Join Date: Sep 2004
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In my experience (observational), you're experiencing two conflicting philosophies. The unschooling philosophy (to which I am strongly attracted to, but I wouldn't say we're unschooling with a 15mo, and I don't know what we'll be doing when he's 5, or 10, or 15) says that TV and related media are, like almost everything in life, things to which children should have free access and free control over, and that watching TV now is fulfilling a need for her, if only the need to experience and learn about TV watching. The TV free philosophy says that TV acts remarkably like a drug, and that she is not currently free in her actions, because she is experiencing addiction and compulsive behavior that is ultimately not good for her.
I think TV-light is hard to do within a radical unschooling philosophy approach. I think fully TV free (no videos at this age, nothing watching on the computer, etc) is compatible, since the option simply isn't there, just like the option to do crack simply isn't there. You're discovering why this is so. I wouldn't allow access to TV or videos at all at this age, which is not to say that when she's older, when her mind has a foundation of interaction with real life and she understands the dangers of TV, that she couldn't be allowed control over the amount and type that she watches. But even radical unschoolers would be unlikely to hand a 3 week old chocolate cake, you know? It's not something they're prepared to make rational, deliberate decisions about, and there are lots and lots of good reasons to keep them away from it for now.
So for me, having looked at the research on the effects of television on young minds, and having experienced its addictiveness and the unhappy compulsive behavior that results first hand, I would choose to go no-TV in any shape from here on out. It will be harder, since Pandora's box has been opened, as it were, but it can be done. I recommend the cold-turkey approach, unlike with normal weaning (since what she's being weaned off isn't something good for her, a need outgrown, but something not good, which she needs to get out of her system).
I think moving the computer is a great start, and that once you decide and implement the no-video path, you'll have to deal with a couple weeks (anywhere from a few days to a month or so) of TV-altered behavior, but that you CAN get her back to a point of being engaged with more than the idiot box.