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September 14, 2005



Damien watches very little TV. I’m VERY lucky in that regard because he’s not really interested, he’d rather play with his LEGO or cut things up to look at under his microscope (I just love that!). We have very strict TV rules anyway- he’s allowed to pick two programs a day and I have the say-so over whether he can watch what he’s chosen- if I don’t like what I’m seeing, then he can’t watch it (I watch the newest “cartoons” with him and if I say “no” we talk about why not).


I am also a teacher. I don't know what makes these kids have less attention in school or what makes them a bit more flighty then the past generation....but I think it all comes down to parenting. Does Isabelle watch TV...HELL yeah. She watches Sesame Street and the Wiggles. I TIVO them and she watches a few episodes a day. As a single mom, I need to be able to make supper without her being under my feet and causing dangerous situation...I need to be able to correct papers sometimes...I too, get almost defensive when people make judgements about my daughter watching tv. Sesame Street and the Wiggles are wholesome, they are educational, and they are musically active and wonderful. I think Isabelle learns a LOT from them. Do I think she should be watching CSI? No....but that's a parenting thing....we just need to take control...instead of blaming the media for "tricking" us. :) That's my two cents. :)


Okay, I admit it, I'm a total junkie. Thank God for Tivo--we have two!

In the mornings, the three of us cuddle in bed and watch Clifford, the Big Red Dog. Miss P (10 1/2 months) half watches, half plays with us. And, during the rest of the day, the TV is often on when she is in the room. Occasionally, she will stop and look at it when a theme song plays or when I fast-forward commercials, but otherwise she doesn't pay attention.

I read the studies and I get it, but the reality is I'm a SAHM with a serious TV habit. I grew up watching a lot of TV--divorced parents, mom worked a lot of my childhood--and I'm fine. I was a straight A student in high school even though I did my homework in front of the TV every night. I doubt I'll let Miss P do that, but I'm not going to freak out about TV.

At the same time that I'm a TV junkie, I'm also a book junkie. I read constantly, all genres, and I'm passing that on to Miss P as well. She has a big library already and spends time flipping the pages of her board books, chattering to herself and giggling away. We're also big magazine and newspaper readers in this house. My husband and I spend hours online and Miss P is also growing up surrounded by computers.

Right now, at 10 1/2 months, my MIL says she is the most curious child she has ever seen. Put her down in a new room, and she will explore every cabinet, drawer, and door. I suspect that growing up with a pleathora of media will not do my child any harm.


My 20 month old has been watching Sesame Street for the last few months, and loves it. With a spouse who works 80 - 100 hours a week, sometimes I need a break so I can take a shower or make dinner without a child hanging on me.

As a librarian, we gave books to my daughter from the time she was 4 - 5 months old. By 8 - 9 months she could occupy herself for 1/2 hour sittings flipping the pages and murmurring to herself. Now, she still loves to look at books by herself, can sit for up to 45 minutes while I read a big pile from the library, and reads to herself the stories she really loves. I don't think being a book lover and t.v. watcher are mutially exculsive.

Our daughter can count to 13, sing 3 - 4 songs, and sings and identifies the alphabet all on her own. I know that she is picking up some great reenforcement to the books we read on her letters and numbers from Sesame Street. I think that you have to judge whether your child is being engaged in an educational way by the show, or not.


I think it's all in the parenting outside of the occasional television. Don't use it at a babysitter.
I don't belive my children are going to become criminals because I let them watch Noggin for thirty or sixty minutes a day.
It's what you do outside of those inconsequential moments that count.


I love television! I was a Art major/Communications minor in college-- I love movies, television, pop culture, comic books and all the media that many deem to be without merit. I watched it as a kid, and my creativity level didn't suffer a bit. In fact, I often get inspired by things I see in the media.

She's certainly not going to be watching "C.S.I." when she's three years old, but sure, she's going to watch televsion. That's what our family does. We watch television. Yay, television!!!


0-12+ months: no tv. Well, except what she heard during our early marathon nursing sessions. I was hooked on Trading Spaces.

1-2.5 years: average of less than 20 minutes a day. Most days it was none, but often on weekends my husband would be checking game scores, etc. So I kept it low during the week to account for those times.

Then we moved and it all fell apart! We'd be sooooo tired. And our daughter would be up and ready for the day at 5:30 am regardless of when she fell asleep. So one of us would accompany her to the tv room and doze on the couch while she watched Disney. We could usually get an hour in before she got bored. And it's an easy way for me to check email and get my shower.

Now we firmly keep it no higher than the AAP's recommendation of 2 hours per day. When she watches none we mark it on the calendar. It's a tough habit to break, although preschool is helping because there's no time to watch in the morning.

