reasons for my opinion. Anyway, I love a good debate.

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#50 of 56 Old 05-24-2008, 12:15 AM
 
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I do think the acting out of TV/video themes is a manifestation of imagination being limited by screen media.
Mind if I play devil's advocate for a moment? The first thing I thought of when I read this was "But my kids act out plots from books, things we've told them, etc all the time! What's the difference?"

My oldest DD is *obsessed* with the Magic Tree House books. They've introduced entire worlds to her. It's been nothing but a positive - she's become aware of all sorts of things I'd never have thought to introduce her too at this age - right now she really wishes that she could go to the Paris World's Fair and be able to meet Thomas Edison. We act out books all the time. I can see someone making the same argument for videos - you can open up whole new worlds to kids. Of course, there are, many, many drawbacks given that medium, but I'm not sure I see how that, in particular, is limiting.

I think part of the problem is the quality of the "worlds" in most children's programming and movies. It's not the kind of stuff that really inspires kids to build upon it. One of the few videos my DD has seen was parts of the Planet Earth series. She was delighted with the birds of paradise! She put of her wildest clothes, shook her butt and said it was her birds of paradise dance. It was one of the funniest things I've ever seen, and we've since checked books on them out of the library. Unfortunately, I don't think many videos do inspire this sort of creativity, they just let the children tune out.

And of course, watching TV takes away the TIME to play and imagine. When my kids are bored, they (usually) find something to do (usually imaginative play) or ask me to play with them. I know when a lot of children are bored, the parents turn on the tube.

Anyway, I don't think acting out plots is a negative, as long as it's done with imagination. I hope this post was coherent, it's getting late!

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#51 of 56 Old 05-25-2008, 08:29 AM
 
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I agree with ALL of you (how's that for kissing butt? )

To clarify, I do NOT tell the name of characters and we are a commercial character free household. I do think it limits imagination and I think MORE than that it limits critical thinking because it strikes at the emotions (oooo mommy I LOVE that Elmo box of cookies) rather than the intellect (mommy why do they have a red monster puppet on the cookie box?)

I also think in all tv/no tv debates age needs to be a factor. People with 0-4 year olds are on a totally different playing field than the 4-7 year olds and so on up. So while I would totally avoid the character thing at ALL costs with my 0-4 year old, now that my son is a more independent, rational, thinking being I will engage him in the critical thinking talk about advertising and so on (and there is no magic age, this is just when I personally felt he would get it without being seduced by the ad/ character itself).

I guess by loraxc's standard we are not tv-free even though we do not have a TV in our home at all. Because yes, we now do let DS watch the occasional movie on the computer. It is something we do as a family together every now and again. But, I still do NOT choose movies that have marketing campaigns behind them (Cars, anything Disney or Pixar, etc). For me now that he is 4 years old, it's not so much the moving image, it's still the commercialism. So we watch mostly IMAX nature movies (he LOVES them!) or some really old school stuff that won't have any product ties in the store (The Black Stallion, which we love because there is no antagonist or old musicals b/c my son thinks Gene Kelly is the bomb)

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My oldest DD is *obsessed* with the Magic Tree House books. They've introduced entire worlds to her.
Ds also plays Magic Treehouse 24/7. We've read every book in the series together about 700 times
BUT one of the things I like is that Mary Pope Osborne has not sold out. I hope it stays this way. There are NO Jack and Annie dolls, back packs, treehouse sets, t-shirts, cookies etc. Just the books and now a musical She ROCKS for keeping it real.

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#52 of 56 Old 05-26-2008, 09:49 AM
 
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Yes.

:

But here's the deal for me. Cartoon characters and other children's characters are so UBIQUITOUS! They're everywhere. Like the OP mentioned, they can even be in museum exhibits. They're that ingrained in our culture.

I don't have a problem with characters (hey, many are from books, right) but I don't want any of the characters to become obsessions or idols for children, if that makes sense.

