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#1 of 23 Old 06-17-2008, 06:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I have been reading through a lot of the threads and notice many people who are TV free but still watch movies or DVDs with their kids.

I wonder what the difference is between watching a DVD and watching TV?
I am not being facetious, I really am curious.

I am assuming that it has to do with the fact that it is commercial free? Is it because you can control what is watched?

Do some of you feel that a DVD is better than watching TV shows or is it meant as a compromise?

It's got me thinking that we may (on this board) have many different reasons for our choices to be TV free. Anyone care to share theirs?
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#2 of 23 Old 06-17-2008, 07:52 PM
 
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Well, I chose DVDs over cable because of the lack of ads, and the fact that I could put something DD liked on TV when it was convenient, not when Treehouse felt like it. .

That turned out to be a bad idea, because DD got hooked on watching what she wanted, when she wanted it, and she was well on her way to TV addiction. So I just uplugged the TV and the DVD player and we've been almost completely TV-free for the past week and a half and it's GREAT. She still cons DH into letting her watch claymation videos of pooping tortoises on youtube, but I figure that's limited by DH's attention span and thus ok.

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#3 of 23 Old 06-17-2008, 08:37 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Hannahsmummy View Post
I have been reading through a lot of the threads and notice many people who are TV free but still watch movies or DVDs with their kids.

I wonder what the difference is between watching a DVD and watching TV?
I am not being facetious, I really am curious.

I am assuming that it has to do with the fact that it is commercial free? Is it because you can control what is watched?

Do some of you feel that a DVD is better than watching TV shows or is it meant as a compromise?

It's got me thinking that we may (on this board) have many different reasons for our choices to be TV free. Anyone care to share theirs?
Very valid questions, and something I think we all mull over.

For me it IS about being commercial free and about controlling what is watched.

We did no DVD's until he was about 3, because I don't think small children have anything to gain from screen time at all the first three or so years.

When DS became curious about more complex things, and I knew the moving images were not going to necessarily short circuit him... we started to watch an occasional DVD together. It's not meant to replace anything like books, or outside time, or family time.

I don't think the moving image in and of itself is evil, and I believe it can be a decent tool in your parenting tool box. So for example DS was really interested in ancient Egypt, and we rented the DVD Mysteries of the Nile (an IMAX flick) which really showed him facets of this far away place and time that really came alive for him. It opened a few doors and gave us segueways in to non-media exploration of that topic.

He also LOVES animals. Loves loves loves. The zoo is fun, but far away and expensive. Seeing an occasional DVD of animals doing their thing is fascinating and fun.

To see a dung beetle actually roll a ball of poop around is just way cooler versus just talking about it.

Am I making any sense?

So for us, it's not a pass time so much as another way to explore the world and discover new things that we may not otherwise have access to.

And sometimes it's just fun.

But I avoid like the plague anything with marketing ties (avoid books with those ties for that matter) or that are dumbed down and sassy and rude and aggressive just for a laugh. Basically, all modern day kids movies. It FREAKS me out what they make and market to kids these days. Truly freaks me out.

Mama to Zach 6-18-04 & Naia 10-13-10 Partner to the sweetest DH. Loving our life afloat. TV Free!
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#4 of 23 Old 06-17-2008, 10:18 PM
 
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I just think there are better things to do with your time, especially when you're a child and you have such an active and vivid imagination! I suppose the image of watching my girls with their mouths gaping entranced by an electronic device doesn't really appeal to me either. We are pretty low-technology in the rest of our lives, too.

What are your reasons, Hannahsmummy?

