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T.V. Math

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I was having a conversation in a Ravelry forum about children and T.V. watching and did a little math with the current AAP “recommendations” on T.V. allowance for children over 3.  Now, I love movies and definitely have my favorite T.V. show;  I also  have wonderful memories of Disney movies, classic musicals and TGIF family nights spent with a special (delivered!) treat of pizza gathered around the television for a couple hours (in fact a majority of my and my husbands Christmas list is often movies and the new season of whatever)… but “Screen Time” – the time spent in front of anything electronic (cellphones, computer, video games, T.V., etc.) is definitely on my radar and I really try to challenge myself not to use it too much right now, as to avoid the “T.V. Baby Sitter” trap.  While I definitely understand it’s benefits to give Mom or Dad a reprieve, or as an educational tool** it does seem to be something that should be approached with caution.  So with that in mind I thought I’d just share a little math with you to consider when thinking about your kids and yourself!

1 hour a day t.v. =

7 hrs/week = approx. 1 average school day (9 a.m. to 4 p.m. non stop)
1 avg. SD/week x 52 weeks = 52 SD/Year
(52 SD/ year)/180 (average number of school days per year) = 28.8% of the school days in the school year only watching television.

Would you be okay with your child’s teacher setting your child in front of  a T.V. for over 1/4 of the time dedicated to learning?

2 hours a day t.v. =

14 hrs/week = One Saturday in front of the t.v. from 9 a.m. until 11 p.m. non stop
(One Saturday (9 a.m. until 11 p.m.)/week) x 52 weeks = 52 Saturdays of pure dawn till dusk t.v. watching
52 Saturdays/30 days (average month) = 1.73 months of dawn till dusk t.v. watching a year

1 – 2 hours a day doesn’t seem like much, until you start to add it up.

** Though I always like to point out the real baby Albert Einstein seemed to accomplish quite a bit without the infant-geared “educational” movies, books and CD’s that borrow his name (and so did baby Mozart, baby Beethoven; not to mention baby Newton, baby Plato, baby Da Vinci, etc.).


6 responses »

  1. WOnderful post. TV, electronics also reduces the number of hours spent outside in nature, talking with loved ones, working on hobbies, cleaning and cooking and sleeping!

  2. Molly, as a mother who is living this with older children (5 & 4 years old) I was really conscious of limiting their viewing time when they were little. For us it was easy when the girls were little to limit their screen time. We did/do tons and tons of reading and coloring. Now that the girls are older they do enjoy watching TV or movies but I allow them to pick what TV show they want to watch –which is a 30 minute episode on PBS, not hours and hours of sitting in front watching whatever. We don’t have cable so PBS is the only channel they get to watch, making the cutting back on TV time much easier.

    When they were babies and even now with Kasper we never watched any of the “baby” DVDs. I think babies can be stimulated in other ways than having flashing lights and music playing on the screen. It might take a little more “work” to dig out the puppets and cue up the itunes library, but playing music and doing a puppet show (in my opinion) is very stimulating for a baby.

    When shopping for a mini van we wanted one that did not have a DVD player in it. This was a challenge as so many vehicles now have them. Even when we found a nice van that did not a DVD player my in-laws wanted to buy us a portable one to put in the vehicle for the girls. After all we have to travel two hours to see our families and it would be a shame for the girls not to watch a movie during that time. Ugggh! We were adamant that we DID. NOT. WANT. ONE. so of course we are now mean parents. We also haven’t allowed any video gaming systems in our home either–but that is a whole other topic!

    Our trips include listening to music and singing along, listening to storytelling podcasts, playing I-Spy, making up stories, enjoying the scenery, or just listening to the girls play–by turning whatever objects they find in the van into people. It is enjoyable. We don’t have to turn our children into zombies in order to travel with them. We are creating memories with each trip.

    • Love it all Jamie! I’m totally on board with you on it all! I’m not against T.V. (for order kids), but I am for it’s purposeful consumption! And Ugh, I forgot all about the Car – DVD fad… I hate it, what’s wrong with kids learning to look out the window or sing along with radio? Also, I find them annoying as a driver it’s distracting to see the little screens in cars ahead or next to you on the road, Ben and I have vowed never to have one as well.

  3. Another mean parent here! We are also really dreading the day when we need to buy a van and have to find one without the dvd players.

    We have actually gone so far as to put our tv (without cable) into the front room where the furniture isn’t all that comfortable – it really keeps us from just vegging out too much and I don’t think Miriam has ever watched it. (She has at my parent’s house, where the big screen is constantly on and in your face!)

    I actually read a study that found that not only does tv before the age of 2 not benefit children – it actually can impair their cognitive development! Agh!

    And as for Baby Einstein? Linguists have studied and found that it is not beneficial in the least when it comes to language acquisition. My husband and I personally think it probably causes attention problems because there’s so much movement and constant changes in order to keep their attention!

    • Love it all! I forgot I had a linguist in the audience, glad to know my hunches are right now track. When we do the big move (if it’s the place we’re hoping for) the TV is going downstairs in the basement and the upstairs living area will be a “quiet” living room so it won’t be a temptation to have it on while I’m making dinner, etc.

      Here, here for all the “mean parents” out there.


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