I think it's ok to know the names, so a child can relate to peers, however if, for example, Blues Clues becomes the ONLY thing my child will like, we might have a problem in our household.
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#53 of 56 Old 05-29-2008, 04:48 PM
 
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Sorry, sbgrace--I actually thought you were indeed talking about videos here:

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But I don't think it limits imagination in a typical child based on friends kids who do watch TV and act out the video themes just like my kids do books.
I thought "it" was referring to videos and TV. I misunderstood and you've clarified.

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I think part of the problem is the quality of the "worlds" in most children's programming and movies. It's not the kind of stuff that really inspires kids to build upon it.
Yup.

Also, my experience is possibly a little unique. I did allow DD to watch one show (Big Big World) for a period of a few months when she was around 2.5, and she started doing a ton of play from the show. We stopped watching TV and she stopped doing this. Thing is, she actually does not do pretend play based on books--these days everything is completely from her own imagination. So for us, the behavior appeared only in relation to TV, was not creative but imitative, and vanished when we phased out TV.

grateful mother to DD, 1/04, and DS, 2/08

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#54 of 56 Old 06-03-2008, 01:17 AM
 
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Originally Posted by loraxc View Post
Since I seem to have angered some people, I'll say which posts made me say that. I'm not intending to "police" this forum--it's just that I heard some things that made me think of what TV-using folks say to me.



I do think the acting out of TV/video themes is a manifestation of imagination being limited by screen media.





These statements seem a little strange to me in the TV-free forum. I personally don't see much distinction at all between "movies" and broadcast TV. If you are watching videos, you aren't TV-free, IMO. Not that the forum is only open to those who are 100% TV-fre--DD is, DH and I aren't--but that's where I was getting that vibe.

Wow! haven't been on this thread for awhile, things got kinda spiced up. Guess i must have been off watching TV with my kids

I even got two of my statements used in a negative not so cool way. I guess I'm just not cool enough to be on this thread. I mean we don't have cable TV, but we do watch the occasional movie.

I think I started out with similar opinions as many of you, but due to the fact that most of my family lives with in a few miles, aunts, grandparents, great-grandparents, it's kind of hard to keep your kids in a bubble and not allow them any movies at other peoples houses. Since this is where most of the movie and character introducing happens. I suppose I could just not go over there, but I want my kids to know my family and experience their lives. I just deceided that it was only as big of a deal as I made it. I just think life is too short to get uptight about so many things. If my DD watches Cars at my parents house and loves the movie so much that they buy her a shirt with Lightining McQueeen on it, and she then wears the shirt for 6 months straight so be it. It would have been far more upsetting to her if I wouldn't have let her wear it.

I didn't mean to ruffle feathers by injecting my feelings on an open thread. Perhaps I am in the wrong forum, however back to the main thread topic. If my kids ask what somethings name is, and they do a lot! I have no problem telling them the names. In fact I want them to know names of things like what kind of tree is this or flower is that. I know trees and flowers are different from lic. characters, but I have always been a big believer in calling things by their names. Be it a red maple tree or a red monster named Elmo.

Full time mom to 10/04 2/06 and my sweet surpise 3/09
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#55 of 56 Old 06-03-2008, 01:21 AM
 
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BTW I agree with the whole marketing thing. But as I mentioned in a previous post, which didn't get quoted, My kids understand the maketing and don't demand things with characters on them just because they watch the movie.

Full time mom to 10/04 2/06 and my sweet surpise 3/09
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#56 of 56 Old 07-07-2008, 07:50 PM
 
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My 2-year old knows who Elmo is and I was completely shocked. I figured it out that some of the kids at his daycare have characters on their diapers and they must talk about them! ugh... whatyagonnado! I think despite our best efforts they are going to learn some of these characters, and I just try to limit it as best I can. But, quite frankly, the thing that's goign to keep me from telling him who the characters are is the fact that I DON'T KNOW WHO MOST OF THEM ARE! LOL! Who is Clifford? Apparently there is someone named Diego, but I don't know who that is. OK, so I know Spiderman and Big Bird, but not that many others. So, my kid is just on his own with this!
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