Originally Posted by brewer12345
As a rule, we don't allow our 18 month-old daughter to watch TV and most of the time we shut it off when she is around.* Occasionally we will watch something with her in the room (Gilmore Girls, The Simpsons, etc. nothing racy).* Last night as we were watching the Simpsons there was a scene which involved the Springfield cops shooting up a house.* My daughter's reaction was immediate fear, turning away from the TV and saying "All done" with a worried look on her face.
That has me thinking, and more seriously considering yanking the TV.* I watch very little of it (maye an hour a week aside from 10 minutes of Bloomberg every weekday morning and the very occasional football game).* I suspect my wife would be less thrilled, since she is around more of the time.* How do the parents among you deal with the "monster in the box" and kids?
If you think the Simpsons are bad, wait until your kid discovers Barney videos! Or Pokémon, or Yugi-Oh!, or Nickelodeon, or MTV, or... the list is never-ending.
Our kid happily (and exclusively) watched Barney videos until we parents were nauseous. One day Barney visited her local preschool and the teachers, all knowing her Barney infatuation, rushed the Great Purple One to her classroom. She took one look, screamed in terror, and ran for the exit. It turns out that viewing Barney on a 13" TV gives young children the impression that Barney is no more than 13" tall, and having a seven-foot version of him in your face is pretty scary. She spent the next week holding up her 13" stuffed Barney to the TV to "prove" to herself that her preschool had the wrong Barney. I don't think she got over it until her brain developed enough to understand size perceptions.
We didn't make any special attempt to restrict the TV, but we labeled anything besides PBS as "scary". If she had nightmares then we blamed a particular TV show and told her that she shouldn't watch it.* She avoided the violent stuff anyway (well, except for Tom & Jerry cartoons) and was bored pretty quickly with the rest of it.
I think kids have to spend some of their growing time becoming immunized to the hypnotic effects of media & advertising and learning how to limit themselves.* If that requires a few extra hours of TV viewing to drive the point home now rather than in adulthood, so much the better.* The more she sees of it, and the more there are other non-TV choices, the less she'll watch it.* But at this age she's too young to surf the net or play most videogames.
I'm like you but my spouse watches a lot of recorded TV so we can't just rip the cable out of the wall.* Our big push has been not living your life by the TV schedule.* When she's locked into a particular show or time, we tell her to pop in a tape, hit the "Record" button, and get on with her life. Instead of blowing her money buying or renting retail DVDs, she swaps with friends, rents them from the library, buys from a pawnshop, or tries to deal them on eBay.
We know other families who hand out one-hour TV tickets, redeemable at the rate of one per day, or who restrict TV on school nights.* When we ask our kid what she thinks of that system, she tells us that the family's kids spend their time at other kid's houses (mostly ours)* to "play" or to "study".* So most TV-limiting concepts have unintended consequences.
I spend a lot of time on the familyroom computer while she's six feet away watching TV. Many nights I'm researching things on the Internet as she's watching the show and asking questions. I also find MTV's "Pimp My Ride", "Cribs", "Making the Band", and some of their racier dating shows to be very useful springboards for teenager discussions about manipulation, objectification, dating, LBYM, and living an ethical life.* You can pump up a lot of grrrrl power and debunk a lot of media hype when a character introduces herself on a dating show by saying "My personality is as real as my 38DD breasts!"