People need to stop blaming TV

Cecilia - posted on 01/03/2013 ( 32 moms have responded )

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I am so sick of reading how TV rots a child's brain. First i will agree there is a limit to TV. It is not a 3 hour long babysitter.

My 2 younger children went to kindergarten when they were 3 years old ( they turn 4 in Nov.) What disgusted me on the first day of school was the fact my little tiny babies were the only one's in their class who could write their name. What were the parents doing for the last 5 years?

My kids all watched TV. It's a great tool. Put on the right shows and you have a learning tool. (of course you should be involved) They can teach colors, numbers, letters. how to be a friend, manners, ect...

How about all of us single moms who need a few minutes to brush our hair and put on deodorant?? Turning on the TV makes us automatic bad parents... That is BS! Go ahead and tell me to put up a gate and go do it... maybe i have gymnasts, cause at 3 they could flip right over.

Seriously people stop blaming TV. It doesn't make children stupid, lazy parents make for stupid kids.

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Aleks - posted on 01/06/2013

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Great pick up of the confused arguments Kristi C.... I was going to say the same things as you... including the harshness of tone and words used!

Just wanting to also second what Evelyn Witt said re children learning at different pace.
And besides, learning is not a 100 metre sprint! Its a whole life marathon. Just because your kid can write their name at age 3 or 4 or 2 for that matter ( or do anything else for that matter) doesn't mean anything nor does it guarantee they are better than any other kid (which I always seem to think the "my kid is so much better cause they can do xyz" is implied in such comments, particularly when the commentator is having a go at the fact that other kid/s cannot). I guess this is my gripe with the tone of this thread.

Would have liked to make a worthwhile comment but it is hard to know which way this is going first.

Aleks - posted on 01/06/2013

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Well said Cinnamon Aston and Kelly (great links and fantastic explanation re watching TV and what the brain perceives). I wholeheartedly agree with you both :-)

I would also like to explain that sometimes it IS NOT just all about parenting regarding when and where kids learn to write (or do any other type skill).

Example 1:
My daughter did not learn all of her colours until she was over 3 years old. And this was not through want of trying on my and her dad, her brother or grandparents' trying. The reason was that she DID NOT see the colours, the vision (or who knows exactly what) did not distinguish all of the colours for lot longer for her than some other children. By age 3 she was able to distinguish most colours (before that she was slowly progressing to be able to see them individually as she aged) bar red and green. At which point we just thought that she may be colour blind and left it at that. Figured that at her next check-up it will be discussed and we will get the necessary info and places to turn. However, not long thereafter, she started to correctly "guess" ALL colours, including making the correct distinction, consistently, between red and green.
Example 2:
My son (now 7.5yrs old) did not learn how to write his name until after age 5. Again not through lack of trying!!!
At playgroup, there were all these kids that would draw and paint and sign their own names by 4.5yrs old! Most could do it by 4yrs old. My son (being the same as these kids too) did not even want a bar of holding a pencil or pen or crayon. NOT INTERESTED. I also went through books outlining the alphabet and words/things starting with individual letters of the alphabet, etc. And after 2minutes he would get bored and walk away. I tried and tried. Showed him his name and how to write it. Held his hand with pencil/crayon in it to "teach" him to write his name. ALL TO NO AVAIL (sorry using caps as wish to highlight words rather than shout - sorry).
After he turned 5yrs old something must have gone "click" in his brain because out of the blue, and just like that, on his own accord he got a chalk and wrote out the whole alphabet while citing the letters!!! I was shocked! I asked him who taught him how to write and the letters (thinking it was my mum and his dad - whom he happened to have spent some good load of time with in the previous days) and he said "You mum"... upon questioning both my mum and his father I realised that they did not spend ANY time doing practicing writing or letters with him.

Moral of THIS story is that no matter how much I wished him to write, he could not and did not want to!!! He only did it when HE was ready!!! Same goes for my daughter.

