Friday, February 3, 2012

My thoughts on TV and Children

My 2 year old still has not watched much tv (just a couple of minutes here and there at restaurants or friend's houses, and then we try to keep him distracted). The fast pace action on tv and computers will change their brain waves - whether this is a good thing or bad thing is up to you. The AAP recommends no tv at all before 2 years of age, and then about 30 minutes per day after that. A slower
 paced program (not so many video cutaways) is usually better (like Mr. Rogers).
Personally, I think most tv gives kids nightmares.

It also gives them ideas!  So many tv shows demonstrate BAD behaviours and habits - to where your child will pick them up!  
I think one of the reasons why my child has a sweet winsome personality (besides genetics and nurturing) is because he doesn't watch a lot of crappy tv shows that show the worst that mankind has to offer!  

Also, most toddlers and preschoolers do NOT need to see or know about a lot of evil vs good type of story - this can come later around 5 and up when they can understand it better.  And of course, most stories are about conflict - most movies especially have villians and heroes.  I simply don't see these type of stories as age appropriate for little ones who simply don't understand them, or think that monsters really exist.  This leads to nightmares and inappropriate behaviors on the playground (especially kicking and ganging up on other kids).  
The only shows that I can so far recommend for a child 2-5 are documentary type shows (like on fire engines, clowns, gymnastics, etc).  I can only recommend two fiction type shows - Maisy (she is always sweet and kind to others) and Mr. Roger's Neighborhood.  That's it so far.

Technology, like anything else, can be very addictive. That euphoria and blank stare of children in front of tv is very addictive (like sugary foods) and hard to let go of once addicted. So, like with all things, I think there should be balance. I have always found that the happiest, healthiest kids tend to have a balanced lifestyle - time outside, eating healthy foods, time with friends, time with technology, time with family.
Just watch for addictive behaviors (addicted to tv and/or computer can lead to children more prone to other dangerous addictions).
Also, I was a huge tv addict, thought I would never be able to live without my programs (watched at least 30 a week) and now, being gluten free, I rarely watch tv and find most of my former "must-see" shows a bit boring. Still like The Closer and Fringe and that's about it. Being Gluten-Free has really lifted a lot of brain fog and I'm a lot more capable mentally of doing things that I seriously had a hard time doing before, and I think each month I see more progress. :)

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