Workshop #12 High Technology: Uses and Abuses - Mothering Forums

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Old 05-04-2009, 03:50 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Workshop #12 High Technology: Uses and Abuses

Welcome to our Twelfth Natural Family Living discussion: Wholesome Family Entertainment; This discussion will key in on
Part 5 – Family Matters from Peggy O’Mara’s book Natural Family Living.


Some of the topics we'll discuss are;


Chapter 18 - High Technology: Uses and Abuses


Television: The Boob Tube?
  • Television Can Stifle the Imagination
  • Television Can Harm Intellectual Development
  • Television Contributes to a Violent View of The World
  • Television Can Frighten Children
  • Television Promotes Consumerism

Smart Family Television Habits
  • Limit Television Viewing
  • Substitute Other Activities
  • Watch With Them

Becoming Media-Literate

Choosing Quality Children's Videos and CD-ROMS
  • Make sure videos are age appropriate

The Brave New World of the Internet
  • Interactive Shopping Mall
  • Selling Alcohol and Tobacco to Minors

Internet Rules for Kids
  • Protect your identity
  • Be cautious of email from strangers
  • Never agree to meet someone you corresponded with online

Internet Guidelines for Parents

Best of the Net for Kids

Internet As A Parenting Tool





Please join us in discussion on High Technology: Uses and Abuses. We welcome everyone to share their personal experiences, what works for your family, your struggles and your ideas. This is an open dialog and we ask that everyone be respectful of others' opinions. Take what feels right to you and leave the rest behind. Please be respectful to all our members so that the workshop can be a place of meaningful and respectful discussion for all our members. If you have a favorite quote from Natural Family Living, please share it.

We would like to invite everyone to join us no matter where you are in your thinking or feelings. These discussions are meant to be nonjudgmental so please keep in mind when reading members' responses that this is a true discussion based on Natural Family Living and not a place to debate or criticize. For more ideas and information, please see our Parenting or Ages and Stages and Family Safety.

We’re excited to offer this workshop and hope it will give our members a glimpse into the grassroots of Mothering magazine and Natural Family Living.

This workshop will be facilitated by Abimommy. They are here to guide the discussion and keep it on topic. They will occasionally post references or ask questions to keep the conversation flowing. Please feel free to contact them at any time with questions, suggestions or concerns. Please keep in mind our workshop guidelines and current user agreement at all times.

We are compiling a Natural Family Living Resources Sticky which we will update with each workshop. Please feel free to refer to it for more information.

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Old 05-05-2009, 02:28 AM
 
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It took a long time for me to get over the mama guilt I had with having a child who LOVES TV. I never thought I would have a child who would watch television. We don't even own a television - she watches all of her shows on my computer from DVDs we rent from the library. We started with using the television to help my toddler agree to brushing teeth when she was about a year old. Television may not be the most enriching activity for a toddler, but I figured it HAD to be better than holding her down and brushing her teeth. She still only starts watching TV when she brushes teeth (though now only if she asks), but she finishes a whole show (or two or three); some days she watches no tv. Some days she watches a couple of hours. We have decided to not limit how much television she watches. We want to help her learn to regulate her own television use - self-regulation is a very good skill and it was easier for me to let go of TV first than food. I make sure she has other options. Sometimes when I'm freaking out about how long she's been watching TV, I set up her painting supplies or bring out some books. If she chooses not to do whatever activity I've offered, it helps reassure me that she's choosing to watch a show because she's engaged in it and not out of boredom. Because she's two, I still have a lot of control over what she watches. Mostly it's Blues Clues and Signing Time. One book that really helped me pick developmentally appropriate shows was a book called Into the Minds of Babes, a book about toddlers and television. I really like checking the DVDs out through the library, since it makes it easy to skip any commercials that might be on the DVDs (and most do not have commercials/"pre-views"). I also sit with her the first time we watch any episode of a show. I think it helps her learn more when we have a discussion about what we are watching. Also, because my kiddo is only two, she only develops a liking for shows I introduce - she doesn't yet choose movies I haven't previously offered. If I'm watching a show with her and I think it's problematic for any reason, I just don't offer the movie again. In addition to making toothbrushing a lot easier, I do think that she actually has learned a lot of ASL vocabulary and her shapes, colors, letters, and numbers through her exposure to television - among probably other skills. Not that I think she wouldn't have learned those skills anyway, but I do think that as long as one has a realistic understanding of what television *can* teach toddlers, it can be used as a teaching tool - an inferior teaching tool to real life interaction, of course - but a teaching tool nonetheless.
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Old 05-05-2009, 04:59 PM
 
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Mama to 9 so far:Mother of Joey (20), Dominick (13), Abigail (11), Angelo (8), Mylee (6), Delainey (3), Colton (2) and Baby 8 and Baby 9 coming sometime in July 2013.   If evolution were true, mothers would have three arms!