Also, just like Cinnamon said - some of us parents do not place a huge portion of our time in teaching these things - we prefer to teach other things and have our children spend time playing and doing and learning other things (people skills being one of them, for example).. or just playing as they please, rather than teaching them and chasing them to teach them to count and abc's. I learned that with my son... its not that important and it doesn't matter anyway. Besides, the curriculum where I live sets out to teach kids these things when they hit kindergarten/prep/k/grade 0 or whatever you call it.\

I also have read along the way that if kids are forced or heavily encouraged/tutored to learn these things (ie, abc's counting etc) before they are good and ready then it does more harm than good. If you notice when you look up academic performances that those countries whose curriculum starts to teach kids to read later (ie, from age 7) rather than sooner (age 4-5 or earlier) does much better in literacy! I will be happy to look up links for this, but will have to wait as I have to go now... so please come back for part II


To Be Continued....lol

Kristi - posted on 01/06/2013

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I think you're over reacting a little much. I don't know which threads you have been in that said moms are selfish for plopping their kid in front of Dora so they can shower and that their kids will be dumb for watching yo gabba gabba, whatever that show is. Maybe I'm reading too much into your comments but to me you are coming across quite harsh as if someone has personally attacked your parenting skills. To be honest I haven't seen any threads blaming tv for anything. I have seen comments about the sex and violence on tv and what, if any, affect that could have on our children's behavior today but not a topic on If You Have Stupid Kids It Is The TV's Fault.

Quite frankly, hearing a parent say other kids are stupid makes me question their mentality. People, not just kids sometimes make stupid choices. Kids, however, are not stupid. Well, at least the people I know don't think kids are stupid just because they can't write their name on the first day of school...and as a general rule of thumb.

What is your arguement here...because in one comment you're saying don't blame the tv for your stupid kids, implying there is nothing wrong with watching tv and the next you're implying that to correctly care for a child during the day one must take them outside to play and explore the world.

Maybe I'm the stupid one here. This seems to be more of a rant about how poorly other people parent than a debate over tv.

I do agree that manners seem to be in short supply these days. That's an entirely different subject. (different than tv and stupid kids)

Aleks - posted on 01/11/2013

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Sorry it has taken a little bit of time for me to get back to this thread. Busy and also I have had a little bit of difficulty finding the sources and articles I have read regarding potenial problems with later literacy if children are taught to read too early....

While I have provided 2 links and excerpts from them, and they are pretty good, I was unable to find the one that really explained it to me really well why starting too early can potentially have such damaging effects.
Basically, what the theory said was that the paths/pathways the neurons need to make to take on reading are not yet fully developed at such young ages (especially below 7yrs old). While they eventually make those connections, these are, however, made inefficiently or in an awkward fashion. Which will work OK for now (for reading the simpler words/texts, etc), but come greater need for proficiency and comprehension (not to mention ability to dicipher new and larger words, together with ability to make a guestimate interpretation of that word, for example) will suffer because the awkwardly formed neuron pathways may not allow for the building of more complex litracy skills. I am not quite sure how this works but my understanding was that old pathways may get in the way or unable to form the necessary new pathways due to the nature of the exiting ones, or to connect to new neurons as they are out of reach of the exiting pathways - sorry I am not a neurologist nor brain scholar to understand and then clearly explain what really may be happening, but trying my best to remember what I have read somewhere (starting to believe it may have been some kind of a book, and that is why I was unable to find links to this online).


Here is what I have managed to find online to be the following:

Problems Arise When Children are Pushed to Read Too Early

http://gomestic.com/family/problems-aris...

"What happens when children are taught to read before all the neurological pathways for the tasks are adequately developed? Now that U.S. educational practice is bowing to the pressure to improve by teaching reading in kindergarten, despite the fact that five year olds do not yet have the benefit of the left brain’s reading center crucial to the task, this is the critical question.

Teachers are noticing difficulties in learning, behavior and socialization. As kindergarten has taken on the task of reading, more kids are found who need to repeat kindergarten or a “transitional” first grade classroom. As kids progress through grade school, learning disabilities increase, particularly visual-processing types. Brain research can explain why teaching reading earlier would result in negative effects: most five year olds do not yet have the complete development of the neurological pathways needed to couple the deciphering tasks and the comprehension tasks of reading. (For further explanation of this research click on “Are Schools Expecting Our Kids to Read Too Early?”)

The language center in the left hemisphere of the brain won’t form for most kids until they are between seven and nine, and later for boys than girls. When kids are taught to read before this, certain problems arise, particularly in spelling and reading comprehension."
...

