What place does the “idiot-box” have in your home?

How much is too much? And do you think it’s bad? Or has it been helpful, or educational?

I’m talking about TV of course. TV gets a pretty bad wrap in the parenting world. The science says that children under two will have lesser attention spans if they watch TV than those who watch none. I’m rather skeptical on this point, I don’t really understand how a child sitting In front of a television for half an hour is displaying a lesser attention span than little Johnny running from toy to toy to toy.

HOWEVER! That’s not what this is about.

I’ll admit. I use the box as a babysitter. It has been known to get me through a necessary conversation with centrelink, get dinner started or get the baby bathed. Every now and then we’ll watch a movie together. The TV is not on all the time, it’s not background noise in our house but we have it and we use it.

L knows she has to ask permission before she can watch anything, and she knows better than to beg. I’m strict about what she sees, and she knows if she asks a question about something she sees we will answer it.

Based on those guidelines I think TV can be a pretty good tool for education and recreation.

But what do you think? What’s your view on the box? Square eyes and frying brain cells? Or can it be a positive thing in your family?

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3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. cookwithkids
    Feb 23, 2011 @ 18:43:54

    Before I was a parent (as an early childhood teacher) I used to frown on children who spent alot of time in front of the television but when my son was born with a vision impairment, I was happy to let him watch as much TV as he wanted (within reason). I figured it was a “normal” kid thing to do and something he would have in common with other children. At age 2, he loves to watch playschool, Zigby, Five Minutes More and many other things including Top Gear (he loves cars!) and what it means to me is that he can actually ‘see’ what is on TV, something we never dared to wish for when he was diagnosed. He is an active toddler and in no way would he prefer to watch TV over playing outside but Tv has taught him so much and I for one am so happy that he can enjoy this pastime with relative normality.

    Reply

  2. caspette
    Feb 23, 2011 @ 21:20:21

    I am skeptical about the research to be honest. But again we wont get into that.

    TV shows these days are a lot more educational then they used to be.

    Luckily my son is not to interested in tv and he is still probably too young. I dont have it on much. We dont watch a whole lot of tv anyway, except on weekends.

    Like anything else I think it can be a great tool if used correctly and in moderation.

    Reply

  3. Rainbowg
    Feb 23, 2011 @ 22:15:01

    It makes sense that children learn more through human interaction rather than staring at a tv. However, interacting with your children at every waking minute is near impossible. Surely there is some benefit from tv in terms of teaching them how to speak, if nothing else.

    I try not to have the tv on when our daughter is around, however we do sometimes use the Baby Einstein dvd’s when she is cranky at the end of the day, or like you, occasionally when I need to get something else done. Not sure how much educational value there really is in them though, but can’t see that they cause any harm in moderation.

    Reply

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