To wonder why people get so defensive about babies watching tv?

(128 Posts)
Quilty Sun 24-Feb-13 21:27:04

Just that really. Was at someone's house with 10 month old baby watching cbeebies, I jokingly comment that I will delay putting the tv on as long as possible (in reference to the irritating song that was currently on) - cue babies mum getting hugely defensive about how much tv the baby watches, how it's only on before bed etc etc and lecturing me about how it's a godsend when you need to distract them for 5 mins so you can go for a wee.

I in no way suggested that I thought she was doing anything wrong, so why such a defensive reaction?

HumphreyCobbler Sun 24-Feb-13 21:29:30

i expect it is because she felt guilty about tv viewing - I had MASSIVE tv guilt over my pfb but not enough to stop me turning it on whenever I was desperate

I don't limit tv now but my dc don't watch that much anyway

numbum Sun 24-Feb-13 21:29:45

Maybe because you didn't explain that it was because of the song and she thought you were judging her?

DonderandBlitzen Sun 24-Feb-13 21:31:49

I suppose she wasn't to know that you meant because of the irritating song. She might have thought "I will delay putting the tv on as long as possible" meant that you wouldn't put it on until the child was older and wouldn't let a baby watch it.

Quilty Sun 24-Feb-13 21:32:30

I don't think because we were saying the programme was annoying.

If tv only on for half before bed, why the guilt?

FredFredGeorge Sun 24-Feb-13 21:33:06

Because it's percieved to be the sort of thing that lower class parents allow, so by implying she allowed it, you were implying she was lower class.

Despite the complete lack of evidence of TV watching having any impact on anything (although of course children who get little attention also often watch lots of TV, but it's the lack of attention not the TV that harms development) there's a perception amoung many that it's bad, and you did indeed imply that she was in the context of that perception.

Quilty Sun 24-Feb-13 21:33:06

*don't think so, I mean

OpheliasWeepingWillow Sun 24-Feb-13 21:35:00

I used to think babies watching TV was the devil's own work until my dd developed silent reflux, feeding aversions and general inability to eat anything without Makka Pakka in front of her.

So now I don't judge. I love iPlayer.

Jengnr Sun 24-Feb-13 21:35:44

Because they think you think they put their kids in front of the TV rather than spending any time with them.

I'm delaying my baby from watching tv but only until I've worked through the House box set smile

Plus my husband monopolises it all night, I don't want baby taking it in the day.

larks35 Sun 24-Feb-13 21:36:12

I imagine she thought you were judging her decision to allow her baby to watch TV, I know I would have. TBH the fact you have now posted about it makes me think you probably were.

ceeveebee Sun 24-Feb-13 21:36:31

If a friend said that to me I would assume they were being judgey and superior so would probably feel a bit defensive

McNewPants2013 Sun 24-Feb-13 21:39:35

Op have you got children yourself.

Tv with PFB was a godsend and I would have gotten defensive at a child free friend try to comment on my muddling through.

HearMyRoar Sun 24-Feb-13 21:43:29

Sounds like it was just a bit of miscommunication. You thought you made a joke while she heard a criticism. It happens. I've been known to get the same way when people mention their amazing sleeping babies.

I always thought I'd never watch TV with a baby. We don't even own one in fact. Unfortunately we are all sleep deprived and half an hour in front of horrible histories is sometimes all that gets us through the day. So not only do we watch TV but its probably not even age appropriate shock

Kiwiinkits Sun 24-Feb-13 21:44:02

Ahem.
TV is bad for babies as it's too fast, too flicky and too distracting for them. I'd be hmm about a 10 month old watching TV, personally.
Jaysus, it's a 10 month old, you can go to the loo with ONE baby. They're not that hard!

zoobaby Sun 24-Feb-13 21:45:27

I wonder... what exactly defines "watching tv"? Is it when you put on a programme specifically aimed at them and plonk them in front of it while you go faff about, or is it if they see tv? My DS "watches tv" because he's in the room when we watch it. DP (top gear and destroyed in seconds) delightedly points out cars and planes etc and I'd go insane BFing and staring at the wall for hours on end.