 Grateful midwife and peaceful mama to three blissfully birthed, amazing children: dd (10)dd (7) and  ds (5).
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#5 of 23 Old 06-19-2008, 11:55 PM
 
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 Grateful midwife and peaceful mama to three blissfully birthed, amazing children: dd (10)dd (7) and  ds (5).
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#6 of 23 Old 06-21-2008, 05:25 PM
 
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I am not 100% anti-screen time. Our twins didn't start watching movies until they were 2 and if I didn't have any other kids, they probably still wouldn't be watching any movies. But as a treat I let my 5 year old watch a movie on the computer about twice a month and of course the twins want to join in. I don't like TV because of what it did to our family. It was always there and available and sooo easy to just turn on and zone out. I am not very good with moderation so it is easier to just not have a TV in the house. The movie thing twice a month is more of a compromise. Dh was really good about getting rid of the TV and he and the kids really enjoy the family movie night.

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#7 of 23 Old 06-23-2008, 10:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Sorry,
Meant to come back to this thread earlier!

My daughter just turned 5 and she's completely screen free and always has been. She has seen a couple of things briefly at friends or relatives in the past.
I don't like the whole commercial aspect of screen entertainment for kids and I mean beyond ads. It's also all of the marketing and show tie ins that are out there. We do try to live as commercial free a lifestyle as possible.

I too was really uncomfortable at the glazed over, hypnotic state that my child went into when seeing something on the screen. Also, just on a personal level in regards to my daughter's personality, it's to much for her. She's highly sensitive to noise, chaos and emotion. We've had some negative experiences with her seeing things and getting really upset about it.
However, my biggest issues are the way that it affects children emotionally and intellectually. I believe that it stagnates imagination, is a replacement for actual experience and most like does have a real physical effect on a child's development.

I regularly hear the argument about how TV is great for kids because it teaches them things. I have yet to encounter anything that one could learn solely from TV and not anywhere else.

So for us there's not really any difference between TV and DVDs.
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#8 of 23 Old 06-23-2008, 11:47 PM
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For me it is controlling, at a higher level, what I watch. With the cable, I'd watch E!, Bravo, VH-1, mostly brain-drain eye candy while nursing the babe or just chilling. We watched a lot of Discovery, History and whatnot, but I found myself getting more into the crap.

With DVDs, we can watch what we really want to watch, not just what is on at the moment. And yes, the commercials have a bit part to do with it as well.
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#9 of 23 Old 06-24-2008, 10:24 AM
 
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We were a TV watching household that switched to DVD viewing.

When we had TV dd would watch whatever was on. She would arrange her life according to the TV schedule. She eventually would wake up to watch TV and it was very hard to pry her away. She watched a lot. Her behavior was influenced negatively.
Dh and I really didn't watch much but for me the tv was also turned on just because it was there.
We originally stopped our satellite service/tv reception mainly due to money (to save for Christmas gifts) but also because of how much it was consuming dd.
We kept DVD's as a compromise because we do like watching movies and certain shows. For us a DVD is a conscious choice and we are happier with that vs. flipping channels and vegetating. We aren't paying for channels we don't watch because it is in the package. We aren't wasting time watching commercials or shows we aren't really interested in.
Dd (8) can choose whatever age appropriate DVD she wants to watch. We have Netflix plus our home collection.
The first week after our service stopped dd tried watching tv through the neighbor's window. It was funny and sad. After that week though she started playing with her toys more. Dd's time in front of the TV changed from all day to watching the DVD and shutting it off. She is making different viewing choices- more educational shows or shows geared for younger ages than pre-teen shows. Homeschooling has been easier.

We were recently visiting family and the TV was on the Disney Channel as background noise. Dd asked if she could play outside. When she came back in she asked if we could shut the TV off.

Kim ~mom to one awesome dd (12)

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#10 of 23 Old 06-26-2008, 12:31 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hannahsmummy View Post
I have been reading through a lot of the threads and notice many people who are TV free but still watch movies or DVDs with their kids.

I wonder what the difference is between watching a DVD and watching TV?
I am not being facetious, I really am curious.

I am assuming that it has to do with the fact that it is commercial free? Is it because you can control what is watched?

Do some of you feel that a DVD is better than watching TV shows or is it meant as a compromise?

