Saturday, April 22, 2006

TV Broken

There has, of late, been a lot of talk about the issue children and television viewing. At our house, and in the life of our 19 month old, TV is still a non-issue. Our process has been as follows:

0 to 3 months
baby gets lots of ambient TV rays while mother does lots of feedings.
3 to 6 months
Little eyes now look to the TV and this freaks mother out. No more TV.
6 to 12 months
Wimbledon on and father off work. The child watches some TV but that's it, really! Daddy, unplug that TV. Shrink wrap remains on Elmopolooza video.
12 to 15 months
Child starts daycare, they have TV time, oh god the Wiggles! Mother scoffs to no avail. Still, the rule at home is no TV. Child learns to say "TV Broken?", Mother and Dad reply, "Yep"
15 months on
Child does not care about TV.

But who cares about how we don't watch TV with Miss Fancy? The controversy seems to reside in why people don't. Why don't we watch TV as the Wo family? Is it ..... ?:

Our concern over the negative aspects of media and the commodification of society represented by TV? Nope, sorry we're quite too pedestrian for that.

Because we are not cable subscribers and are, in fact, really grounded earth lovers who read only highbrow literature published on recycled paper? Wrong again. Our courtship was studded with a range of programs that have proved core to our relationship. Sad isn't it. We actually like TV.

Pediatrics Societies do not recommend television for children younger than two years of age (some individual doctors will stretch the cautions to age four). Not really. We aren't serious parenting researchers and only picked up this factoid after we had 'broken' the TV at our house.

So why don't we? Well, to be honest, we don't have time.

I listen to all the acrimonious arguing (and all the friendly arguing) about little guys and the TV and don't get it. I look at our days and simply cannot see where the TV would fit. P-man and I watch it at night while our daughter sleeps. During the day I only have enough energy to live our lives of work, housework, food prep and transportation as necessary; interspersed with traditional children's distractions, puppets n' books n' buckets n' balls. You get the idea.

Unlike p-man I hate having the TV just on; it bugs me no end. I have recently come out as someone raised in a house where the TV played a pretty inconsequential role. My Mom would tolerate Sesame Street but she hated a dozen other children's programs. She thought they were dumb and a waste of time - go outside already! We never cultivated program loyalty in our home so maybe that's another reason: I don't care.

Yep, at the Wo house there is no TV for baby e. because we are too busy and we don't care about what's on. We obviously have never mastered quality television and instead we only deploy this entertainment medium at the end of a day when all aspects of our basic needs have been met and time then remains to waste. There is precious little of this sort of time.


Blogger Granny said...

Ray will watch the test pattern (if there still is such a thing). I manage to tune most of it out.

9:32 p.m.  
Blogger Sandra said...

I'm not a TV person either and as a result my 4 year old isn't into it either. He is a bit obsessed with the computer though. He almost never watches it - not because I am strict or preach the ills of the cathode ray tube -just because it hasn't really been a big deal in our house.

That having been said, I do have to admit to a 6 month period when he was 2 that the Wiggles obession just about killed me. Thank god that's over!

1:32 a.m.  
Blogger nonlineargirl said...

We have a similar tv set up. Ada occasionally gets to see sports when her dad wants to watch, plus I use it when I want to clip her fingernails. (She seems more entranced by the remote than the actual television.) Since she's less than 10 months, we haven't gotten into what other kids watch. I used to be obsessed with TV (was limited to 1 hr/day as a child) but now never know when anything I might want to see is on.

9:06 a.m.  
Blogger Mary P. said...

I'm with you: who has time for television during a day with very young children? Our television is in the basement - an unfinished cavern into which the daycare children do not venture.

For children under three or so, I do think it's an inferior way to spend time. There are so many better things to be doing with that time! Having said that, I hereby admit that my eldest, at the age of barely three, watched Cinderella (Cinderella, I ask you...) every single day of my last trimester with her brother, so I could catch a blessed 75-minute semi-nap on the couch behind her... It does have its uses!

Now, my kids watch some, my 12-year-old more than her 17-year-old brother, but not more than a couple shows a week. (The 20-year-old lives away at university. No idea what her habits are.) This moderation is not because of any restriction I'm putting on now (though I did when they were younger) but just because it's not something we do much.

As for myself? I think the last time I watched television can't remember...

Hee. What counter-cultural rebels we all are!

2:11 p.m.  
Blogger the stefanie formerly known as stefanierj said...

I'm the opposite--I'll confess to trying to get D interested in TV for the occasional break-factor--and because I LOOOVED Sesame Street growing up. But he hates it. So I'm a no-TV mom by accident!

12:36 p.m.  
Blogger L. said...

I am a TV mom. The TV is my pal. If the kids don`t turn it on themselves, I switch it on for them.

If it weren`t for TV, I don`t think my older kids would speak/understand English fluently, or perhaps even at all.

3:04 p.m.  
Blogger Chicky Chicky Baby said...

I wish I could take the high road and say that TV has no place in my life, but that would be a flat out lie. On certain days there's nothing like a hokey morning talk show host to make me feel like I'm still part of the world. Sad, I know.

4:42 p.m.  
Blogger Mamacita Tina said...

I love TV but never have time. I let my little guy watch some when I'm trying to get dinner together. He also gets a TV splurge at the grandparents. I don't know if limiting has helped, he's obsessed with it and always asks for it even though we constantly/consistently say no and distract him with other play.

4:38 p.m.  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

Not much TV 'round our house. Who has time? Husband and I do get into the DVD sets, tho', after WonderBaby retires for the evening...

And the idea of WB being fixed to the tube just creeps me out a little. I won't be above sticking her in front of something inoffensive on the screen in the future, when I need to catch a breath, but it will hopefully remain only a now and then thing...

5:49 p.m.  
Blogger kittenpie said...

I grew up without TV, so I find that for myself, I'll watch it if it's there, but there were lots of years where we didn't have one, and I didn't miss it because it just wasn't there.

For pumpkinpie, we watch a bit in the mornings on the weekend, when we want to sit around and wake up slowly for a while, and sometimes on my late days when I'm getting dressed, I'll put on something. I would say she gets less than 2 hours total a week, and jsut a few shows that I like. She is somewhat obssessed with Bob the Builder, which I think is okay, so we have a few DVDs that will be the choice is nothing else I deem decent is available.

12:50 p.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The issue is one of gender: if both the ladies in this house watch tv I will never get to watch boxing.

2:29 p.m.  

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