May 24, 2006

"Off To The TV We Will Go, Where We Learn Everything That We Know."

off_to_the_movies_southpark.jpg"Cuz the TV teaches us what our parents don't have time to sayyyy"

In yet another confirmation of the depressingly awesome prophetic accuracy of South Park: The Movie, a mother participating in the latest Kaiser Family Foundation study on infants and toddlers and screen-based media actually told her focus group, "My daughter knows her letters from Sesame Street. I havent had to work with her on them at all."

Um, great? So I guess not "having" to work with your kid on the alphabet frees you up to attack Canada?

The Kaiser study results tell us what we already know: that most kids under 2 watch TV, of course, but also that we--parents--are behind the move because it makes our lives more manageable. As another mom put it--and yes, 1,000 "parents" were phone surveyed, but the focus groups were apparently all moms--"Media makes life easier. Were all happier. He isnt throwing tantrums. I can get some work done."

Whatever the imagined/assumed/marketed benefits of watching TV--or the guilt we're obliged to feel for letting a kid watch a show--the thing that really blows my mind are the numbers of households were the TV is on all or most of the time (32%), and the percentage of kids with TV's in their rooms (32% for ages 0-6, but 19% for under 1 year old). I mean, I can't comprehend it, even if the reasons parents give make shrug-inducing sense:

The most common reasons parents give for putting a TV in their childs bedroom is to free up other TVs in the house so the parent or other family members can watch their own shows (55%), to keep the child occupied so the parent can do things around the house (39%), to help the child fall asleep (30%), and as a reward for good behavior (26%).
New Study Shows How Kids Media Use Helps Parents Cope [kff.org via nyt]
Babies and TV's Making More Sense to Parents [Two upbeat TV for Babies articles in three days? I think the NYT must be readying the launch of a DVD series for toddlers:]

5 Comments

There is not a more depressing thought than that of falling asleep to television.

[UNLESS it's this sweet 15" NBA Ball LCD television from Hannspree, which features a sleep timer! Just $549! -ed.]

Sigh.

Anyone remember the Simpsons episode where TV goes off the air for a few days? All the kids actually go outside and play in the fresh air and sunshine.

Are these the same parents that blame oil companies for high gas prices, while bitching that it is their "right" to drive some killer gas hog suv?

Ha, ha.

[don't forget the new Escalade has two DVD systems in back. -ed.]

I posted this comment before, but it bears repeating.

[um, dude, that is just massive, so no, but it bears linking and referencing, though. the original comment and the lengthy quote from a study on the potential neuronal effects of infant tv-watching are in the comments about BabyFirstTV.

I would never rely on television to teach my daughter the things I should be teaching her. That's why we only let her watch non-educational, mindless television. You know, like FOX News.

I think I have said this before also in a previous post.

I look at the TV situation a lot like the Sex Ed. situation. Yes, abstinence is the best form of birth control but as it is not widely practiced you need to have other safe healthy options available.

In a perfect world you probably wouldn't have kids and babies watching TV. But the reality is that you do. So why not have the safest, healthiest and most scientifically proven beneficial programming possible. (the studies are slow but progressing).

That being said, one of our kids is too young for the tube and the other has never been interested in ever watching it.

Its a choice and as long as the viewing is limited, carefully chosen and supervised I personally have no issues.

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