"When five year olds are pushed to tasks requiring the abilities of the undeveloped hemisphere, patterns for learning problems in the future may develop. If children were permitted to wait until the left side of their brain was adequately developed, they could learn to read and spell with the parts of the brain designed to do it efficiently. Decades ago, when intense reading instruction occurred mid-year of first grade, just as most kids were turning seven, educational expectations were more in line with children’s developmental abilities. This turn of the seventh year, on average, is the magical time to start reading instruction because this is not only when the left brain is developed, but also the corpus callosum, which allows the two hemispheres to communicate to complete a task together."
...
"Even more frustrating, a child’s ability to cope by memorizing feeds into the sham—the perception that the child is a good reader. When a child can physically read aloud sentences to a teacher or other adult, many may be satisfied that the child is indeed a good reader. Meanwhile, comprehension is suffering, shortcuts and destructive patterns are formed, weariness may be setting in, and the child is not able to learn the correct process for reading because he simply does not have the needed parts of the brain for it."


Also this:
http://educationnext.org/much-too-early/

Much Too Early

"Those calling for academic instruction of the young don’t seem to appreciate that math and reading are complex skills acquired in stages related to age. Children will acquire these skills more easily and more soundly if their lessons accord with the developmental sequence that parallels their cognitive development."
...
"Studies of children in different types of preschools are merely suggestive. One study by Leslie Recorla, Marion C. Hyson, and Kathy Hirsh-Pasek compared children who had attended an academic preschool with those who had attended a developmentally appropriate program. Although there were no academic differences between the two groups, the children attending the academic program were more anxious and had lower self-esteem. These results diminished after the children began to attend public school.

An older study was carried out by Carleton Washburn, the famed Evanston, Illinois, educator. He introduced children to formal instruction in reading at different grade levels from kindergarten to 2nd grade. The children who were introduced to reading at these three levels were then retested in junior high school. The assessors didn’t know the grade at which each child had learned to read. Washburn found little difference in reading achievement among the groups. The children who had been introduced to formal instruction in reading later than the others, however, were more motivated and spontaneous readers than those who had begun early. Similar findings were reported in the Plowden Report in England, which compared children from the informal schools of rural areas with children who attended the more formal schools of urban centers.

Studies of early readers, those who are able to read phonemically on entering kindergarten, have found similar results. In both the United States and Canada, only about 3 to 5 percent of children read early. In such studies, most children had IQs of 120 or higher and were at Piaget’s stage of concrete operations. In addition, almost all of them had a parent or relative who took special interest in them. These adults did not engage in formal instruction; they read to their children, took them to the library, and talked about books with them. In order to learn to read early in life, children need the requisite mental abilities, but they also benefit from the motivation that develops from rich exposure to language and books and the special attention of a warm and caring adult.

Evidence attesting to the importance of developmentally appropriate education in the early years comes from cross-cultural studies. Jerome Bruner reports that in French-speaking parts of Switzerland, where reading instruction is begun at the preschool level, a large percentage of children have reading problems. In German-speaking parts of Switzerland, where reading is not taught until age six or seven, there are few reading problems. In Denmark, where reading is taught late, there is almost no illiteracy. Likewise in Russia, where the literacy rate is quite high, reading is not taught until the age of six or seven."

Hope this gives some insight of the point I was trying to raise :-)

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I agree that there is nothing wrong with WELL SELECTED children's television programs, and I don't even think that the amount of television is the main issue, it's that they market a lot of crap to kids. But I also believe that active play, being creative and getting exercise are far better tools for education. My daughter is 4 soon to be 5 and in pre-K where she has learned to write her name and I'm fine with that. I have taught her a lot as a stay-at-home Mom, with an emphasis on teaching her where she showed an interest in something. I don't think writing is a good determining factor for good education, especially since many parents ignore the basics of teaching their children things like manners, healthy eating and compassion for others. We all raise our kids differently, some just feel it's their duty to point out what others are doing wrong, and I think they forget that that's their opinion, not proven fact. And any parent who lets their child watch TV is well aware of the fact that it is not a babysitter, since your child still needs supervision.

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Candy - posted on 01/13/2013

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Cecilia, it sounds like you are using common sense in the way you use TV. Sadly that isn't so common.