Kiwiinkits Sun 24-Feb-13 21:46:05
ClippedPhoenix Sun 24-Feb-13 21:46:24

There is nothing wrong with it. What on earth is going on. If you stick a baby in front of the tv all day then fair enough, that's wrong but other than that it's just ridiculous.

Quilty Sun 24-Feb-13 21:46:27

Obviously she must of took what I said the wrong way, because even though I've explained in my post what I meant it's still being taken the wrong way on here. We were commenting on how annoying the singing on the programme was, the baby wasn't even paying it attention for what it's worth.

ClippedPhoenix Sun 24-Feb-13 21:47:16

Id also suggest that people don't google everything to the hilt really. Everything in moderation is fine.

FlouncingMintyy Sun 24-Feb-13 21:47:17

I think its one of those things. The evidence is fairly convincing - watching tv is bad for babies and they should not do it (see also inhale smoke, eat sugar, sleep in a separate room).

People don't want to believe the research and prefer to pretend its a lot of irrational hysteria. Makes them defensive.

germyrabbit Sun 24-Feb-13 21:48:23

'Because it's percieved to be the sort of thing that lower class parents allow, so by implying she allowed it, you were implying she was lower class.'

wtf? shock

ChairmanWow Sun 24-Feb-13 21:48:40

<Gets popcorn>

ClippedPhoenix Sun 24-Feb-13 21:49:38

Exactly OP. All this hysteria about the tv is just ridiculous and makes me wonder how unhinged the parents are really. Get a grip really get a grip.

ItsOkayItsJustMyBreath Sun 24-Feb-13 21:50:17

I never thought I'd let ds watch tv the way I do and must admit to being a bit hmm at other mums putting the highchair in front of cbeebies but, since ds turned about 1, I have never been so grateful for 1 hour's 20 mins peace in my life!

Kiwiinkits Sun 24-Feb-13 21:50:21

The effects of infant TV watching in a nutshell: Infants don't understand TV; they're distracted by it; watched at night, it messes up their sleep; when watched with parents, the parents speak and interact less with them; when watching on their own, they're less likely to engage in developmentally beneficial play; and they might be developmentally delayed by it.

ClippedPhoenix Sun 24-Feb-13 21:54:22

are you for real kiwi? pack it up and stop with the scaremongering really. TV is not the devil incarnate you know grin Babys like colour and have a gnats concentration sphere so a bit of telly now and again when one wants to do their hair isn't about to stilt their development.

AmberSocks Sun 24-Feb-13 21:56:42

I like tv,we actually didnt have a tv for a year or two and i missed it,not so much for the children but because sometimes its nice to just relax and watch something on the telly.

My kids dont watch much tv but i dont limit it,they dont seem bothered,i wish they would actually as it would make life easier for me!

As for its pros and cons,there are pros ad cons to everything,i think tv has some real educational value,same with video games.Saying that,i dont believe there is anything on tv you wouldnt learn about if you didnt have one iyswim.

Kiwiinkits Sun 24-Feb-13 21:56:57

Well all in moderation. Not hysterical, just concerned about the lack of understanding about the effects of flickering screens on babies. I do think it comes from a lack of parental education, having the TV on too much. Parents and carers who are clued-up on early childhood development tend to restrict TV for under 1s because they know its not developmentally appropriate.

ceeveebee Sun 24-Feb-13 21:57:58

5 mins here and there won't do any harm
And comparing TV to inhaling cigarette smoke? ODFOD

AmberSocks Sun 24-Feb-13 21:58:06

When i was breastfeeding dc3 whe dc1 and 2 were 2 and 11 months,tv was a godsend!

Kiwiinkits Sun 24-Feb-13 21:59:34

Yep, for real. My 2 year old loves TV, she has about an hour a day of DVDs or TV - that's appropriate. My 10 month old, well she is better off without it. When she's a bit older, no problem with starting her off on some educational programmes.

Kiwiinkits Sun 24-Feb-13 22:00:04

5 mins here and there, fine.

ClippedPhoenix Sun 24-Feb-13 22:01:55

Im clued up to the hilt kiwi, I won't bang on about what I do but TV is not the devil nor are video games nor are any other thing to do with technology. Balance is the key here. All these things are educational in their own right, abuse of them and no other interaction is what's wrong.

