Thursday, November 5, 2009

Kill Your Television?

I am not the hugest fan of TV. I absolutely hate ads, which makes me LOVE the invention of DVRs. I barely ever watch live tv now because I can't fast forward through the commercials. But I'm also not totally against tv. I like a lot of tv shows, I like finding stupid movies to watch on tv, I like completely vegging out not moving a muscle while watching tv. I really never thought too much about it one way or another before having kids, but now it's like this huge thing I see everywhere about kids and tv.

Ingrid watches tv. She's 1 1/2 and likes Yo Gabba Gabba and Charlie and Lola. She is in the room when we watch shows not geared toward kids. She knows how to point the remote at the tv and push the button. Does this make me a bad mom? Is this going to make her obese and stupid?

I have a friend that teaches at a Waldorf school and she doesn't think kids should watch tv at all because they need to use their imaginations and read and play. I agree with that, and a family I used to nanny for limited their sons' tv watching a lot and those boys always were making up games and being really imaginative and loved to read.

But then I used to nanny for another family that had a 12 year old boy that watched tv as much as he wanted, and he also was able to be imaginative and devour books in one sitting. He even wrote a book over the course of a school year. So is tv really that bad?

I guess I see the point that if kids aren't sitting there in front of a tv they will be doing something else. And if tv isn't an option, then books or play will be. But I believe for most things moderation is key. Ingrid watched a lot of tv this past week because she was sick and honestly, it kept her attention away from crying when I stepped out of the room to switch a load of laundry or go to the bathroom. But the tv she watches is always dvds with no commercials or on NickJr where they don't have commercials. I care more about that than anything else.

It was just brought to my attention yesterday how much we worry as parents about everything when a friend said she was a bad mom for letting her kid watch a half hour of tv. And I used to feel that way, too, like oh no, I really shouldn't be letting her do this! But at some point I said screw it, she's a smart kid and she loves books and she talks up a storm--I doubt watching Yo Gabba Gabba is going to ruin all that. And then I thought my husband grew up with the tv on nonstop (his parents still always have the damn thing on!) and he has his phd in chemistry!

I don't know, am I missing something? Am I overlooking something that IS really bad about tv?


sunnymama said...

Trying to comment on this post while sunnyboy is needed my assistance to fix our dodgy dvd player! Wanted to say we love TV/dvds too! Like books, TV can be a wonderful learning tool. Sunnyboy never just passively watches and also will happily choose to turn of the TV and do other things. Interestingly it is our young TV-free Waldorf friends who come round and become obsessed with staring at the television, much to their parents annoyance.

Mommy, Papa and the 'Nuts said...

I agree when you say moderation is key. I like to take the middle road and let them be exposed to a little bit of everything. My kids LOVE books and would choose them over TV...some days; some days a kid has just got to watch some Wow Wow Wubbzy. Geez, I feel the same way. I love a stack of books in bed, but a cheesy 80's flick sure sounds good too.

Everyone I know that takes things away completely makes that child go for it obsessively. NO candy...kid is fat and crazy for it. No TV, kid loves it.

Whatever works for you guys but I think since you pay attention to it, she's not going to turn out obese and lazy :)

MaryAnne said...

I was raised in a no-TV household but allow my kids to watch TV in part to avoid the television obsession sunnymama mentions sunnyboy's no-TV friends having. I remember going to grandparents' houses and wanting to only watch TV because of the novelty, where if it hadn't been such a rarity I would have spent time playing. Emma watched more television before she had siblings - if you're the parent of an only child, it's the only way you get a break sometimes! Johnny hasn't watched nearly as much, and partially as a result he doesn't have anywhere near Emma's sign language vocabulary (which she acquired by watching signing time DVDs). I think the only concern is if you plant your kids in front of the TV ALL the time, and it's obvious from your blog that you don't do that with Ingrid!

heather said...

everything in moderation!!! i watched tv as a kid and grew up to be an adult that creates more than i watch tv.