The thing about TV is that overexposure in the early years has been shown to cause changes in the way a child's brain develops- that is a FACT. It's not a media beat-up, it's scientific research. The quick changes of image become all that a child can cope with. They fail to develop the connections that lead to long concentration. ADHD, anyone? Also it acts like an opiate, with sedative and addictive properties.

Of course stupid people will run around quacking away that turning on the TV for five minutes is a sin- that's because they're stupid and judgemental and they want to sound important. But it doesn't make the research wrong.

Aleks - posted on 01/13/2013

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Wow.... I am so opposite! I DON'T like having constant noise around me when at home. I don't mind the occasional day with the radio on, but it would drive me batty if I had to have it on every day - may be due to the fact that they repeat same songs over and over a few times a day, so imagine if you listened to it all the time...lol.
I hate having constant chatter of the tv, too (though I seem to be more easily able to tune it out than radio).

I have been to friends' and other people's houses where the tv is on CONSTANTLY. Kids seem to always be aware of what is on and tune in and out. (Shudders)
Not to say that my kids haven't been baby-sat by the tv either - oops ... oh well... sometimes its just much easier when you are having a bad day or are way too busy with house work (usually right before a bigger social gathering at home) LOL

But I have also seen my kids in similar situation to what Elfrieda described as well - grumpy kids. Though not always.... :-D

Cecilia - posted on 01/13/2013

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"tv ruins your ability to be content" I actually fully agree with that statement on many levels"

Reason #1, your child want to play with you. No one i know, even adults, are content watching tv all day with no social interaction.

reason #2 i think it ruins them in learning how to be content in peace and quiet. All the stories of parents who say their kid wont sleep without noise in their rooms to sleep. (many throw a tv in there )

Although with my 2nd reasoning... many times i will keep the TV off all day and have the radio on instead. That is more for me than her. I like having music on and having her dance around with me. I do have a hard time myself with too much quiet. I'm working on it though.

Elfrieda - posted on 01/11/2013

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I'm definitely in the "tv rots your brain" camp, except it's more "tv ruins your ability to be content". My just-turned-3-year-old behaves very differently when we've been lax on the "15 minutes per day" rule. He's whiny, cries about everything, begs to watch more and more, is disobedient, loses interest in his toys, doesn't help me when I ask him to, can't play by himself for more than a few moments.

And when I realize what's happening, I do a total de-tox. The most recent reason for too much screen time was a combination of everyone in the house catching the flu and having a newborn who wanted to nurse all the time. I thought he was having a terrible time adjusting to the baby, but no. It has taken only 3 days of NO screen time for him to turn into a happy boy again. Now he hugs his sister instead of chucking toy cars at her, and he doesn't have tantrums over things like toast cut in squares instead of triangles.

I do like to let him watch some things and I sit with him and explain what's happening. (and we have DVDs so the next day he watches the story again and explains to ME what's happening. This is only for new stories, after he knows what's going on I leave him to it and do things that I don't want him to see... hello, bowl of ice cream!) I think it's good for his social/emotional development. But not too much, or it ruins his happiness.

I don't think it's only my son who gets affected in this way. I often feel like my friends' kids could do with less tv and their parents' lives would become harder in the short term with all the crying about the missing tv, but in the slightly longer short-term, life would get so much better! But I know better than to say anything, because I think they would react with a similar message as your initial post.

Cecilia - posted on 01/11/2013

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i read about the swimming thing before. swimming is the best sport ever, no matter what age. Babies (but do not toss them in alone!!), young children, adults, seniors... Really they are no negatives to it.(cept drowning, drowning sucks)

Are those "my baby can read" things included in this? I've seen commercials for them but never actually looked into them. http://yourbabycanread.com/ they claim a one year old can read. i figured what it did was to associate the word shape with the verbal word, and that the child didn't read anything. you know a parlor trick..

Aleks - posted on 01/11/2013

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Cecilia, doing pre-reading skills and activities is not a problem... In fact, reading with kids, talking, singing rhymes etc etc is actually encouraged as it is actually helpful! It's just the pushing and actual teaching how to read, write and spell (especially towards testing their proficiency ) is what is problematic. Especially in how it is actually taught, quite well described and quite thoughroughly in the article from the second link I provided.... By doing a lot of these pre-reading activities you will find that kids will most likely learn to recognise some of the simple written words such "cat", "dog", "mum", "dad", etc. this is ok.
Honestly, USA and Australia (where I live ) start teaching to read at kindergarten, ie age 4-5. Both these two countries' literacy and numeracy skills of kids are lagging well behind on the international scale! While countries that 1/ treat learning and especially teachers with the highest respect; and 2/ start their reading and counting learning later, rather than sooner, seem to beat our two countries almost with no contest.