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Old 05-06-2009, 04:45 AM
 
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Old 05-06-2009, 02:09 PM
 
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I'll be back to comment tonight.

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Old 05-09-2009, 01:39 PM
 
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I agree with boigrrrlwonder. TV can certainly be used appropriately as a learning tool.
I didn't get to watch much TV till I was a teenager, when my parents got a bit more lax about TV rules. As kids we got to watch loony toons, Disney movies, nature documentaries, and stuff like Reading Rainbow (best show ever! ). Basically my parents tried to limit our TV consumption to high quality, age-appropriate programs in very small amounts. We also never just turned on the TV because we were bored. We knew a program would be on at a certain time, turned the TV on then, and turned it off afterwards. Commercials were muted.
As a result I read A LOT as a kid and also played computer games (educational ones). I am also very much more sensitive to the environmental/mental effects of having a TV on all the time than my friends and DP who grew up with that. This makes it harder for me to concentrate on anything if the TV is on and also causes me to become more overwhelmed by too much going on in my environment. One could argue for or against being desensitized to TV stimuli but I tend to think it's better to remain sensitive to its effects. DP, who grew up with the TV on ALL THE TIME has major boredom issues that I don't have. Of course, this could be a personality thing too but I think becoming used to constant stimulation at a young age could certainly make it harder to be mentally and physically still, or to be active in entertaining yourself, not just waiting to be entertained.
I would hope to provide a similar environment for my kids as I had as a kid. At the moment, our TV is not working so we haven't watched it for over a year, using my laptop for movies and games. I hope not to use the TV at all anymore actually because it's so easy to just turn it on and stare at it for hours. Self-regulation is hard, even for adults, and even for adults who are used to TV like DP. TV just has this numbing, lethargizing effect for us and so for us (and for our kids I think) it's better to just avoid it altogether. If we don't use the TV, our children won't be introduced to the idea of it. I'd rather show select programs on the computer from as late of an age as I can manage to get away with.

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Old 05-13-2009, 03:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Like your DP my family always had the TV on when I was growing up and I find I have less tolerance for it now. I tend not to like a lot of background noise going on.

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Old 05-15-2009, 02:43 AM - Thread Starter
 
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One thing I have noticed lately is that is seems like there is a lot more inappropriate content in commercials.

I have seen a lot of commercials for scary movies, and it isn't even late.

I have also noticed a lot of vulgar commercials for male enhancement products.

This is not even mentioning the recent Burger King commercials

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Old 05-15-2009, 10:52 AM
 
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When My DD was a baby I was not anti TV. I was not into tons of TV and I was not going to introduce TV until she was 2. However, I really couldn't wait to show her sesame street and Mr. Rogers. I have fond memories of those shows and wanted to watch through new eyes.
Well I cheated a little and introduced SS around 18 or 19 mos and I saw an almost immediate change in my DD.
she was mesmerized in a scary way...she was not interacting and singing and enjoying (Frankly though to me there wasn't much to enjoy anymore as Sesame street had turned into nothing but an Elmo show. It was terrible. ) She was sucked in and her behavior changed. It really freaked me out so I ended the TV watching. Neither of my kids watches TV but we do movies now.
I am not really into letting them even watch as many as they do, (which is approximately 3x a week ) but I work at night and those are the nights my DH puts the movies in for them.
I still think DD gets affected by media but DS not at all (Or not that I notice) but I can't stop it all..try as I might
Also my DH is the poster child for product placement so if the kids are into a particular movie he gets so gung ho on getting them all the toys and crap that is out there...I have to reel him in because we don't have the money but sometimes he gets them on freecycle or "on sale" but he still loves buying all that stuff. At the moment my shower curtain is Lightening Mcqueen themed b/c it was on clearance when Linens and things went out of business

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Old 05-15-2009, 01:39 PM
 
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I love Youtube. My kids have seen Dr. Martin Luther king's speech. we play every eyar on MLK day (though they don't fully appreciate it I like the tradition of it)
We use Youtube a lot and i can choose a nice short video to either introduce a subject or show exactly what I mean when trying to to explain something..I often say, "Let's look it up on youtube"
The one downside to youtube is that without my guidance my kids could easily see something inappropriate..I have accidentally licked on videos that turned out NOT to be what I thought they were and had to exit very quickly.

I also like starfall and for better or worse I like Webkinz (Although the marketing strategy has me really irritated ; otherwise my kids really like them and my kids got some great typing skills using it.

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Old 05-16-2009, 12:10 AM
 
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I am sooo glad this topic was chosen.