Quilty Sun 24-Feb-13 22:03:13

Well think some of the comments has answered my question. Didn't realise that tv even in small amounts was so taboo, so I guess that explains the defensiveness.
I hardly think the tv being on in the background is child abuse. Now I feel I need to make sure she knows I wasn't criticising sad

And I'll be adding tv to the list of things not to get into a discussion about with other parents. It's a minefield out there!

ClippedPhoenix Sun 24-Feb-13 22:08:29

It's silly huh OP. I never restricted anything to be honest and my off spring is very balanced and fuctional. They get a new game for instance and of course they want to play it more for a while. They get a phone and of course they want to be on it for a while. Don't we all when a new gadget/toy is bought. That's all it is and nine times out of 10 it will be on to the next so what?

The TV has been around for a long time and watching it will not send one mad, baby or not.

A person restricting and being contolling will though!

ItsOkayItsJustMyBreath Sun 24-Feb-13 22:08:52

Kiwi how do you stop your 10 month old from watching it if your 2 year old does? <genuine question, not looking for an argument>

Kiwiinkits Sun 24-Feb-13 22:11:09

I take her into another part of the room and read her a story or bring her with me to bang on some pots or something while I do the cooking. TBH it's nice to have some quiet one on one time with the baby with the 2 year old out of the way (and mesmerised!).

Kiwiinkits Sun 24-Feb-13 22:14:50

I honestly don't think life is that hard with a baby that the baby has to be plonked in front of the tv to have some time out. Get a grip, it's one baby - give him a chew toy or something!

ClippedPhoenix Sun 24-Feb-13 22:15:39

I would also have thought that doing those things were normal and instinctive too. A baby will get bored with the tv and follow you somewhere else surely?

Kiwiinkits Sun 24-Feb-13 22:25:29

Clipped, yes, she usually just follows me around. And yep, that's normal and instinctive. But if she did want to sit there staring at it I would quietly move her away on to something else. It may just be Fifi and the Flowertots to me and her sister, but to her its BLARING FLASHING WIZZ BANG FAST.

Kiwiinkits Sun 24-Feb-13 22:28:57

Lots of studies have shown the link between attention deficit/inability to concentrate and early TV watching behaviour. I don't want to link them because someone told me off for being a google monster before, but they are out there. Ignore them if you like, but on the other hand, its nice to do the right thing by your kids if you can.

ClippedPhoenix Sun 24-Feb-13 22:36:50

Oh pack it up kiwi. ADHD has nothing to do with a bit of telly, really it hasn't.

MorrisZapp Sun 24-Feb-13 22:39:47

What a load of pish. I didn't get where I am today by watching five minutes of telly now and then. I watch it for hours, like a normal person. Always have done.

My wee boy loves his programmes and learns loads from them. He's a lucky lad to have channels etc we could only have dreamed of. It causes me not one moment of unease, but my SIL has Done The Research and she's a scary mofo. I wouldn't blame anybody for getting on the defensive when faced with her, smiling assasin or no.

ClippedPhoenix Sun 24-Feb-13 22:42:56

babys wander and rightly so. if you stick one in a highchair for hours in front of the tv then it will obviously have an effect (more so from the non caring parental activity) but really scaremongering people about a few programmes that are rather colourful and bright is a bit rich really.

ceeveebee Sun 24-Feb-13 22:47:33

its nice to do the right thing by your kids if you can
Really? Gee, thanks for the parenting lessons kiwi

3monkeys3 Sun 24-Feb-13 22:55:39

I was really pfb about tv - ds1 was allowed to watch his Baby Einstein DVD once daily from the age of 6 months! Now, with 3dc under 5, I am more relaxed, but I still get the guilts about it - your friend probably feels the same and felt you were criticising.

As an aside, ds2 (dc3) has no doubt had the most exposure to tv from a young age and has had the quickest speech development of my dc. Probably a coincidence, but I don't think a little age appropriate tv does any harm.

SigmundFraude Sun 24-Feb-13 23:02:07

There's a fair bit of evidence suggesting that TV hinders development. I was absolutely adamant that my eldest wasn't going to watch TV, ever. I caved in when I had DS2, because DS1 found him extremely interesting and liked hurting playing with him.

