We let our kids watch TV. Don’t judge. We all do it. Otherwise dinner wouldn’t get made, laundry wouldn’t get folded and conference calls would never happen. TV can be a great distraction for the kids. But the truth is, its like crack for them. Once they get a little taste, they want it… all the time. Shorty #1 will stop any misbehaving the second anyone breathes she will lose movies for the rest of the day. Shorty #2 has already conquered the iPad and knows how to open Netflix and start an episode of Dora all on her own – and she’s 2!
We are working on reducing screen time for the little monkeys as much as possible but truth be told my own personal opinion (which is not based in ANY scientific research so don’t yell at me) is that there is some good screen time to be had, like Sesame Street or any of the other PBS Kids programming. To me that’s actually time well spent as early childhood educators are overseeing the crafting of the content and the kids love it. Some of the apps for iPads/ iPhones can be super* educational (*super in this case is a subjective quantitative description) like Preschool Memory Match (a matching game) and Endless Alphabet (letter and shape recognition). Some are just fun like the Elmo Monster Maker or Little Bella’s I Close My Eyes.
The real trouble with kids TV programming is the amount of absolute crap that’s being spoonfed to the kids. Dora is one of the worst. #2 can’t get enough Dora and is always reminding us that Swiper shouldn’t swipe. But man, its factually incorrect MOST of the time, yet she is riveted. Or how about Max and that Bitch Ruby. Where the hell are their parents? Ruby is parenting Max and she’s a total shrew! Don’t even get me started on the other crap coming out of Nickelodeon – where the cartoon kids come with a serious attitude (I’m looking at you Fairly Odd-Parents).
The truth is – my generation grew up watching television far worse than some of the kids programming that can be found today. How about Bugs Bunny? Poor Elmer Fudd with his speech impediment out hunting (and shooting) a rabbit. The Wiley Coyote chasing a Roadrunner only to be violently beaten at every (literal) turn. Even Sesame Street has box sets of some of their original seasons that come with disclaimers on how they are not suitable for children. In those days Snufflelupagus was still imaginary and Cookie Monster still actually ate cookies. I watched all these shows relentlessly and I didn’t turn into an axe murderer and still managed to complete a university education.
Nevertheless, we are working hard to reduce the screen time our kids experience. It is arguably more frequent since the access is so easy with portable devices. Thankfully summer is upon us and we can send the kids out into the fresh air. I think it would be cool if someone started a Summer Camp Screen Time Rehab for kids.