My oldest is now 7 yrs old, and he mentions from time to time that his classmates are on MSN chat, or that so-and-so is playing XYZ on their Nintendo DS. DS1 is allowed to play computer games that he's found on www.agame.com. Prior to this, he was on a more educational website, uptoten.

We don't have a TV at home, and borrow DVDs or watch stuff about animals on YouTube with DS1. I do notice, to my chagrin, more and more kids toting around their Nintendo DS to restaurants to zone out and keep boredom at bay. Whatever happened to inventing games or reading a book?

I have two questions, first one: How have families with older kids managed in controlling time and access to the computer? We only have one, which DH and I need for e-mail correspondence and other volunteer projects.

Second question: I suspect school assignments will come into the picture in a year or two, requiring research--perhaps on the internet. How do you help your kids to become critical learners in evaluating the credibility of a website that they plan to use in a school project?

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Old 05-17-2009, 05:04 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I have two questions, first one: How have families with older kids managed in controlling time and access to the computer? We only have one, which DH and I need for e-mail correspondence and other volunteer projects.
I think this is a really interesting issue.

I think a lot of people are technologically naive in a way that can be really dangerous in some situations. Kids could not only have access to inappropriate content but no telling who they could be talking to.

I play a MMORPG with my sister occasionally and we are often startled by the things kids do or say on there.

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Second question: I suspect school assignments will come into the picture in a year or two, requiring research--perhaps on the internet. How do you help your kids to become critical learners in evaluating the credibility of a website that they plan to use in a school project?
I think that is something that they will gradually start to pick up on over time. One can discuss different articles and how they are addressed, if the articles seem to be pushing a certain "agenda" which might affect their credibility.

While there is an increase to using websites over printed materials going on, in my opinion the bias in websites is really MUCH more blatant than it often is in print materials, even those printed materials that are known to hold certain ideologies (I am referring to both sides of the spectrum here, not pointing fingers at all )

I do think recognizing propaganda is an important skill. But one has to read it to learn to recognize it.

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Old 05-17-2009, 05:08 AM - Thread Starter
 
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When My DD was a baby I was not anti TV. I was not into tons of TV and I was not going to introduce TV until she was 2. However, I really couldn't wait to show her sesame street and Mr. Rogers. I have fond memories of those shows and wanted to watch through new eyes.
Well I cheated a little and introduced SS around 18 or 19 mos and I saw an almost immediate change in my DD.
she was mesmerized in a scary way...she was not interacting and singing and enjoying (Frankly though to me there wasn't much to enjoy anymore as Sesame street had turned into nothing but an Elmo show. It was terrible. )
I have some of the old SS DVDs and Muppets DVDs, you could probably rent some from the library. I love those silly songs. Kids love the Elmo but it just doesn't engage them the same as it used to.

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Old 05-17-2009, 11:25 AM
 
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Thanks but she's 6.5 now I think we did watch some old ones on youtube when she was around 4 or so.

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Old 05-22-2009, 12:54 AM
 
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This is an awesome topic - something that DH and I talk about all the time. DD is almost 2 and we've managed to keep her nearly TV-free. DH and I don't watch TV, so it's never on at the house (except once a week during college football season - DH loves his team). The only time it's on at all is for DVDs, but that's after DD has gone to bed at night.

The hardest part about being TV-free - and keeping your child TV-free – is that virtually no one else sees the harm in letting a small child watch TV. It's hard when she goes over to a trusted relative's house for a few hours (or they come to ours) so DH and I go out. They almost always turn on the TV at some point and have her sit and watch something with them. Yes, it's only the Lawrence Welk Show or American Idol. But it still bothers me because they know we don't let her watch TV. I've really had to work hard to let it go, especially since it only happens once every couple of months.

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Old 05-25-2009, 11:18 PM - Thread Starter
 
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This is an awesome topic - something that DH and I talk about all the time. DD is almost 2 and we've managed to keep her nearly TV-free. DH and I don't watch TV, so it's never on at the house (except once a week during college football season - DH loves his team). The only time it's on at all is for DVDs, but that's after DD has gone to bed at night.

The hardest part about being TV-free - and keeping your child TV-free – is that virtually no one else sees the harm in letting a small child watch TV. It's hard when she goes over to a trusted relative's house for a few hours (or they come to ours) so DH and I go out. They almost always turn on the TV at some point and have her sit and watch something with them. Yes, it's only the Lawrence Welk Show or American Idol. But it still bothers me because they know we don't let her watch TV. I've really had to work hard to let it go, especially since it only happens once every couple of months.
That can be very difficult.

My own child was about 4 when she repeated the details of an extremely disturbing news story that involved a brutal murder.

When I was studying journalism we discussed desensitization pretty extensively and the effects it can have. I don't usually watch the news because much of it is sensationalist and violent.