We limit her tv to the Disney channel and PBS. Not very educational, but fewer objectionable commercials unless you count Disney's constant self-promotion. I also don't let her watch movies: too long for her age.

In my old town, most of my friends had similar limits on TV. In my new town, I don't have a lot of company. I've often been a bit shocked at what people let their kids watch. Just because it's a cartoon doesn't mean it's ok for kids!

What surprises me is how many children have their own TV at an early age. Our neighbor's kids each have had their own tv for years (ages 5 and 8). The youngest had a really hard time grasping that we only have one TV in the whole house.

What really bugs me though is the people who turn on the TV during a playdate or playgroup gathering. You'd think the company of other kids would be stimulating enough!

Jason Berggren

I think TV can be a tool, but we need to be aware that it is passive learning at best. My wife uses it with our boys (3 years and 16 months) at strategic times of the day. She has done a wonderful job of structuring their day. They have play time, learning time, reading time, free time etc. And they have TV time when she needs to get some chores done. At most they watch 40 minutes a day and it is never just mindless programming. We choose shows that are always interactive, conveying problem-solving and/or educational info (Blues Clues, Letter Factory, Veggie Tales etc.). That's what we do. We use it as a tool as best we can at their age.


Honestly, unless you are using TV as a babysitter, or allowing them to watch shows you may not consider appropriate, I don't see a problem with reasonable TV time. As for quick-paced shows like Sesame Street, they are quick-paced for a reson - young children naturally have shorter attention spans. The reason so many children today are unable to concentrate has more to do with the fact that they multi-task -- listening to music while doing homework, IMing friends while watching TV, etc. When they need to focus on one thing, it's difficult. Bear this in mind too - show me a kindergarten student who doesn't know who SpongeBob is, and I'll show you the kid the others laugh at.


My partner and I watch a pretty limited amount of TV ourselves, and were pretty adament about not letting our son watch TV when he was under a year old. But, he is an incredibly high energy child, and we have succumbed to letting him watch selected shows that we have recorded (no more than 1 hour / day, usually only 1/2 hour a day) because otherwise we'd be completely nuts. Besides the educational shows, the other thing we do let him watch are these obnoxious "I Love Big Machines" videos, and he is obsessed with construction. I try not to be holier-than-thou about it,though.


There is a study from the American Association for Gifted Children that says extremely gifted children watch more tv at a younger age. (http://www.aagc.org/tv.htm) This is because their attention spans are longer at an earlier age and they desire the complex cognitive stimulation that some television programs can provide. Obviously, that doesn't mean smart kids should be sitting in front of the TV all day. I just think it's an interesting perspective to consider, and I thought I'd share the link here.

I felt very harassed by all the anti-TV zealots when my son started showing a strong interest in TV before he even turned a year old. I've since decided not to feel guilty about letting him interact with and fall in love with a few tv programs. By 14 months he was physically acting out what the tv characters were doing, saying frequently repeated prases along with them, and guessing the answers to Blue's Clues before they were revealed. By 18 months he wants to sit still for full-length feature films (usually Disney), discusses what's going on in the story (in toddler-ese of course), and says a lot of the dialogue along with the characters. I can see him learning as he watches TV, so as long as we also do lots of arts, crafts, playtime outside and other toddler activities I'm all in favor of including TV in our daily lives.


I am a school teacher and I see everyday what tv and video games do to children. They can't concentrate, they don't have any imagination, they need constant movement and the list goes on. We are currently in the process of adopting a daughter. We plan on not allowing her to watch tv-until she is past 5 yrs. old. Brain develpment is at its prime from birth to 6 and I want my child to have a wonderful imagination and a great brain and a great start on life.


Ditto that. I hang out with a bunch of parents that you would think would object to TV for young children, and yet they all think we're weird because our kids don't watch any. My husband is a huge anti-TV snob, and I'm just too busy to watch much. Our 3 yr old daughter sees a few videos during the morning drop-off time at her daycare, and sometimes at a friend's house. It's just simply not a part of our routine, and I like it that way, for all the reasons you cited. However, someone recently gave her a Disney Princess sampler CD and she begs for it, so I'm having to make up a video viewing policy all of the sudden-- basically as little as I can manage. I don't anticipate doing anything different with her 1 yr old brother. It is really tempting to use the electronic babysitter, especially in that horrible hour when we all get home and dinner needs to be made, but there are ways of coping


My almost 2 year old adores TV when we let him watch it, which isn't much, generally less than an hour a day. But he has a big brother, who likes Dora, etc. We have a TiVo, which lets us control exactly what and when they watch, and zap out the commercials.