Now they both watch it. But if anyone asked how much they watched (more than they should, probably) I'd feel defensive because TV=possible bad parenting (according to reports).

McNewPants2013 Sun 24-Feb-13 23:09:50

Why do people bring disabilities into threads like this.

Don't you think many parents with children with a disability wreck there brains about what they did wrong to have a child with ADHD, austism and any other disability.

Thank god for me I have laid that feeling to rest, because there is nothing I did wrong that my ds has austism.

munchkinmaster Sun 24-Feb-13 23:16:21

I was reading about the advice re no tv for under 2s the other day and wondered what counts as tv viewing. My baby doesn't watch tv in terms of kids programmes but I often have the tv on for me in the background. For example in the morning I'll watch the news while she potters or watch some crap at the end of the day. Not all day but it's well boring around here some days. She might glance at it but doesn't watch it really. Does this count as tv?

ClippedPhoenix Sun 24-Feb-13 23:21:06

Articles are just that, you could read a damn baby book and think your child isn't progressing.

My advice is stop doing this. Enjoy your child and do what you want to, if that means a few programmes on the tv then it does.

Throw the baby books on development etc. away. A child develops at their own rate, when not doing one particular thing that your friends child is doing they are developing other skills.

Stop it and don't compare!

whathellcall Sun 24-Feb-13 23:36:43

grin @ CJ Moriszapp

Who the fuck watches 10 mins of tv??? Ours goes on in the morning and off at night, switched off or muted for visitors, I'm not a complete scrubber wink

Kiwiinkits Sun 24-Feb-13 23:48:25

Don't be sarcy ceeveebee. You know what I meant.
Christ, why is this so controversial? I mean, we as parents try to give our kids healthy food, healthy physical activity, healthy relationships, good stable home lives etc etc etc. What's wrong with trying to give them the right start in terms of intellectual development? You'd think I'd pointed out that parents should be sitting down reading 20 books a day with their babies and taking them to baby signing every day or something like that. All I'm suggesting is that there are more appropriate activities for babies than TV. You don't have to be that creative to think up some alternatives.

Kiwiinkits Sun 24-Feb-13 23:53:08

Meh. Maybe I do have a stick up my arse. It's not the only thing I'm catsbum about! I could lecture you all from the other side of the world about bedtimes if you like?

FredFredGeorge Mon 25-Feb-13 07:01:17

Kiwinnkits Could you provide real evidence based research to back up your prejudices - wired articles and non-evidence based guidelines such that you've already linked too are not persuavive at all. The lack of evidence that it is the right start for intellectual development is the controversy, the correlation between lack of involvement and development and associated TV watching is documented, but there's no evidence I can find that link is causational and not simply a correlation. And uninvolved parents with no TV rules have just as poor outcomes.

Parents paying less attention to a child when a TV is on, is not the fault of TV watching, it's the fault of the parent - you can watch a TV program with your child, discuss etc. etc. all the same as "reading a story" together.

TheFallenNinja Mon 25-Feb-13 07:08:07

It really wasn't a non judgy comment now was it? More like a passive snipe.

quesadilla Mon 25-Feb-13 07:13:48

I think TV is one of those touchstone issues which people see as defining them class-wise (along with breastfeeding and organic food etc) which is why people get so sensitive and defensive about it and I think its quite out of proportion to the real risks and dangers TV poses. Established opinion also used to get very het up about novel-reading 100 or so years ago, thinking it was going to curdle women's brains etc. Every generation has a technological bogeyman.

Having said that I don't think its great to let kids watch TV for hours, unsupervised, and I think its as well to be aware of what they are watching. But the idea that watching an hour or so of CBeebies a day will give them ADHD or worse is just daft.

FlouncingMintyy Mon 25-Feb-13 10:22:04

I thought we were talking about babies watching tv on this thread, not toddlers or young children.

MiaowTheCat Mon 25-Feb-13 10:26:57

I'd love to be able to take my baby up to the loo with me as "one baby isn't that hard" - sadly after my legs have given way on the stairs several times - it's not a risk I'm confident to take of it happening with her in my arms during the working day when I'm on my own, and if I have to deploy the emergency Cbeebies button to be able to go have a pee - so be it and I'll do so without shame or guilt.