I had a long discussion with my ILs to the effect that I would prefer the news not be on while she is in the room.

I think this is a situation in which one has to "pick their battles" Lawrence Welk might be ok, but I would very much object to the news or some of the other junk that is on TV.

I haven't seen American Idol? Does it have inappropriate content?

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Old 05-26-2009, 01:05 AM
 
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That can be very difficult.

My own child was about 4 when she repeated the details of an extremely disturbing news story that involved a brutal murder.
Oh, geez. That's the kind of thing I'm afraid of. DD is only 2 (almost) so I know she can't repeat what she's watching, but I worry about what she would absorb if she saw something like that. Fortunately, as far as I can tell, the family members who watch her haven't turned on the news when she's been in their care.

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I think this is a situation in which one has to "pick their battles" Lawrence Welk might be ok, but I would very much object to the news or some of the other junk that is on TV.

I haven't seen American Idol? Does it have inappropriate content?
You know, to be honest I can't honestly say what American Idol is like since I've never watched the show. We don't watch TV in our home, so I'm fairly tuned out from stuff like that. I'm fairly certain that it's harmless, though, once you get past the "let's insult the people who have no talent" portion of the show, which seems to be in the early weeks of the season.

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Old 05-26-2009, 11:54 AM
 
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You know, to be honest I can't honestly say what American Idol is like since I've never watched the show. We don't watch TV in our home, so I'm fairly tuned out from stuff like that. I'm fairly certain that it's harmless, though, once you get past the "let's insult the people who have no talent" portion of the show, which seems to be in the early weeks of the season.
But then there's the commercials throughout, even if the show is fine.

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Old 05-26-2009, 05:05 PM
 
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But then there's the commercials throughout, even if the show is fine.
You're so right. Not only do you have to worry about the appropriateness of what they're selling (ads for violent or sexual TV shows, etc.) but you have to combat the marketing angles.

Not allowing my daughter to watch TV isn't just about ensuring that she's not watching things that are too grown up for her, but I'm trying really hard to avoid all of the marketing ploys. Everything on TV is designed to make your child want to beg you to buy them something... whether it's the characters on the shows themselves or the toys, food and other products pushed in the commercial breaks.

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Old 05-26-2009, 11:13 PM
 
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Our kids don't watch TV/play video games/ use internet (they are 2 and 4 yrs).
Once in a while they watch sesame street at my MIL's house or a friends. I say ut doesn't bother me, but I wish they could just be interactong instead of watching TV.
We tried limiting TV but found it too easy to use it as a babysitter.
We do books on tape or let the kids play in the front yard (supervised) instead.
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Old 05-28-2009, 04:17 AM - Thread Starter
 
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There are some articles on the website about this issue.

http://www.mothering.com/articles/gr...rn_off_tv.html

http://www.mothering.com/articles/gr...ole_again.html

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The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children under the age of two not watch TV or videos, and that older children watch only one to two hours per day of nonviolent, educational TV. Young children watching TV are routinely described as transfixed, passive, and nonverbal. One of television's appeals for parents is that it serves as an immediate way to silence and sedate active toddlers. But such nonverbal absorption does more than simply relax and amuse preschoolers. Language spoken by actors on TV does not have the same effect as real-life language experiences. The Journal of Broadcasting reported that language skills among American children declined as TV viewing time increased.

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Old 05-29-2009, 03:53 AM
 
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Interesting. A few yrs ago I read the book, "Endangered Minds: Why Children Don't Think And What We Can Do About It" by Jane M. Healy

She speaks on the dangers TV has on growing brains. The most effected is their speech.
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Old 06-09-2009, 05:26 PM
 
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Campaign for a commercial free childhood ( http://www.commercialexploitation.org/ ) is an amazing resource - we use the DVR to make shows the kids want to watch commercial free. It makes them cognizant of what they WANT to watch, and it also allows us to zip right through every chuckee cheeze and cimbalta commercial they put out there. BLEH! My bigger concern is the internet right now. I have an almost 11 yr old who is fascinated with it, all her friends are on it constantly. Whether they make better choices than she does, or their parents are less concerned, I don't know. I have spoken to some who share my concern, but others don't seem bothered by possible or actual problems. The kids are not doing anything truly naughty, and nothing illegal, but it still feels like they are in deep water w/out knowing how to swim against the current. She has gone against my express direction and started her own email account (with the signature "sexy kitten"), and has figured out how to online chat w/people on google. She was getting a lot of spam in the account we set up together (which had parental controls on, so not sure if she figured out how to get the controls off or what - before I had a chance to figure it out, ...), soshe decided to set up a new account. She had to lie to get it set up w/out parental consent. She did this with a friend on a school computer. I have spoken to the school, and wil continue to be in contact with them, but it is much more out of my control than I'd like. I think it's getting better - the kids realize that they are jeopardizing their own freedom by abusing it, but it's a bunch of 4-5-6th graders! They hardly understand how much they put themselves at risk by using that kind of language (when I asked her what "sexy kitten" means to her she says it means she's cute. sigh), or by lying and getting in over their own heads. Her friend's mom also banned her from the puter (which is what I did as well) for the summer. It's a hard lesson. She's allowed to use things like typing tutor and creative arts programs we have on disc, but that's it. Anyone else dealing with this issue??? What are your guidelines? Do you have set rules for the whole family (time/age limits, etc.) or do you do it child by child? I am thinking that she will have to share my email until she's in high school, maybe 15? Hopefully by then she will have a much clearer understanding of how language and intention can be misread, misused, and misunderstood online. Don't we just know it! Any ideas would surely be appreciated!