As for soccer, I must say that I haven't read anything about it, but it is interesting and I'm not surprised. I'm sure that its not just soccer!!! However, I have just read that swimming especially instructional lessons, especially before starting formal schooling at kindergarten, is actually highly beneficial to kids' literacy and numeracy learning and skills once they start these!!!
Ok, was going to post a link to this but cannot get it to copy and paste on my phone (grrrrr)... Will come back later to do this. lol

Cecilia - posted on 01/11/2013

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Although it is interesting, it honestly is not going to stop me from doing pre-reading activities such as knowing how to sing the alphabet and having letter recognition. Lately we've been working on letter sounds.

There are studies that state some structured sports such as soccer do more harm than good. Their bodies are not ready to use some of those muscles. With that said, soccer for young children has many benefits. It teaches gross motor skills, team mechanics, sportsmanship, exercise, ect. My point being everything we do has pros and cons.

It is a tough situation though. We all want our children to be ahead. Some children read very young and have no issues. How do we know which side of the coin our kid is on unless we test the waters.

Kristi - posted on 01/11/2013

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Very interesting information, Aleks! I hadn't heard anything about this before now. My daughter is 13 so it is a little late for us but very educational none the less!

Cecilia - posted on 01/07/2013

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I'm sorry if anyone took offense to the writing names section. I wasn't trying to make anyone feel like a bad parent if their child did not write right away. It was one observation that i had when sending my children to school.

My son who is now 13 did not learn to tie his shoes until he was 10... yes 10. Not from lack of trying on adults. I had everyone trying to teach him. He even had Physical and occupational therapist trying to get the task done. Everyone pretty much gave up after some time. Guess who taught him to do it?? His little sister, she had the patience the rest us of lacked with him. He just didn't want to learn.


Aleks i would love to read the link as I have not heard of that so far.

Kelly i think i might read that, i love books about how the mind works. The last i read loved called the teenage brain.

[deleted account]

I am reading a fascinating book right now called "The Other Side of Normal" by Jordan Smoller. This book dedicates an entire chapter on why parents buy educational videos for their children, and whether or not they are effective as a learning tool.

Also, this may be off topic, but it relates a lot to Alex's post and i thought you all might be interested.

The book talks about periods of "expectant learning" which are basically periods of time during the brain's development that it is more suited to learn certain things or develop certain areas. These times are different for everyone, and just because they come sooner or later has no impact on the brain's development during that time. Simply put, a child who learns language at 15 months will not learn language at a higher degree than a child who learns at 22 months. Once the period of expectant learning is over, both children are on equal footing. By the time they are 36 months, they are both speaking at the same level. This is because the period for expectant learning of vocabulary has ended--they can still learn new vocabulary, but not as quickly, and they are no longer losing the skills they need to loose to adapt to the language to which they were born. (For a better explanation, Read about William Greenough's experiments in the 1980's, Konrad Lorenz's work on brain imprinting and timing (for which he won a Nobel Prize!), and Torsten Wiesel & David Hubel's combined work concerning loosing skills in order to develop the brain--they also won a Nobel Prize)

ETA for anyone who might want to read this book as well. It is not a parenting book specifically, but the information included can be very beneficial to parents (to everyone really--who doesn't want to know why we do what we do?)

Jodi - posted on 01/06/2013

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It's all an issue of parenting. I don't see anything wrong with a little bit of TV either, but an ongoing reliance on it as a babysitter is obviously inappropriate.

There was a woman the other day that asked what videos and TV shows she could get for her child to help him learn how to say sentences. My response was that you can't. To learn those things, children need human interaction. You talk to them in everything you do, allow them to follow you around the house and chatter away to them. It is through human interaction that they do their best learning. Will TV ruin them? Not if it is used in moderation.