However I don't tend to have the TV on during the day much - not for any massive ideological objection, and I sure as hell don't judge people who do, but purely because adult daytime TV is fucking awful, and my brain can only stand about 10 minutes of kids' telly before it wants to implode. Considering I grew up in a house where the telly was ALWAYS on - I don't think you can even argue that it breeds telly addicts because I can totally take or leave the box.

If anything - the baby in question prefers watching football on there to anything else - I think it's the bright colour contrasts!

cory Mon 25-Feb-13 10:40:48

Have to say, if my baby had been doing something and a visiting friend said she would delay that activity as long as possible, then I would have felt she was judging it.

Wouldn't necessarily mean I was terribly hung up or defensive, just "if you're not judging, why are you taking the trouble to point out that you wouldn't be doing things this way?"

quesadilla that is what always springs to my mind - the Victorians held opinions on reading novels which seem almost identical to those of our era on TV viewing.

Common sense does suggest prolonged exposure to fast flickery images is not a great thing for babies, but I contest the claim I recently read on another thread that under 3s learn nothing from TV - as my name suggests we are Something Special fans, and my 22 month old has, apart from anything, learnt an awful lot of MaKaton sign language (the usefulness of that could be questioned, but it is something that those who disapprove of TV often seek to teach their children by going to expensive classes). His language is ahead of average, which is pretty good considering he is bilingual (English/German, not English/Makaton grin ) . My middle one also finally learnt (or rather consolidated knowledge of) his colours from Something Special - he had the colour vocab but somehow hadn't clicked til they did an episode on colours, then it seemed to fall into place.

TV isn't evil unless it replaces parenting smile

A lot of people who say their babies/ children don't watch TV have TV on for themselves at various times but choose not to count it, but as far as I can see the fast flickery images charge stands as does the reducing parental interaction... mind you if you're MNing reading a parenting book while your child plays without your attention it's reducing your interaction with the child just as effectively grin

Catchingmockingbirds Mon 25-Feb-13 10:58:21

Did you explain to her afterwards that you were meaning you found the music irritating?

MortifiedAdams Mon 25-Feb-13 11:00:51

op because what you said to her may have come across as judgy. I dont put cartoons on for dd (14mo) as she has enough around the house to keep her entertained. Our tv is on all the time we are home though, with stuff to keep me entertained. As such she doesnt even give it a second glance

Spero Mon 25-Feb-13 11:06:13

I think kiwi is right - as far as I recall there is clear evidence based research that ideally children under two should not watch tv or be exposed to other kinds of fast paced flickering images. Can't be arsed to google but wasn't it the big news about a year ago?

But the clue is the word 'ideal'. 90% of my parenting is not ideal, its good enough and that's good enough or me. But I always find when people get defensive about their choices, its because deep down they don't feel right about them.

Telly here and there, who cares? My daughter wasn't interested until she was 7 months, now she watches loads. Because I don't always have time or energy to be constantly interacting. That's life.

Kiwiinkits Mon 25-Feb-13 11:10:28

Funny you ask, here's a study they discussed on the radio the other day. A full blown, cross referenced, peer reviewed, scientifically compiled longitudinal study on why too much tv is bad for children. Granted, it's not about babies per se. press release for longitudinal tv study confused

Softlysoftly Mon 25-Feb-13 11:14:16

Oh bollocks dd1 is 3 now, dh watched Saw with her at 2 months shock I had a PFB meltdown because of all this pressurised bollocks and DH was hmm at me.

She's now advanced for her age and isn't yet murdering small animals so I think he was probably right.

Softlysoftly Mon 25-Feb-13 11:18:26

That research doesn't say what they were watching, when they were watching, what they did in between watching, what interaction they had with parents or others outside of tv, if they watched tv alone in their rooms, what age thy were.

Way too flimsy and the day itng is proved to cause antisocial behaviour in 11 month olds I'll eat my hat.

Kiwiinkits Mon 25-Feb-13 11:19:21

Quite right Spero, we can't be perfect all the time. No one is. And tv is very convenient.
Mortified, having the tv on all the time is having effects on your baby's brain that you'd be surprised about. It may seem like shes not noticing it but I assure you she is.