My husband and I have a television for watching videos a couple of times a week, but we don't have what others call "TV". I got out of the habit when I lived in various places that couldn't have television (a boat, for instance). I was told, when I was pregnant, that I would be lost without television (because I'd get bored) and that Baby Einstein videos were a godsend (did Einstein have educational videos?). People ask us what we do if we don't watch television and can't seem to comprehend life without it (we talk to each other and read, by the way). We have decided to avoid "screen time" for our baby until she is 2 (or as close as we can get). I know that it's an easy, convienient babysitter, but honestly, it scares me. Time flies so fast when it's on, and the next thing you know three hours have past and you haven't looked at your family...but hey, you're caught up on the latest shows and commercials. Don't get me wrong, I could watch TV if I really wanted to - but I don't like what happens to me when I do (zombie girl) and I'd like to avoid that for my daughter.


Madeline (14 months) is not into tv whatsoever, unless there is a commercial with a particularly groovin' soundtrack on during the news broadcast. I borrowed a Baby Einstein DVD from the library once, but she didn't even glance at it and played with her blocks instead. TV is quite a non-issue at this time, and that works out well for DH and I ...


Right now T.V is the biggest discussion point in our home. WE ahve a 14 month old angel who watches t.v with her granny who watches her during the day- when we get home we try to limit the amounts of T.V we watch and thus expose her to because our control is so limited during the day. Yes we ask Granny to lower the amount of t.v she sees, but Granny's always think they know best and having the village rasie the child you gotta pick your fights - and I choose Pacifiers and asking them to go for walks and play out side a fair rade for the T.V that entertains my granny too. I want Cammy to watch less T.V so we spend wed's at baby gym and the bookstore. on teh weekend we go to the zoo and the butterfly house and this weekend we'll be going to a ballon glow and race Friday and Saturday and she goes with me to poetry readings and we play legos, and read books and just talk and she watches me cook. SO I like to think things balance pretty well and I won't stop trying to make the balance better. I don't think its realistic to remove all t.v from her world but while now shes most moldable I want to make sure she knows t.v isn't necessary, we watch it and its not bad but noone needs it.


My children watched very little TV as toddlers. We didn't ban it, just limited it to the occasional show for children. Absolutely not Sesame Street with its fast-paced high action, designed to give children short concentration spans. We also preferred books, lego, going for walks, baking, and so on. When my sons got older they limited themselves to one show per day, and often didn't bother to switch the TV on at all. Now they're older teenagers.

We sometimes watch a DVD as a family, but no more than one a week. I have no interest in TV myself either. Recently my 19yo thanked me sincerely for ensuring they didn't watch much TV, when he saw how some kids are addicted, hyperactive, easily bored, and start squabbling as soon as the TV is switched on.

Of course computers can also waste time... that's a much more difficult dilemma!


My seven month old son has watched the Baby Einstein books and they have helped to calm him when he is un-calm-able. I watch too much TV, but I am working on changing that. I'm all about the happy medium between TV and other activities. Honestly, the easiest was to start a conversation flowing amongst strangers is TV, particularly the childhood TV you watched (Smurfs, anyone?). It's a cultural touching point.

Robin P

I wrote a post a while back about "How many t.v.s are too many?"
If you are interested,you can read it here. http://ccjellybeans.blogspot.com/2005/04/how-many-televisions-are-too-many.html
Not only did I grow up watching t.v.,we had one in every room.
When Lillianna was very young,she watched Sesame Street,Between the Lions and anything that I found to be educational and fun. She also watched a lot of videos with kids singing and dancing on them. Those are still my favorites.

I grew up with t.v. and it has always been a part of my life. Even now,I like to watch mind numbing t.v. to relax. I don't always want to read or write or scrap book to relax. I want to watch,Dharma and Greg,Charmed,Doc,Diagnosis Murder.....anything to make me space out. Sometimes I need it.

As for Lillianna(she's 8),she likes a lot of Disney shows, Lizzie McGuire,Raven...things like that. She also loves re-runs of Full House. I try not to let her watch scary shows although she does like Charmed. When I was 5,I was watching Dark Shadows,so to me,it's the same.

Lillianna uses her imagination all the time. She is very creative. She reads,writes,plays with dolls and has a lot of friends. I don't think t.v. will kill her.


We decided before Sean was born that we would not let him watch TV. Ever. Consequently he is not at all interested in the TV except to open and close the armoire in which it is encased (55X in a row). There have been times when I've really needed five minutes to do something and it would be nice if he would engage in a video or infomercial or something besides my leg. He is able to focus well for a 2-year-old. Kids I know his age that are allowed to watch a lot of TV don't seem to do as well in that area.

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