Kids and TV and computers

This has been written about on so many blogs I read and even on television programs themselves that I was hesitant to write about it.  But since we have a  pretty loyal following, I wanted to ask you.  How much TV do your kids watch and is it a problem for you?

I find the media, and by that I mean computers, VCR’s, DVD players, iPod’s, cell phones and such have really changed the way kids “play” now.  My kids had Sesame Street at noon followed by Mr. Rogers and a few cartoons in the late afternoon.  That was pretty much it as far as TV watching went.  They had Saturday morning cartoons and that was a few hours on Sat morning.  There were “programs” such as The Dukes Of Hazard, The Incredible Hulk, Night Rider and such that were on once a week.  But pretty much, cartoons weren’t on all day long like they are now.

When I have my grandchildren here, I find they would rather play.  If the TV is on, I find that it’s more of a background noise.  My oldest grandson Bailey would never ask me to turn on the TV if playing outside was an option.  He will get up in the morning and watch it until we’re up but that’s about it.  My granddaughter Trinity is just getting into the Hannah Montana and H2O type shows but they aren’t on “all the time.”  The youngest, Christopher, likes the TV on but he might stop and look at it once in a while but he’d rather play.  With him, it’s watch it now and then.  I think he likes the commercials more than programs.

None of them ever ask to go on the computer.  I have to say that when they are here, they would much rather play outside pretending things.  They go “hunting” and they can play pretend things all day long.  They swim, play in the HUGE sandbox, make forts and well….just pretend things.  When I first heard of “webkinz”  I asked Trinity what they were and she’d never heard of them.  I guess they are little stuffed animals and kids play with them along with a website where you play games and “buy” things for them.  Kids as young as 5 are playing them.  There are also websites where little girls can go play “dress up” and you dress dolls on-line.  Now, given the choice, there is no way Trinity would rather put clothes on a doll on the computer versus her own dolls in their own clothes that she does “for real.”  Bailey would much rather go “hunting”, (pretending) “for real,” than do it on-line.  Or play sports.  If he could play ball “for real” there is no way he’d rather do it in a game either on-line or a video game.  He’d like the video game if for “real” wasn’t an option.

Yes, I have been guilty of using the TV as a babysitter for both my own kids as well as the grandchildren but that’s really only if I need to shower or am cooking.  I guess I’m saying that I used it as a time filler.

So what about you and yours?  What are your feelings about all the technology today?


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9 Responses to Kids and TV and computers

  1. amberfireinus says:

    I was NEVER allowed to watch TV as a child. I was given books and learning activities. I didn’t really watch TV until I was 10 or so. We played outside with friends having adventures.

    My niece watches alot of tv (although that is when she is with her Chinese grandparents and she gets to run the show). She is 13 now, and loves her computer and her cell phone. She loves to text message now. She gets the eyeball from me about it however, and I don’t like her to do it when in the presence of anyone else. Its rude.

    I think kids personally have too much stimulation given to them all of the time. They don’t ever have to use their imagination anymore or practice self restraint.

    I have a girlfriend who pops a video into her car dvd player to take her children 3 blocks to the grocery store and back. They REQUIRE stimulation at all times! What the hell happened to having to sit and behave yourself? What happened to conversation? Don’t parents do that anymore?

    I have seen children play hand held video games in nice restaurants while their parents completely ignore them as though they are not there. I am horrified every time.

  2. Tosha says:

    My kids watch limited amount of TV. They are not allowed on my pc as its used for work. They do not have ipods, cell phones, etc. They do have a tv in their room but they can only watch dvds on it and they must come get the dvds out of the living room and ask to watch them before they are allowed to do so. My kids spend 98% of their time outside playing. Just like I did.

    During the hottest part of the day, because it gets so hot they are allowed to stay in the house and play. They get 30 minutes of game time a day on the Wii and thats it. I like the wii because they have to get active with it and move around. They aren’t sitting still infront of the tv. Cole likes boxing the most. You should see that kid go.

