Monday, April 19, 2010

To watch or not to watch...the TV discussion

This is totally debatable & I'm interested in hearing different opinions of moms who have been there. It's so funny that I'm so interested in this because I'm such a major TV watcher! Lewis and I have always been of the opinion that our children will not watch TV until they are 2 years old. I want lots more reading, crafts, games, etc. Even when they are 2, TV will be limited to probably two shows per day. And this doesn't include movies. We want to have family movie nights and things like that. We are still following this plan as of right now, but have heard lots of different opinions and would like to get some insight from others. I've broken down some pro and con arguments I have thought of myself or have heard from others. I'm looking for comments or additional insight! Keep in mind that for me, these are arguments for or against TV under the age of 2. I'm ok with TV for my kids after the age of 2. I think educational programs are really beneficial for them at this point (within limits) and can help teach them lots of social and educational things.

Arguments AGAINST TV
  • Could contribute to ADD by conditioning children to be constantly entertained & stimulated
  • Children learn by actively participating in their environment - TV encourages passivity
  • Activities like drawing, painting, reading, etc. are much more beneficial for mental and emotional growth
  • TV limits social interaction between the family - not completely, but much more so than other activities like games and reading that encourage interacting with each other

Arguments FOR TV
  • There are educational programs and children's TV stations that have great information for children (QUESTION: how beneficial are they for children under the age of 2)
  • There are programs like Baby Einstein and Your Baby Can Read that are geared specifically for children under the age of 2
  • It gives the mom a break by entertaining the baby for a little while
  • It is easier to prevent the first baby from watching TV, but it is almost impossible to keep the 2nd baby from watching TV if the first one is older and watching it


Jennifer said...

well i don't have kids (yet) but we have talked about this a lot. I'm a MAJOR fan of baby Einstein and a lot of their music ones are geared more towards the younger ones. At that age i feel like they are really listening more than watching when it is more musical. I'm even more of MAJOR fan of praise baby. It's a lot of praise and worship music along with bible verses with random visual learning cues for younger children to help with sight. I'm like you, my child will not just sit in front of the t.v. all day. I wouldn't really let them watch anything but these 2 things until they are over the age of 2 and it would still be limited. Maybe 30 minutes a day so that i could do something like take a shower or do some laundry... but that would be it. I feel like 30 minutes (or less) would really be all that a child under 2 would be interested in for that long anyway.

My nephew who is a couple of weeks older than Isis is obsessed with tv. I guess his parents watch it a lot and they play a lot of videogames and he just sits there totally enthralled by it which drives me NUTS!! I also babysat 2 boys who would literally watch tv all day and would not do anything else. They hated going outside... all they wanted to do was watch tv or play videogames... and these kids were 4 and 2.... that will NOT be what my children will be doing at that age :)

fozbaca said...

Not a mom, just a dad and uncle speaking.

I bought several of the
Baby Einstein DVDs for my nieces, now 3 & 4, but don't plan on letting Tilda, now 4 months old, watch them. Don't have the links handy but there are several studies that which concluded Baby Einstein provided no intellectual or mental benefit and possibly caused harm. Turns out that there was no science behind the videos other than the creator doing what her own kids like watching. Past the Baby Einstein videos there is some research to discourage video watching before 2, don't remember the specific reasons.

Mostly directly at 6 and up there is some research that suggests any non physical activity should be classifies equally. In other words watching TV is the same as reading or sitting and painting. Think of it this way what is better about reading escapist books vs. watching escapist TV?

adriel, from the mommyhood memos said...

great topic of discussion cameron! though baby einstein (and others like it) are marketed as educational for babies... there's actually studies showing that letting your kids what tv under age 2 hinders their speech and language development!! (i would think these kids eventually get there, but they are slower to develop in speech/language than kids who are held off from tv in those first two years.) in saying that, i can totally understand how some parents could really benefit from using something like that to get a few minutes space to themselves - especially single moms or army wives. so, to each her own! as always, it's probably an issue of moderation, right?!! by the way, love your blog! lots of the "mommy blogs" i'm seeing are not ones that i'd really want to visit back to much... but i like yours a lot! :) good stuff my friend. xx

Cameron said...

Thanks for your comment Adriel!! I feel the same about your blog!

And I agree about the Baby Einstein. We are still of the mindset that we won't have her watch tv until she is 2. My concern is, like I said above - how do you do this with the 2nd child? Because when that one comes along, Isis will be watching tv (although still limited tv time). I feel like it'll be difficult to keep the new one from watching! Oh well, that's a little ways away!

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