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Old 06-10-2009, 12:32 AM
 
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I thought this Mothering article about social networking sites is helpful, too.

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Old 07-20-2009, 08:16 PM
 
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I HATE TV. DH LOVES it. Honestly, he just sit and watches the thing all the time. Funny, when I go to his parents house, his dad has the TV on ALL.THE.TIME. Drives me batty. I feel like it sucks the life force out of me.

However, I have tried to go into a different room when DH has the tv on and I feel like I am so isolated and away from him. And now with DS, I have gotten to the point that spending 45 minutes in his room while he nurses and falls asleep, wakes up when I move, and then we start over drives me bonkers. I found that if I sit in the living room with the lights out and the tv turned to a show on HGTV or Food network with low volume, he will fall asleep and STAY that way. Oh, boy. I do think though that it is because I am not stressed out. And it is in one of the cooler rooms in the house (we don't have air conditioning).

I have told DH absolutely, positively no news or forensic science dramas around DS (or me for that matter because I FREAK out when he is on business and I hear one little peep in the house). So at least the tv shows consist of how to decorate or cook.

We do watch Baby Einstein (and I am normally opposed to Disney, but I let this one go) and do the ones with sign language and sign with him. So, he has learned things this way and they shows are actually pretty good.

Now, DS has a fascination with garbage trucks after my nephews birthday (my sister got a garbage truck to show up) and now we have to watch videos of garbage trucks a LOT. I do not know what to think of this. I would rather him play outside, but we have been having a lot of heat waves and I don't want to sit outside in 95F heat. At 21 months, he is too young to go out alone

This is such a frustrating thing for me.....

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Old 07-26-2009, 11:38 AM
 
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It totally grosses me out when dh sits and watches TV w/the kids and calls that QUALITY TIME. BLEH! I call it ME time - as in, I put in a video for the kids so I can snag a break! He will watch shows that I don't think are very educational, either. Sometimes it's ok stuff - but gorry, sometimes it's stuff that I really think is scary for littles! Lots of stuff from the History channel, How it's Made, but also how to blow stuff up, dirty jobs (which is probably the least offensive of all the shows imho), and lots of sports.

I guess as far as babies are concerned. under 2's that is, I did let dd watch a few shows (teletubbies was her fave, it was on right after Mr. Rodgers), but only as a break for me, not because I thought it was doing her any harm. She was always up for doing something fun if I participated, so making something in the kitchen, play dough, painting etc. Using these as a lure were not enough on their own, but were enough if I did it with her. Social creatures...

Mama to B and O , wife to J and me to me! :
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Old 07-27-2009, 11:51 AM
 
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I am sooo glad this topic was chosen.

My oldest is now 7 yrs old, and he mentions from time to time that his classmates are on MSN chat, or that so-and-so is playing XYZ on their Nintendo DS. DS1 is allowed to play computer games that he's found on www.agame.com. Prior to this, he was on a more educational website, uptoten.

We don't have a TV at home, and borrow DVDs or watch stuff about animals on YouTube with DS1. I do notice, to my chagrin, more and more kids toting around their Nintendo DS to restaurants to zone out and keep boredom at bay. Whatever happened to inventing games or reading a book?

I have two questions, first one: How have families with older kids managed in controlling time and access to the computer? We only have one, which DH and I need for e-mail correspondence and other volunteer projects.

If you have Windows Vista or forward, there are built in parental controls. You could set up an account that is only for the children and block access to the one that you and your husband will use through the use of a password--if you need help, PM me, and I will be more than glad to walk you through how to set that up. The account can be set to block out certain content that you deem objectionable.

you could also get an account with AOL, if you desire your children to have access to cool things, such as homework help, which I found useful growing up, and games. You could set their screen names age appropriately.

Second question: I suspect school assignments will come into the picture in a year or two, requiring research--perhaps on the internet. How do you help your kids to become critical learners in evaluating the credibility of a website that they plan to use in a school project?