Ariana - posted on 01/06/2013

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Well, no one can truly blame 'TV' because we all pretty much know that it's not the best thing. Like you said, things in moderation are good. There have been studies that show children who watch tv under the age of two are more likely to have low attention spans because the tv flashes so quickly and their brains aren't made to deal with it.

But of course who's allowing them to watch tv? The parents. It's quite possible tv and negatively effects TV, but in that case WHO is allowing the child to watch it? The parents.

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Here are some intersting articles about the effects of TV on young children and on the brain. Take some time to read them, they are very though provoking.

http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/a...
http://voices.yahoo.com/your-brain-waves...
http://www.brainsturbator.com/articles/m...
http://www.mackwhite.com/tv.html


"Experiments conducted by researcher Herbert Krugman reveal that, when a person watches television, brain activity switches from the left to the right hemisphere. The left hemisphere is the seat of logical thought. Here, information is broken down into its component parts and critically analyzed. The right brain, however, treats incoming data uncritically, processing information in wholes, leading to emotional, rather than logical, responses. The shift from left to right brain activity also causes the release of endorphins, the body’s own natural opiates--thus, it is possible to become physically addicted to watching television, a hypothesis borne out by numerous studies which have shown that very few people are able to kick the television habit.

This numbing of the brain’s cognitive function is compounded by another shift which occurs in the brain when we watch television. Activity in the higher brain regions (such as the neo-cortex) is diminished, while activity in the lower brain regions (such as the limbic system) increases. The latter, commonly referred to as the reptile brain, is associated with more primitive mental functions, such as the “fight or flight” response. The reptile brain is unable to distinguish between reality and the simulated reality of television. To the reptile brain, if it looks real, it is real. Thus, though we know on a conscious level it is “only a film,” on a conscious level we do not--the heart beats faster, for instance, while we watch a suspenseful scene. Similarly, we know the commercial is trying to manipulate us, but on an unconscious level the commercial nonetheless succeeds in, say, making us feel inadequate until we buy whatever thing is being advertised--and the effect is all the more powerful because it is unconscious, operating on the deepest level of human response. The reptile brain makes it possible for us to survive as biological beings, but it also leaves us vulnerable to the manipulations of television programmers."

Evelyn - posted on 01/06/2013

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Aleks and Kristi do have some good points. Sometmes in writing it does sound like what they said it does. But you can not lay blame on parents that are doing the best that they can with what they have. I know I said that some parents don't do it at all and some are very young and do not know how to parent or have people to help them learn and some very young just do not care. I have seen a variation of all of these but you also have some older parents that are the same way. But there is that narrow group that because of their situation have to work or they do not have what they need in home, utilities, food, clothing etc. Some of them are single parents and they may work a lot to get this done. Therefore, the kids are with a babysitter and unless the parents say something about what they want done with their kids then its not going to be done. It works both ways. Communication about what is needed or wanted has to be established.

You can not blame technology no matter if it is the TV or a iPhone or computer. ITS how its used. My thing is about children and TV at ages 2 and under. Its about their brain development. Now, people are still going to have that old TV on and kids are going to look at it when something catches their attention. And there are those that turn it on and sit the kid in front of it all the time. Limits have to be set by parents and others so children get the benefits they need out of their day as they play and do things. My kids were even exposed to TV and of their own choice they did not watch much of it under 2 unless we sat down as a family and watched a video back then or dvd. Anyway, the thing is even this, with all the video games, tvs, movies, computers, internet and such....Kids are loosing one important thing in their lives....IMAGINATION.

[deleted account]

I can kind of see where you are coming from (after reading the last post). When my son J was little (he is 8 now), for the most part, any exposure to TV before the age of 2 was still considered harmful--it was sited as one of the root causes for ADD/ADHD, and several other mental disorders; however there was a growing assertion among both parents and professionals that specifically programmed TV in moderation might not be harmful at all and could, in fact, be beneficial.

Links between TV exposure and the origination of ADHD were being disproven, and researchers were discovering that the "quality" of time spent with children could be improved by short intervals of TV exposure that gave the parents time to tend to other chores, or simply relax and have an adult moment.

Many parents, I believe, may have heard about this research in very condensed articles and taken it to mean that TV could be "educational" or that TV could be beneficial in any form, and thus, they allowed their children hours on end of TV.