Dahlen Mon 25-Feb-13 11:20:31

I didn't let either of my DC watch any TV under the age of 2 because of research released by the American Pediatrics Association on the effects of TV on babies and toddlers. EVen now, my children's screen time is limited, too. That's my own, informed choice.

However, unless you are parking your child in front of it for hours on end, I think it's probably a massive over-reaction to claim children the country over are being damaged by watching TV. Yes, it's not ideal, but half an hour here or there, or a couple of hours when another child or parent is ill, etc, really isn't going to make much difference in the grand scheme of things, surely. It's about patterns of viewing, over time IMO. A well-cared-for baby, who gets lots of love, attention and other stimulation but who also watches an hour of TV a day is still going to do better IMO than a baby who is never exposed to TV but who doesn't get enough attention or love.

Kiwiinkits Mon 25-Feb-13 11:23:01

Softly, you're right, those are downsides of the study (which is the most comprehensive if its kind). The authors of the methodology in the 70s didn't think of all possible permutations. But the study is consistent with numerous others that show a general view that tv has effects on a child's brain that are generally not that great (scientific, me)

Locketjuice Mon 25-Feb-13 11:24:43

I have my tv on all day its just a background noise, I don't neglect my child, he isn't behind, I'm not a scummy mummy... Judge all you like smile

slatternlymother Mon 25-Feb-13 11:27:42

It is very convenient. Especially with an only child. Half an hour of Peppa Pig on a weekend whilst I unpack the shopping is fabulous.

When he is poorly, it distracts him and keeps him occupied whilst he lays quietly on the sofa.

I use it as a tool, tbh. Nothing anyone could say otherwise would stop me from doing it. If half an hour here and there is bad parenting, then meh. I guess I'm a bad parent.

<chalks 'too much TV time' up on Bad Mummy board along with all the rest of the offences>

I think sitting them in front of the TV all day every day would simply make them bored, and it would lose its appeal, so when you actually need them to sit still for 5 minutes, they wouldn't sit in front of the TV quietly. Not sure if it would cause 'anitsocial' behaviour.

slatternlymother Mon 25-Feb-13 11:28:03

antisocial sorry.

LittleTurtle Mon 25-Feb-13 11:34:52

My 10 month old does not seem able to 'watch' TV. He's still just not interested. Does not seem to know/see what it is really.

His older brothers on the the other hand are another story. We have to disconnect the antennae, and switch off the internet connection for them. They do get twitchy though.

ArtVandelay Mon 25-Feb-13 11:57:46

I agree with you MrTumble'sBFB - cbeebies is a huge support with teaching English. My son has learnt loads of new vocabulary and concepts. We do discuss the programmes while they are on and also afterwards.

I am not some genius super mother who can always be thinking of stuff to discuss. If we are having some quiet time in the house, we have always watched TV together and enjoyed it.

We spend a lot of time outdoors but sometimes I have to be indoors and do housework, study etc. I find DS will generally do stuff while he is watching not just gawp at the screen. I have the sound low as I'm terrified of loud noises damaging his hearing!

I don't allow Nickelodeon or Disney channel though because those shows are very, very fast paced and dramatic with little valuable information or morals. I am happy with the gentle pace of cbeebies and also its stance on inclusion.

Comparing TV to smoking around your child is hilarious smile

Spero Mon 25-Feb-13 12:05:30

Bloody fucking hell at watching Saw with a child of any age. I do judge that. That's really nasty.

Catchingmockingbirds Mon 25-Feb-13 12:09:13

I didn't have a tv when DS was aged between 2 and 4 yrs old but did when he was a baby, although it was mainly for digital radio. I hadn't realised tv wasn't recommended at all for babies (aside from babies/toddlers sat infront of the tv for long leriods of time obv), but yeh you're right; "The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has recommended that children younger than 24 months of age not be exposed to television" m.abs.sagepub.com/content/48/5/505.short. I feel guilty now as DS loved in the night garden and would watch it before bed, I thought it was adorable and I'd planned on letting DD do the same when she's old enough to be interested in it.