I'm an English major, and we have covered this topic at length. I had to take a corse specifically discussing how to determine if a resource was credible or not. This is what I've learned and can tell you today.

As far as accredible resources for research, you can be sure that any site ending in .edu is going to be educational. sometimes, in research projects, I use the Advanced Search tool that Google offers, as you can search for any sites you'd like and filter out those you do not. Also, teach your children to evaluate the credentials of the author writing the work that they will be citing in their research. What makes them qualified on the subject? Have they been cited by other authors? What is their reputation? A lot of this can be figured out through some simple Google searching. Of course, this will depend on the assignment. Wickie sites are not credible, and most schools will not allow their use, as the content can be edited and changed by anyone. also, sites that endorse selling certain products may not be a good resource because they would no doubt be bias. Sites like National Geographic, sites maintained by cultural organizations, and health sites would be good resources, depending on the nature of the project that is to be completed. I hope that I've helped.

I am married to my soul mate and best friend, and I am truly blessed.

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Old 07-27-2009, 11:59 AM
 
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As far as limiting TV goes, I’m not one for limiting activities for children, as it was not done to me growing up. One good thing about my parents is that they always let me regulate what I wanted to do and be a free spirit, finding contentment in the things I enjoyed. I was not one to watch TV much, as I could go months without watching. I was more of a book worm. Rather than trying to get me to do other things because my parents felt I was doing too much reading and nothing else, they would just engage in it with me and buy whatever books I wanted. To this day, I’m still a book worm, and I seldom watch TV, accept if there is going to be something on that is worth watching. I'm a fan of allowing the children to do what they feel is fun to them and allowing them to spend as much time as they'd like doing it, as that is what my parents did to me.

I won’t have to worry about children spending too much time in front of the TV, as I will plan activities that will provide some form of education to them, yet will be a whole lot of fun. For instance, we will go to the library at toddler age so they can pick out picture books of their choosing to help cultivate the love of reading in them. We will also read together at bedtime. I believe in doing this from infancy, as young as a newborn, as it will make the children smarter. I will also engage them in interesting conversation about different things, and we will go on fun outings to expose them to new things. Such as if I were to teach them about Native American culture, I’d take them to a place they can experience it physically to make everything real to them. So, too much TV will not be a problem because we will always be doing other things together, and I can rest assured that they are getting exposure to many new and different things, as well as learning to use their imaginations and growing in knowledge.

Wholesome Content vs. Unwholesome Content

When I watch children, and when I have my own, I have very strict guidelines as to what will be viewed in my home. This is largely due to my wanting to live my life in line with the Scriptures as best as possible, as they dictate how I handle myself and how I deal with children. Because I myself do not want to watch profane and violent material—just because I’m an adult does not mean that I will watch adult content, as I feel it is degrading and useless—any child in my home will not watch it also. If they are allowed to do it at home, then that is fair; but in my home, it will not happen. Of course, I have discussions with the parents what I will and will not allow to go on in my home, and then the parents can make an informed decision as to whether or not they want their children to stay with me. However, my friends pretty much all believe the same thing with some differences, and we find some sort of compromise if the differences are not too huge. Here is one example.

There are some cartoons that I will not allow my children to watch, but one of my friends sees no problem letting her child watch them. These are the cartoons that have magic in them. I would not allow my own children to watch them because they are not in line with the Bible—the way I want to raise my children. However, I respect that my friend is doing things slightly differently. We came to an agreement that if her child feels the need to watch those cartoons, she can go into my room and shut the door and watch them and bring along whomever else is allowed by their parents to watch; however, my children would have something different to do or watch, so they’d not feel left out. I felt that this was a reasonable compromise.

In order to know if a show is objectionable or not, I will watch it by myself first before allowing the children to watch it. I can also look up things on the net to see if other parents view the material to be problematic. Watching it first is always best, as I can see if it is against my standards.

Also, when it comes to profane content, I could block it on my TV, so the children will not feel the need to sneak and watch them and scratch their curious itch, so to speak. I will admit that when I was a child, I did sneak and watch porn because we could get HBO and Show Time. My friends, my brother, and I would do it late at night after my parents went to bed. To prevent that from going on in my house, I will block anything that I feel is not in line with the Scriptures—even talk show trash on regular TV. I even block things now, though, I have no children because I do not want to even ACCIDENTLY see that filth myself.