It is still held true that TV cannot "educate" a child. It CAN reinforce what a child learns at home, and it can introduce them to new ideas. Programming should be commercial free and non-interrupted. TV should not be used for more than 20 to 30 minute increments until children are older, then occasional movies are great, but should still remain commercial free--not so much to avoid the marketing (though I would argue that is a definite plus) but because the way commercials are designed and aired has been linked to changes in brain activity that can have long term effects).

That said, in my area, I think most parents took the new approach with caution. When J started school, all of the children in his 5k class could write their name, say their alphabet, and do basic math (addition, subtraction). J as well as several others were even reading short sentences and writing new words phonetically. J didn't start school until 5k though (he was 4, but would be 5 by the cutoff)--no preschool for us. My state does not allow testing early into the public school program unless a child is behind academically--if you believe your child is behind, you can have them tested to start early in the 4k program so that they are on par with the rest of the kids when they reach 5k. I do think parents should make sure their kids are ready for 5k before they start--all public school districts in the states publish expectations and curriculum requirements online, so parents can look at their district and see what their child is expected to know before the first day of school.

Cecilia - posted on 01/06/2013

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Mary you are the exact example of what I mean. Use television to help you get things done that NEED to be done. When those things are settled, spend time together.

Cecilia - posted on 01/06/2013

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Firstly, if I came off as harsh, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to sound that way. I reread what was written and i can see why it might seem that way. One problem with text is you can't hear tone that would be used, it has to be assumed.

I only used the word stupid because that was the way it was said in other thread. "TV will make your child stupid." No one in my mind is stupid. Everyone has their own skills, some are book skills, other social, some just have an amazing way of seeing the world.

As far as my argument, I guess when i started i didn't fully know what it was enough to write it correctly. My argument is that others are have this war against TV. That it is evil and will do nothing good for you or your child. If you use it, you become a bad parent and that you will end up with a less intelligent child. I am in some way trying to defend television. It can be used for good.

With that said, television does not teach the child, you do. the parent needs to be involved in all aspects, including choosing what TV to watch. They are responsible for teaching their children all the skills they need. ABCs, manners, writing their names, knowing colors and shapes.

I only mentioned that children didn't know how to write their names because that's all I really knew for sure. The first day of school all children were required to pick up a marker and sign in on a large piece of paper on an easel. Maybe all of these children knew ABC's, I don't know for sure. It was just one thing that was shocking to me. It was 7 years ago and it is still stuck in my brain.

Even if the child didn't know colors, shapes, abc's, names it isn't their fault- it's their parents (if there is no disability preventing such a thing from progressing on schedule)

I hope that clears it up some. Excuse my floating around on the argument, usually i write on the forums late at night after the kids go to bed and my brain might be a little.... lacking by that point.

Mary - posted on 01/06/2013

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As with anything in life, TV is something that is fine if utilized in moderation. Are there extremists who will proclaim that all TV is bad and rots the brain? Of course. However, the sensible, confident parent will just let those criticisms roll right off their back.

I'm a SAHM to my 4 y/o daughter. I have no inhibitions or shame in saying that she does watch between one and two hours of TV a day. If she didn't, I would never be showered or get anything done. She doesn't have any siblings, so I am her playmate - and a child can only spend so much time self-entertaining. As an adult, I can only spend so much time playing before our house completely and utterly falls apart and is unlivable. There has to be a balance.

I have no guilt about this. At four, my daughter can identify and write every letter of the alphabet, as well as tell you what sound each letter makes. Not only can she write her own name, but when we did Christmas cards for her preschool class, she wrote each child's name on the card (with spelling help from me). She can count past 50, and write all of her numbers as well. On a daily basis, barring heavy rain or snow, that girl walks a minimum of one mile with me and our dogs; we have explored every possible inch of the woods, streams, and fields within a 5 mile radius of our home. She is currently in both ballet and ice skating. By the age of 3.5, she could swim the width of the pool underwater without any type of flotation device or assistance.

I'm fairly confident that the time spent watching TV while I pay bills, shower, or scrub the kitchen floor has not negatively impacted her development. In fact, I'd say that most of what she watches on PBS kids has only enhanced and reinforced a lot of what I am teaching her. Used in the correct manner, TV shows geared for her age group can and should be complimentary to what she is learning and experiencing on a daily basis.

