Friday, October 28, 2011

My kids are watching TV so I can write this blog post

We must all be obsessed with children's media.

Seriously. It feels like not a day goes by without a headline touting the ill-effects of kids' media use and screen time. And that's just for this week.

More Kids Sleep With TV, Study Finds (Wall Street Journal)

Screen Time Higher Than Ever (New York Times)

Infants and iPads? It’s Not As Farfetched As You Might Think! (ABC News)

Kids Increasingly Staring at Glowing Screens, Study Finds (PBS NewsHour)

Trying to gauge the impact of growing up digital (Boston Globe)

Common Sense Media released a report this week, and the results are not surprising: Kids ages 0 - 8 spend an average of 1.44 hours watching TV or videos in a typical day. Forty-seven percent of babies (gasp!) watch TV too; up to two hours a day. And...(double, draw dropping gasp!!) kids have TVs in their bedrooms.

And here I sit, writing about all of this as my kids sit in front of the Disney Channel so I can write this blog post.

I'm not so shocked by the results of the study or the news media coverage, but by our collective obsession as a culture. Are we in denial? Clearly, the TVs and iPads and mobile devices are ON. And despite YEARS and YEARS of negative coverage when it comes to the ill effects of children's media consumption, we're not slowing down. Maybe it's the American Way. More, not less! Why should someone tell me what, where and when my kids can watch?

Meanwhile, apps abound. Good apps, too. And really excellent educational TV. It's all part of living in the modern age... or is it?



Mira said...

Great post. My beau and I had our 2 year-old Godson for the weekend and were shocked by his love for tv, his DS and our iPad. We tried playing with wooden blocks, flashcards, outdoor activities...he couldn't be bothered. While children can learn loads of info from tv etc., I find myself wondering when does it become too much. He wanted to watch tv and tv while getting dressed....and if you let him, he carries the DS everywhere, even when he's not playing it. And all I could think was...will my child grow up the same way? I'm not a parent yet, but I can see that parents sometimes use tv and other electronics because they need a think, cook...anything. But I wonder if parents opt for things like blocks to occupy kids in the early ages if kids will find non-tech ways to entertain themselves when parents need a minute away?

Allison Ellis said...

Great point, and thanks for your comment, Mira!

Children's toys, games and reading material (roughly defined as "children's entertainment) all has to compete with kids media (TV, DS games, Wii games, iPads, etc.) and sadly, many of these non-traditional products can't make it in this new media frenzied world.

Still, look at companies like Melissa & Doug, who have redefined children's playtime with simple, wholesome and highly engaging toys. It IS possible, just perhaps more difficult.

Mira said...

Ok, you're speaking to my heart lol....bc I love Melissa & Doug. Found the company when looking for toys for my eco-friendly day care. Day care kids loved them, but my Godson not so much :) the day care kids seemingly had less exposure to electronics. I asked each parent during interviews to gauge what the kids were used to in terms of entertainment. Good chat..look forward to reading more.

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