If a child has a question about something objectionable, I have no qualms about sitting down and talking to them openly about it. I personally do not feel that it is right to deny them an explanation if they want to know. Sure, the topic may be uncomfortable at best, but they asked the questions and have a right to know. If they want to know about babies and where they came from, I’ll tell the truth. If they want to know why they cannot watch a certain program, I tell them the truth, even if it is touchy. Of course, when it comes to other’s children, I’m going to ask the parents how open I could be with them before having a discussion, as some parents want to teach certain values. In cases that parents are not cool with me being open, I’ll just give a concrete explanation and tell them to talk to their parents for the rest. But with my own children, I’m going to be open all the way. My feeling is that if you hide everything from them, they will want to explore it all the more and find other ways to do it, too.

As far as internet goes, I have had many a children on my accounts with screen names. AOL has parental controls, as well as age appropriate screen name settings. For instance, there is Kids only, for children under twelve, which is very restrictive, and you could opt to have a daily report of your child’s activity mailed to you. Then, there is the young teen, where you can still keep tabs on your children via reporting and restrict access to content you do not want them to see; and then, there is the mature teen, which gives them access to pretty much everything with a few exceptions. Of course, that will be up to you what you determine to do with your child’s internet access.

Windows Vista, and even Windows 7, has features that will allow you to set up individual accounts for your children that can be set to allow or deny access to whatever is set, as Windows operating systems, Vista and forward, have built in parental controls. When I have children, I see no problem in allowing them each to have their own laptops, since I’m a self taught computer technician and see the value in technology, but until they can show that they will exercise restraint in visiting objectionable sites, I will have an account created that only they can access, and the administrator account will be blocked, so they cannot access it and change the settings. But, if they turn out anything like me and can figure out how to crack through things, then that is another issue for another day. Of course, they could always lose privileges to the laptop if they do not use it correctly. And the same would go for the TV as well. If I catch them watching an objectionable program, because they figured out how to get around the block, then they lose privileges to the TV for a week or two. These are natural and logical consequences that I’d enforce during these times.

This is how I’d handle matters.

I am married to my soul mate and best friend, and I am truly blessed.

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Old 08-11-2009, 03:28 AM
 
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As far as limiting TV goes, I’m not one for limiting activities for children, as it was not done to me growing up. One good thing about my parents is that they always let me regulate what I wanted to do and be a free spirit, finding contentment in the things I enjoyed. I was not one to watch TV much, as I could go months without watching. I was more of a book worm. Rather than trying to get me to do other things because my parents felt I was doing too much reading and nothing else, they would just engage in it with me and buy whatever books I wanted. To this day, I’m still a book worm, and I seldom watch TV, accept if there is going to be something on that is worth watching. I'm a fan of allowing the children to do what they feel is fun to them and allowing them to spend as much time as they'd like doing it, as that is what my parents did to me.

I won’t have to worry about children spending too much time in front of the TV, as I will plan activities that will provide some form of education to them, yet will be a whole lot of fun. For instance, we will go to the library at toddler age so they can pick out picture books of their choosing to help cultivate the love of reading in them. We will also read together at bedtime. I believe in doing this from infancy, as young as a newborn, as it will make the children smarter. I will also engage them in interesting conversation about different things, and we will go on fun outings to expose them to new things. Such as if I were to teach them about Native American culture, I’d take them to a place they can experience it physically to make everything real to them. So, too much TV will not be a problem because we will always be doing other things together, and I can rest assured that they are getting exposure to many new and different things, as well as learning to use their imaginations and growing in knowledge.

Wholesome Content vs. Unwholesome Content

When I watch children, and when I have my own, I have very strict guidelines as to what will be viewed in my home. This is largely due to my wanting to live my life in line with the Scriptures as best as possible, as they dictate how I handle myself and how I deal with children. Because I myself do not want to watch profane and violent material—just because I’m an adult does not mean that I will watch adult content, as I feel it is degrading and useless—any child in my home will not watch it also. If they are allowed to do it at home, then that is fair; but in my home, it will not happen. Of course, I have discussions with the parents what I will and will not allow to go on in my home, and then the parents can make an informed decision as to whether or not they want their children to stay with me. However, my friends pretty much all believe the same thing with some differences, and we find some sort of compromise if the differences are not too huge. Here is one example.

There are some cartoons that I will not allow my children to watch, but one of my friends sees no problem letting her child watch them. These are the cartoons that have magic in them. I would not allow my own children to watch them because they are not in line with the Bible—the way I want to raise my children. However, I respect that my friend is doing things slightly differently. We came to an agreement that if her child feels the need to watch those cartoons, she can go into my room and shut the door and watch them and bring along whomever else is allowed by their parents to watch; however, my children would have something different to do or watch, so they’d not feel left out. I felt that this was a reasonable compromise.

In order to know if a show is objectionable or not, I will watch it by myself first before allowing the children to watch it. I can also look up things on the net to see if other parents view the material to be problematic. Watching it first is always best, as I can see if it is against my standards.