It's got me thinking that we may (on this board) have many different reasons for our choices to be TV free. Anyone care to share theirs?
To me there is no difference between DVDs and TV. With the new DVRs there is no reason to randomly watch tv or to watch commercials if that is the primary reason for being TV free.

If the point of being tv free is the content then watching the content on DVD doesn't change a thing. I'm having a hard time understanding all the internet time with being tv free too. I'm starting to think that the issue is screen time. Additionally, someone brought up radio. I personally don't listen to the radio because I hate the commercials and lack of content control regarding news on the radio.

At least reading I can scan headlines and choose to read more or not.
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#11 of 23 Old 06-26-2008, 08:18 PM - Thread Starter
 
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[QUOTE=Arduinna;11558758 I'm starting to think that the issue is screen time. Additionally, someone brought up radio. I personally don't listen to the radio because I hate the commercials and lack of content control regarding news on the radio. [/QUOTE]

Yes, for us it's screen time in general.

That's an interesting point about the radio as well. While I NEVER have the TV on when my daughter is awake, I do listen to the radio. It's not constant but it is on for a short period each day and my daughter does listen on occasion. Thankfully we have commercial free radio here so that's not an issue but it is impossible to control content!
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#12 of 23 Old 06-28-2008, 10:59 AM
 
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My kids watch Youtube clips every once in a while; we totally control the content and limit it to things they've been reading about or talking about or shown an interest in, as well as music they like. So, we watch Laurie Berkner do one song, or we watch someone do fancy frosting on a cake, or watch an old crayon-factory video from a 70's era Sesame Street. A few minutes at a time, in the evening.

We watched a few episodes of "The Electric Company" on DVD when I had the flu in my wretched first trimester of this pregnancy. (Now they are saying "Maybe if you are sick when the baby comes we can watch Sesame Street on DVD." )

As they get older (they're almost 4 now), I am becoming a little more comfortable with the idea of some DVDs (again, to supplement/expand their experience of topics already of interest) although I do find that I have what may be an irrational dread of having them sit in front of a screen for any amount of time. (See other's discussions of "the glazed over look.") So we haven't actually watched any yet.

I also, even more, want to shield them from the commercialism inherent in TV shows *and* movies; with all the cross-marketing that goes on, the shows and movies themselves are just long advertisements (one of the books out there, maybe Buy, Buy, Baby or Consuming Kids, talks about this) for the variety of products associated with the characters...

...Of course, they pick up some of this just from being at preschool, or walking through the store, or talking to other kids. It's so frustrating! :

Anyway, I think watching DVDs *can* be different from watching TV, for older kids (for younger kids, I think avoiding any screen time is best and don't understand the "my kid doesn't watch TV but loves Baby Einstein" crowd. Before they can discriminate content, it's all the same IMHO) but it's not inherently different. Depends what you're watching in either medium, how you watch it, if it's dictating how you spend your time, who is in charge of what's being watched, etc.

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#13 of 23 Old 06-28-2008, 01:23 PM
 
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I have thought about this a lot, too. Right now DD is 19 mos so we're not doing any TV or DVDs. But I can imagine in the future that I may be OK with letting her watch a 30 minute DVD every once in a while. It is about the commercialism for me. Although, I also don't want her getting hooked on characters b/c I don't want to get caught in that trap of her wanting things that have a TV character on them. This seems like it would limit our choices, though. Maybe "Reading Rainbow" would be safe?
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#14 of 23 Old 06-28-2008, 09:57 PM
 
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I have thought about this a lot, too. Right now DD is 19 mos so we're not doing any TV or DVDs. But I can imagine in the future that I may be OK with letting her watch a 30 minute DVD every once in a while. It is about the commercialism for me. Although, I also don't want her getting hooked on characters b/c I don't want to get caught in that trap of her wanting things that have a TV character on them. This seems like it would limit our choices, though. Maybe "Reading Rainbow" would be safe?