    My kids don’t have any other electronics other than that. They are forced to interact with each other and use their imaginations. We have books, board games, chalk boards, crafts, and a yard for them to play in.

  3. SKL says:

    I rarely put on the TV for my kids. It is often on because someone else living here can’t live without a continuous diet of CNN / Fox. But I try to avoid letting the kids get sucked into the TV. All their toys are in a room with no TV, and they play outside as often as reasonably possible. I know their nanny sometimes turns on the TV for them, but I have told her I don’t like it so I don’t think it happens much.

    My kids have plenty of electronic toys and a CD player with a wide variety of CDs, and they love to tinker with computers, cell phones, etc. If I am checking my email or blogging in their presence, they beg me to include them. (I think I heard the word “please” for the first time yesterday when Baby A wanted to help me check the news.) But, I don’t have them using the “real” computer (to do baby games or whatever) yet. I have nothing against electronic toys or video/audio, but I feel the “real world” is 1000% better for their minds and bodies. Eventually, it will be important to build their computer literacy and such, but we are a few years away from that.

  4. nikki says:

    During the winter months it’s a little different. He does tend to watch more T.V. He does have an obsession with Adam Sandler. But we like to play board games and Rockband also. Things we all can do as a family. Bailey is most definitely an outdoors men. Even in the dead of winter he’s out there with a ball and bat and his dog! He is into the video games but it’s all in moderation. And most are sports games. I don’t mind them, it’s teaching him positions, names of players, hand eye coordination. He’s really into reading about our service men, almost all his library books were about that and different sports teams. He would never choose a T.V. or video game over going outside so I don’t think there is a problem. His favorite thing right now… FISHING all day every day!!!

  5. Sue says:

    I think my kids watch more TV on the weekends than during the week. They can watch cartoons until 9am and then it’s off until the late afternoon. It’s easier when Trin is at school because Christopher can’t run the TV by himself, but Trin can so if she’s tired of playing outside she’ll come in and turn on cartoons for them. That’s probably our biggest problem now! We have a Wii and every once in a while the kids will ask to play, but they’d rather be outside or pretending something else. They watch TV WAY MORE than I ever did! Oh, and Christopher LOVES the computer. He plays Blue’s Room and JumpStart and even Trinity’s school games, but at least he’s learning something. The hand eye coordination amazes me for that little guy!

  6. Jane says:

    We in general don’t watch a whole lot of TV. The news always but we aren’t inside enough to watch during the day. Our son is always with one of us so he’s outside too. He also has“his chores” to do. We did get the Wii for Christmas last year and I don’t even feel like that’s a video game the way you really move when you play. We do play board games with him and do a lot of reading. The only time he really watches is when I’m fixing supper and it’s usually a video as we don’t have a dish yet or cable. He’s just not that interested in TV so I’m not pushing it. He does have a few games he likes to play on the computer but he’d rather play with us so when we can’t, he will play on the computer but I don’t worry because it’s not a lot.

  7. Ali says:

    I feel this is like most things, in moderation, it’s fine. My son is only going to be 4 this summer. He likes some TV but not a lot. Given a choice, he’d much rather be outside. He does like to play some games on the computer but only for a little while. But neither my husband or myself watch TV 24-7. We like “shows” but it’s not on unless that show is on. We listen to music or the ocean. But if he wants to watch something, unless someday it gets out of hand, I have no problem with it.

  8. K. Trainor says:

    My kids would happily watch TV all day if I let them. I don’t let them. They can watch awhile, but then I turn it off. They seldom argue the point, and usually wander outside. Well, my 9 yr old usually wanders outside. Her big sister is a voracious reader and will usually wander off with a novel, indoors or out.

    I agree that kids have too much stimulation from electronics and not enough from good old conversation and play time. Personally, I love video games–but in moderation, and usually *with* my children so we can spend that time having fun together.

  9. candi says:

    My children watch a movie before bed in the summer, no other tv is on. During the winter months they watch more, well because its cold out, but they are still usually outside riding snowmobiling. So tv is really not a problem with children either.

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