Cecilia - posted on 01/05/2013

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ok if you send your kid to the babysitter while you work. The babysitter relies on the TV for most of the time. Is it the babysitter's fault or the TV's fault when this child doesn't go outside and play and explore the world in the time you were at work? If you look at it in this way and remove the fact of the "parent" it becomes a little more clear. You blame the sitter for not doing their job correctly.

Cecilia - posted on 01/05/2013

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True but isn't our job as "wiser" parents to teach them to spend time and teach their kids abcs and for god sake... teach some manners (sorry but that had to be thrown in there)

we need to teach mothers that spongebob isn't going to ruin their child in 15 minutes, but he might with 4 hours a day.

Evelyn - posted on 01/05/2013

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Truth in what you say. But there are also a lot of people who become parents at a very young age and do not know what they are supposed to do and did not have that example to learn from and so they do what they were done with. Its hard and TV is their answer to keeping their kids quiet. I do know a lot of young mothers and fathers who are doing what they need to do with their children too.

Cecilia - posted on 01/05/2013

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Although, i understand what you are saying...I know teachers can't fully teach 17 kids at once, which is why parents need to do their part also.

the issue isn't simply about kids who can write their names. It's the fact that so many people want to point fingers and say TV is the reason these skills aren't there for some children.

I've read so many times on this forum that women say don't let a kid watch tv. They called a mother who used the TV to have time for a shower "selfish." They tell women that their kids will be dumb if they continue to let a child watch yo gabba gabba. How many mother's are here simply because they don't know what to do and this is the advice people are giving.

Evelyn - posted on 01/05/2013

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Well, I would say it depends on each case. There are so many factors at play in each child's situation. As I described my two kids. Not all kids can get it about writing their names. Maybe some parents did work with their child and it did not connect. All children learn at different rates and can not expect them all to be on the same page. THat is the kind of teaching that is done in schools, one way, one standard. Everyone learns differently. Some learn hands on, others learn by audio or visual, some can learn mainly with books. And when you pile in kids to a classroom where there are so many and even 17 can be a lot, its hard for the teachers to give each child the attention they need with all the testing requirements and such they have to meet each year. And if the child has delays or disabilities, not all parents know there are services out there for them to take advantage of to make sure their child is up to par with peers. Sometimes they are not told by their doctors or others who do know of said services. And with this fast paced world, not everyone stops long enough for everything they need to.

Cecilia - posted on 01/05/2013

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and let me clarify, not being able to write ones name does not make for a stupid child. It was just a general thing i noticed on a large scale. It's everything combined, even down to a parent not being involved even after school begins. Not saying join the PTA, blah i couldn't imagine me doing that... but ask if they have homework.. make sure it gets done... you know, the basics.

Cecilia - posted on 01/05/2013

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They had to take a test to allow them to start early. They were only a year early since they would be 5 by the cut off date the next year. They each had one year of preschool also. (the reason they were in pre-school early is because both are legally blind and we started early because the thought was it would take them much longer to get school skills down. Mind you I pretty much knew about their disabilities from birth, this gave me a huge advantage when it comes to these things.

I do understand not all the children will be able to write their names. But not one... not one other child in either classroom could do it.. That's where it became sad for me. 17 children in each class unable to do it. so 34 kids.... don't you find that to be a huge lack of parental involvement?

Evelyn - posted on 01/05/2013

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Cecillia~How did you children go to school at 3 when most public schools anyhow want them to be 5 by certain dates? I was just wondering.

You are right, it is not all the TV. But not all parents to answer your question can be there with their kids those five years all day everyday. In a lot of families both parents have to work. In those where they do not, there may be children with learning delays that do not enable them to be able to write out their names at the age of 4 or 5. My daughter learned to write her name out six months ahead of the game because is is a long name to master. With my son, whom we found out had a learning delay or disability, it was harder to get him to do that. It was not until he got to school that we found out he had this problem and it had nothing to do with being in denial, we did not really know for sure though he was behind in walking and a few other milestones, he seemed fine in the rest. We did not know that there were resources we could have used to find out earlier that he had these delays. Even the doctors did not inform us but we did not know we could ask for this either. So there are a lot of things going on that we do not know in families as to why some kids can do things others can not. And of course you do have those that do nothing at all.

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