With our 3 yr old, we watch things like Little House, Heidi, Anne of Green Gables. I'm thinking of getting some Shirley Temple sometime for her. None of it is commercial stuff. Oh and she likes Mary Poppins. There is a lot of classic family style stuff out there that has no commercial attachments (unless you count books...). You just have to look hard for it -and it's not necesarily the kind of stuff that would be marketed to a 3 yr old. It's a very rare occasion when we don't watch with her. So we are always there to talk about what's happening, cover her eyes if there is something innappropriate (say 2 boys fighting on Little House) etc.

For us, it's an occasional something relaxing to do after a long day of playing outside, gardening, cooking, art, etc. She's learned a lot about how people used to live a long long time ago from Little House and loves goats because of Heidi. Last week she was pretending she had a baby goat like Heidi did - but that was the jumping off point for tons of elaborate imagination that had nothing to do with the movie.

I think the OP made a good point - her dd doesn't watch tv because she's easily overstimulated. Our dd has never been like that. She tends to be very centered in her own calm regardless of her surroundings. If I have future children who are easily overstimulated, then I'd def do things differently. As for our dd, it works - doesn't hurt her imagination, she still gets plenty of exercise, it's a family activity not something she does on her own, she doesn't ask for it if we don't do it, it's educational and it's not commercial.

Our decisions about what to watch with her also have a lot to do with the fact that she has an amazing vocabulary and understanding of situations - more like a 5 yr old than an almost 3 yr old. If she had average vocabulary, then some of these shows would maybe be beyond her understanding.

We don't have any tv channels at all, so it's only dvd's.
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#15 of 23 Old 06-29-2008, 09:08 PM
 
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I don't really understand the difference either. I think there is a distinction to be drawn between commercialized, heavily branded programming and movies and other programming and movies, but whether it's a DVD or not really has nothing to do with that.

I agree that that some things are pretty innocuous in content, and we do plan to introduce an occasional movie or show at some point, but some of my concern is what kids are NOT doing when watching TV. They're not reading or pretending or doing art or getting exercise or interacting with others (very much). It's sort of like junk food for the mind. We do eat junk food occasionally, but it has a very small role in our diets.

Also, I look forward to one day watching something like Anne of Green Gables with DD, but I feel she is too young at this point. I'd also rather she read the book first when it comes to the classics.

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#16 of 23 Old 06-29-2008, 09:27 PM
 
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In my own life as a viewer, the difference between television (yes, even with DVR) and only having access to DVDs is huge. When we had TV w/DVR, I was watching all. the. time. It was a completely complusive behavior that I could not readily control. There was always something to watch, a hundred choices or more, and with the DVR there was almost always something new that I actually wanted to watch. There was just too much, and I evaluated new shows not on whether they would enrich my life or be more enjoyable than other options but whether it was something I might enjoy/could stand to watch. Plus, even with commercial skip, there were commercials. Marketers are very, very good at what they do, and even half a second of a commercial flashing by would sometimes catch my attention and have me rewinding to watch the whole thing.

So we got rid of cable, moved the TV out of the way. Between then and having Naked Baby, we watched an average of one DVD a day, maybe 2 hours of screen time, which was a reduction so significant I'm afraid to mention how big it was. That dropped a bit, and then he was born and it plummetted -- we just suddenly had something MUCH better to look at. Now we watch maybe 1-2 DVDs a month (we're on the 1 at a time, 2 max, plan from Netflix), on the computer, and haven't plugged in the TV.

I needed to get rid of cable and of broadcast TV, get rid of the 24/7 influx of content, in order to have any control over my viewing. Now I evaluate whether to watch something based on whether it's worth using up a naptime -- today the answer was no, and I worked on an article instead. DVDs still are capable of sucking me in, letting it be too easy for me to watch too much (especially TV shows on DVD, when I want to watch "just one more episode!"), hurting my eyes and my head, but it's a hundredth of the problem it used to be.

So that's why DVDs instead of TV for me.
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#17 of 23 Old 06-30-2008, 04:36 AM
 
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In our family DVD's are not watched every day. TV was.
A DVD has an end. TV did not.
To a family like mine DVD's and TV are very different.

