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To TV or not TV, that is the question. . .

  1. #1
    HKfornow is offline Registered User
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    Post To TV or not TV, that is the question. . .

    So my toddler is almost 3.5, and I have to admit there are days that I would love nothing than to plop him in front of the TV, to watch TV or DVD, etc. or in front of the computer so I can get some time to myself! However, my guilt gets in the way (#%@#*) as I really don't want the TV to babysit for me.

    Lots of people have been encouraging me to loosen up and let my son watch more TV with a rationale that it will help improve his speaking ability. They also say TV is better for the eyes than computer since computer requires being close to the screen.

    How do you moms weight in? Do you let your kids watch TV, play on the computer? IF so for how long?

  2. #2
    carang's Avatar
    carang is offline Registered User
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    i don't have a problem with tv so long as you vet what they watch.

    my 19 month old LOVES barney (YIKES!), out of the box and elmo...

    do you watch tv yourself? we seem to always have it on. so, that just continued after my son arrived. it doesn't mean that i'm not a good mother or that i let the tv "babysit" for me.

    i must say though, that since i'm expecting my next little one, it's been great that he can play by himslef or we can sit together to watch something, especially when i didn't have the energy to do anything other than puke!

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    Sleuth is offline Registered User
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    Most of the warnings that have been coming out of the US are for TV watching under the age of 2, which they are deciding is a bad idea, even if it is "educational". 3.5 is probably safely out of that range, but I agree with Carang and you need to watch what they watch. And I wouldn't allow a lot of it.
    Can't believe TV improves speaking. Seems to me that if you were to make a list of the all-time greatest orators you wouldn't include many that were born and raised during the TV era.

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    JennyB is offline Registered User
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    The drawbacks are too numerous to mention. You could be doing something more active that encourages your child's development. TV is passive and is NOT supposed to help with speech development; you need face-to-face talking for that. TV can overstimulate kids and make quiet play (or school work) seem boring by comparison; the same for computer games esp if they are designed for children older than yours.

    But what to do about it? I try to ration my 3yo daughter's TV viewing to half an hour a day. But the trouble then is that it becomes a special treat and she might be more of a TV addict than someone who is allowed unlimited TV! For instance, I grew up in a house where the TV was always on, which I have reacted against and now I only put the TV on when there is something particular I want to watch. My husband, on the other hand, grew up in a house where the TV was usually off, but he now is the one who always wants the TV on!

    One thing I do find though is that videos and DVDs are easier to manage than TV. The Playhouse Disney channel has some fantastic programmes for kids but the adverts (for their own programmes) are too much of a bombardment of images for my liking, and they are always displaying what is coming next which makes turning it off cause more distress!

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    Sleuth is offline Registered User
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    Agreed. I thought about getting up on my anti-TV soapbox, but didn't. It didn't seem as if HKfornow was going to allow hours of TV watching. However, since you've opened the door--
    Kids should be out experiencing the actual world, not a 2 dimensional facsimile. People are now starting to look at too much TV at too early an age as a possible autism cause (apparently autism really took off in the 1980s which is about the same time early age TV viewing took off; something about TV effecting the way the brain hardwires itself when being stimulated).
    Plus, here in the US people tend to go overboard with TV--a set in every room, including the room of the toddler and they are on constantly. Here's an ironic story--there was an episode of The Simpsons where Bart was banned from watching TV. He then told himself that it didn't matter because no TV could compete with the imagination of a young boy. He then summoned up some imagination, which quickly collapsed on itself and died because Bart watches too much TV and doesn't have an imagination since everything is supplied to him by the TV.
    Also, most kids who watch a lot of TV end up rather large. Childhood obesity is now a "big" thing here.
    Finally, and then off the soap box for now, I read the other day that young children should be exposed to two things in order to develop and expand their minds--reading and travel. Works for me.

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    noella is offline Registered User
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    There is no harm at all if you need some time to yourself to put the tv on!!!!!!
    My eldest never watched TV as a youngster as I busied her with many other things, now I find that she finds it difficult to entertain herself. My middle one was a real tv addict but is the best at taking herself off into her room and playing!!! I agree with the comment above about not allowing tv now makes it more tempting at a later age. My eldest daughter has a couple of friends who are limited to how much tv they watch so all they want to do when they come to our house is put the tv on, making a very dull playdate for my daughter!

  7. #7
    rani's Avatar
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    Reminds me of a girl that I met in college. Her parents didn't let her watch TV as a kid. Plus she was slightly overweight and sweets were a no-no. She spent all her free time in the common room, glued to the TV with a bowl of ice-cream or chocolate.
    Last edited by rani; 09-19-2006 at 08:53 AM.
    Founder of GeoBaby.Com

  8. #8
    loupou is offline Baby Guru
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    Ah.... I remember the first time my dd sat down and watched a whole video by herself. She was about 2 and it was "The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh". HEAVEN.

    Just like almost anything - I think "a little of what you fancy does you good". The emphasis should be on the "little".

    When my kids were young (3-5) they liked Teletubbies, Tweenies, Rosie & Jim, and videos about animals (National Geographic, etc.). They are now 8 & 10 and usually cannot watch TV on week-days (execpt the evening news when DH & I watch). On the weekends they are allowed to watch some cartoons and videos. We also subscribe to "Animal Planet" on cable.


    They both love to read and play imaginative games. Sometimes their make-believe games are "inspired by" movies they have seen.

    The trick is to use the TV thougtfully.

    One good rule of thumb is to also turn it off between shows. So they get the idea that shows or videos are separate, and that it is not "talking wall paper".

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