Also, when it comes to profane content, I could block it on my TV, so the children will not feel the need to sneak and watch them and scratch their curious itch, so to speak. I will admit that when I was a child, I did sneak and watch porn because we could get HBO and Show Time. My friends, my brother, and I would do it late at night after my parents went to bed. To prevent that from going on in my house, I will block anything that I feel is not in line with the Scriptures—even talk show trash on regular TV. I even block things now, though, I have no children because I do not want to even ACCIDENTLY see that filth myself.

If a child has a question about something objectionable, I have no qualms about sitting down and talking to them openly about it. I personally do not feel that it is right to deny them an explanation if they want to know. Sure, the topic may be uncomfortable at best, but they asked the questions and have a right to know. If they want to know about babies and where they came from, I’ll tell the truth. If they want to know why they cannot watch a certain program, I tell them the truth, even if it is touchy. Of course, when it comes to other’s children, I’m going to ask the parents how open I could be with them before having a discussion, as some parents want to teach certain values. In cases that parents are not cool with me being open, I’ll just give a concrete explanation and tell them to talk to their parents for the rest. But with my own children, I’m going to be open all the way. My feeling is that if you hide everything from them, they will want to explore it all the more and find other ways to do it, too.
But you ARE limiting their TV. You make that very clear in your entire post. Here, hold on, while I bold a bit... Ok, see?

Also you are assuming your child will enjoy reading, as you do. And your idea is to push the reading pretty firmly. I'll underline these lines... see that? That's NOT giving them the freedom to "be a free spirit, finding contentment in the things they enjoy".

And as a present mother of four actual children, ages nearly 12 down to 9.5 months. I can assure you they all come out differently, despite your best laid plans. I have a book worm. And I have one who hates to read. And none of them can self-regulate television at all. Especially the pre-schooler. We don't even have the tele hooked up to anything, it's just for movies, both educational and entertaining. We get out a lot. We are active people. We even live on a homestead. My kids have many varied interests, and are always busy with something. Yet, if allowed, they will melt into puddles in front of the tube.

I think you're going to be a bit startled when you have children.
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Old 09-19-2009, 06:07 PM
 
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I grew up in a house with a TV thanks to my dad (my mom absolutely hates TV with a passion). We were allowed to watch cartoons on Saturday morning, but other than that didn't watch much TV during the week (of course, we only got two channels - CBS & NBC, so it wasn't like there was much on!!). We lived for saturday morning cartoons. LIVED for them. But they just weren't available otherwise, so we were just fine.

We got a computer when I was 9 or 10 and the internet about a year later, and were always allowed free reign, w/o mom & dad looking over our shoulders. We learned SO MUCH about computers because we weren't restricted - I don't know how many hours I spent on the phone with gateway 2000's tech support - getting passed up the line from the idiot who hasn't a clue, to the guy who knows all about computers and just keeps trying stuff 'do this. whats it say? ok, try this... try that,' till we/he finally figured it out. And then they'd send us a new sound card or video card or motherboard or cd-drive, or whatever it was that was broken and we'd call them back up and they'd walk us through installing it. I learned to type by playing MUDS (the precursors to todays MMORPGs, all text), taught myself HTML to build websites FOR MUDs, and screwed up more linux & windows installations trying to get linux installed and working than I'd care to admit, all with the goal of learning to 'code' MUDs. I learned a little C along the way, but have never quite got it down. Programming computers is something I'd still love to learn. But, I now run Ubuntu linux exclusively and have for the past 3 years, and can't imagine ever going back to dealing with all the spam, malware, spyware & virus' of windows (or even mac).

And yeah, I did some stupid things online, and blessedly never got hurt, but then again, so do 95% of kids who get online. I downloaded MP3s off of napster, and computer games off of warez sites, and saw lots of nasty porn in the process. But really, you learn to ignore that and move on. Yes the web can be dangerous, but man, LIFES dangerous. My DS1's only 2.5 but I don't see me ever putting parental controls on his computer, or telling him he can only go to sites X, Y, and Z. IMO that would only serve to make him more likely to search out ways around it and not be honest with me. I'd rather he run into wierd/scary/dangerous stuff and tell me about it so we can chat than try and hide it and not talk about it, yk?

As for TV... well, we have one, and we have DISH network, and DS1 watches some TV. Mostly PBS & movies, but occasionally a bit of Nogin will slip in there too. I don't think TV is a great thing, but I also just don't think its the worst thing in the world. And if I *need* to get something done (say, dinner), then I might just flip it on and let him watch a little while I get whatever it is I need to get done and then we can go back to playing or go outside and go for a walk or whatever. I'm not going to sit him infront of the TV all day everyday, but I don't think its like THE ultimate evil thing, like some people (my mother for example).
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