Maybe it is harder to see the difference if you've always been TV free or are talking about putting a baby in front of a TV. I don't think a baby needs to watch DVD's or TV at all.

Kim ~mom to one awesome dd (12)

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#18 of 23 Old 07-01-2008, 06:47 PM
 
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Personaly, I am more concerned about commercials than shows AND I like that I can choose what is on 100%. Also, I think that with cable, the temptation to just turn on the TV (for adults and children) is too great and you end up watching more often. We have netflix for the adults and we only watch a couple nights a week, if that. If we had cable, we would probably watch something pretty much every night, especially Dh. I'm sure I would use the TV more as a babysitter too if there was anything on but it is easier for me to say one or two DVD/VHS per day for dd.
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#19 of 23 Old 07-02-2008, 06:55 AM
 
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For me, it's about screen time as well as the intentionality. We don't have a baby yet, but DP and I are occasional DVD-watching TV-free folks. We watch a DVD maybe once a week.

I don't think that small children benefit at all from screen time of any sort. I can imagine allowing some very intentional viewing when children are older, but more as education rather than entertainment. The DVDs that DP and I watch are history programs, images of places we'll never have the money to travel to, etc. It's intentional viewing to see things that we couldn't see otherwise. There's no commercials ever. We don't listen to commercial radio (NPR online and BBC only).

One thing that bothers me about TV and DVD viewing for all ages is when it's made out to be a special treat. I think that sets up an unhealthy relationship with the screen. It's just one form of learning and entertainment among many others.

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#20 of 23 Old 07-02-2008, 09:20 AM
 
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We do allow DVDs. Once a week when we go to the library for new books, the two older children (ages 6 and 4) can pick one DVD to watch. And then one evening after the 2yo is asleep, they can watch their DVD. Some weeks, the movies go back to the library unwatched, especially in the summer when there is way too much fun stuff to do outside to waste the time indoors watching a movie. The DVDs are not necessarily educational, but they do need to be Mom-approved .

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#21 of 23 Old 07-03-2008, 03:06 PM
 
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I agree with so much posted here!

I think there is a big difference in television and only watching DVDs. At least, in our life there is.

I don't see myself as controlling but I suppose it could seem that way. DD has access to media just not the constant onslaught of television ads. Sure, there are ads in magazines, books even, internet. We talk about advertising and consumption. yet still, the constant commercials bug me. I honestly think they are harmful to my child's well being. Not asking anyone to agree with me but that's how I feel.

(Also, the content of commercials seems to have changed a great deal in the 8 years we lived out of the States. Two years ago, we came back for a visit and I was shocked by how many commercials were about drugs. I think this really affects and reflects the culture we live in)
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#22 of 23 Old 07-04-2008, 11:21 PM
 
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I sit here listening to the fireworks getting started on my normally quiet little lake in the woods... as my kiddos and dh sleep.

And I wonder about movie viewing. Tonight my DD (8) wanted to watch a movie (its Friday, movie night) and I just said, "baby its a habit, and tonight we are tired, lets read instead!" and OH MY GOD, she was fine with it.

We only watch movies that we've prescreened and trust are good --I am an artistic movie BUFF (I mean have you seen Secret of Roan Inish?!?)

I cannot depreive my girlies somthing that has enriched my life so!

But TV and COMMERCIALS and the riciculous "news" that is not and has not been in our home in several years --that is just not part of our lives.

And until my girls are avid readers and can reason with me about media... then can they ask for computer time, for now it is our little secret...

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#23 of 23 Old 07-05-2008, 02:14 PM
 
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I agree about balance. (and yes, I LOVE The Secret of Roan Inish!!!) We are all avid readers. Just because my dd has access to movies, it doesn't necessarily follow that she would gorge herself on them. She likes to read, watch movies, draw, play games, do crafts...loads of other things.

I think balance is very important in life.
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