Sunday, August 8, 2010

How Much Is Too Much?

TV

It's always been a hot topic in my life.

It started back when I lived at home. I was probably about 9 or 10 when Mom and Dad threw out the TV. I mean they didn't literally throw it out, but they got rid of our cable and the only thing we watched were VCR tapes. That's how I spent the rest of my years at home. No TV, just movies and even those were very few.

When I got older and was away from home, I was of course fascinated with TV because I had no memories of watching it while I was a kid. I don't have any favorite cartoons or shows that I remember watching as a child. I didn't watch any of the popular sitcoms for that time, or any of the teen drama shows that were all the rage. I wouldn't say that I became addicted to TV, but I certainly enjoyed watching my share of it once I was out on my own and had my own control over the issue. (Mom and Dad have had regular TV back for quite some time now by the way.)

TV has been an issue in my marriage as well. TV and computer for that matter. Ross will completely zone out in front of the TV and I can lose track of time and hours will go by with me sitting in front of the computer. It makes it a challenge to communicate when all you do is stare and the bright, screen and fill your mind with mostly useless entertainment. Occasionally you may find some educational things on TV, but for a lot of folks, it's mindless entertainment, or a noise maker, something constantly going in the background because heaven forbid, you actually are quiet enough to hear your own thoughts.

Now that we have children, the issue is raring it's ugly head again. When Alexis was a baby, we never turned on cartoons for her or anything like that. We may have tried once or twice and she showed no interest in it whatsoever. Somewhere around 18 months - 2 years, we tried Elmo movies and she fell in love! We have about 5 or 6 different ones and she watches them over and over and over again. Next it was Sesame Street, then we added, My Friends Tigger and Pooh. Now we're onto Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. I don't mind that she watches any of those shows, but if we let her, she would watch TV all day long. I don't like that one single bit.....

Isabel shows a lot of interest in the TV as well, unlike Alexis at that age, but we never played any children's programs for Alexis at this age either. So, my question to you is this: How much TV is too much? Do you limit the amount of hours you children watch television and do you have a few selected shows that are acceptable and others that are not?

The shows I listed are pretty much the only ones that Alexis and Isabel watch. I know there are probably other good shows out there besides those, but I'm content with what she watches for now. There will be absolutely no Sponge Bob allowed in our house. I saw that playing one day and was appalled at some of the things they were saying. I felt that it was humor targeted at much older kids and is not appropriate at all for young ones. Alexis already has learned how to back talk and sass us. I don't need her picking up anymore sarcasm or attitude from a TV show. Another show that we never watch is Dora. Ross has a huge problem with the bi-lingual shows. Not that there are anything wrong with them, but he is a strong believer that if you come to America, you learn English. Period. End of Story. Having said that, he does want Alexis to learn a foreign language, but not from a TV show.

6 comments:

Ashley said...

Hunter never watched TV when he was young, but when I started babysitting (when he was 4/5) I found myself putting it on for him WAY too often, because he was by far the oldest kid here and I was so busy caring for all the little ones. That's when we just got rid of it. Now the kids are allowed to watch 1 movie a day...once in a great while they watch 2 movies a day. We have a pretty "strict" routine down though, so they watch it during their rest time, since none of them actually nap anymore. I just found that it was too much for Hunter when he didn't want to play with his toys anymore and had lost so much of his imagination. Now that we've been rid of it for almost a year his imagination is back and he hardly ever asks to watch it! I think it's different for every family...just our experience.

Kelley said...

We don't have TV service at our house, but for us, it's a financial decision. The kids watch PBS and my oldest watches animal planet at my parents' house. At home, it's just DVD's, but we admittedly allow too much media. It's something I'm working on because I find that when our days are filled with interactions with people, the kids are more well behaved-- imagine that! lol... We had an old school Nintendo as well as a Wii, but last week I boxed it all up and stored it in my parents' basement. I've been wondering if I shouldn't do the same with our TV for a while to help break the habit...

valerie said...

Unfortunately, with it being so hot lately and living in this tiny little house, there's not a lot for E to do so he has been watching a lot of tv. And playing wii, but he's grounded from that now. But when school is in session I didn't allow the tv until we were done and then he'd have it for a little bit before Steve would be home from work and take it away.
Annnnd unfortunately, we all love Spongebob. I really hope that's not the reason for his backtalk! 'Cause I really like it, too LOL. K loves the theme song but that's all she watches, the song and the song from iCarly and a few select commercials - otherwise she doesn't care. And of course E is older than your girls but I do think that iCarly is meant for an older audience than him but the things I might find objectionable go right over his head. But yeah I know we're watching too much right now with the weather and S being laid off, etc.
I am sending back a wii game though to my in-laws' where we borrowed it because it's ALLLLLLL E talks about and wants to do. My mom got rid of our NES when we were little because my youngest brother was the same way. We kept the TV but there was a time we had to pay "tickets" to watch it. Use up all your tickets for the week and that's it, go do something else.
Ok, I'm just rambling here and am absolutely NO help at all...

Jaimee M said...

One of the pediatricians I used to work with was very insistent that 30 minutes a day was enough and he practiced what he preached. His kids got 30 minutes. They would have "family movie nights" where they would all watch tv together, and I am not sure how the wii fit into the equation. Anyway, we have the same battle at our house, Scott watches BORING documentaries so I get on the computer. We have actually been considering turning our tv off again. Maybe you could try setting a timer and when the timer goes off time is up!

Nel said...

Our TV time in the winter is WAY WAY WAY worse... However, Corey thinks the TV should be on all the time. The girls and I watch very little now that we swim and play during the summer. I hope to keep it that way in the winter too! We def don't hit the 30 minutes though... I am sure we still watch too much...

This Daddy said...

We give the kids a little bit of tv time here and there. they have THEIR show they can watch. Im with you on the spongebob and other shows like that. If kids are going to watch anything, there is no need for them to watch anything that is going to disrupt the daily learning. Disney (kids), Sprout, PBS, that is about it.