Iggly Mon 25-Feb-13 12:14:25

Tv is shit for babies, let's not pretend otherwise.

However if people want to let them watch it, then who cares I will judge silently

I will add that I held off on letting ds watch any until nearly 2. And once dd arrived and I was getting 20-45 mins blocks of sleep at night, he watched far too much.

I knew it was too much and felt guilty. We've cut down again and dd who's 15 months doesn't watch any.

Spero Mon 25-Feb-13 12:15:37

If half an hour of cbeebies at bedtime is going to 'harm' your child then as a species we are doomed.

I would imagine just as much 'harm' is done by the stressed out parents of my acquaintance who get so upset and worked up that little hyacinth has gone over her 20 minutes of screen time that day. Meanwhile I am cackling to myself behind the newspaper as another Simpsons hits the screen.

It's about moderation and variation. If you stick the telly on for hours and hours each day and do nothing else, then without doubt you are a bad parent, for all sorts of reasons. But a few hours here and there, even for young children, I cannot see will cause them serious damage.

Iggly Mon 25-Feb-13 12:19:23

A few hours a day is a lot IMO especially for a baby that spends more of 24 hours asleep than awake.

I didnt stress out - I just felt a bit guilty. Then turned it off. It didn't help DS's behaviour at all - he's like a zombie when watching which can't be right.

LadyBeagleEyes Mon 25-Feb-13 12:22:17

I dunno, ds watched loads of tv, when he was little and he's 18 this year and off to university in September.
He still got a bedtime story every night and chose to play outside with his mates when he was older.
There are some people that look on the past as some sort of idyll, and tv, computers and mobiles are seen as something evil.
But it's the 21st century, this is the norm now.

PanpiperAtTheGatesOfYawn Mon 25-Feb-13 12:22:58

Do babies actually 'watch' TV though? When DD1 is watching it, DD2 just ignores it and bumbles around doing her own baby thing with me, same in my friend's house.

ArmchairDetective Mon 25-Feb-13 12:33:28

My personal opinion is that Tv is a blessing and a course.

I tried to keep my PFB away for TV for almost a year, then when she was nearing a year she did watch a bit of night garden.

The good thing about not having TV on a lot ( I never had it on for myself in the day either) was that she never asked for it.

However, when DC2 was born, I had to use the TV sometimes to give her something to do while I was upstairs trying to get the baby to nap.

I tried to keep DC2 away from it as much as I could but DD1 started to ask for more TV the more TV she was introduced to.

Now DC2 is older they both like to watch together. I do try to limit it though as I don't like being asked to put it on all the time. The less they watch the more of a treat it is when I put it on at a time convenient to me (when preparing tea for example).

I do find that if they watch a lot, they get very lethargic and grumpy afterwards so it's definately not a good idea putting it on before DD1 goes to school but it's better when she's tired and grumpy anyway.

The difficulty with limiting TV is that as soon as my DC go to my relatives the TV often gets put on and I find it more difficult to limit it. It seems rude to ask GPs to switch it off but I do try to set up an activity or game if they've watched a bit too much.

Over Christmas they watched loads in other people's houses and were then asking me for it constantly for a while which I hated. They stopped playing with their toys and I honestly wondered why I'd bothered buying them.

The other thing that annoys me is that if DP is looking after them, he tends to just switch the TV on for an easy life.

Sorry for waffling but I think my point is I don't think TV in moderation is bad but be careful as you might end up with TV addicts who whinge and moan for cbeebies the moment they get out of bed.

MiaowTheCat Mon 25-Feb-13 12:35:47

I'll add I was obviously irreparably harmed by exposure to PlaySchool as a kid...

I bought a house with an octagonal window just because it (and the streets around with different shaped windows) reminded me of the "let's go through the round/square/whatever other one window" malarky

LadyBeagleEyes Mon 25-Feb-13 12:42:50

I was brought up with the Flowerpot Men and Weeed Miaow.
I wonder if that's the reason I smoked cannabis?

cory Mon 25-Feb-13 12:45:23

We didn't have a telly when dc were little. They are absolutely outstanding and wonderful in every respect pretty well the same as other people's brats really grin

ArtVandelay Mon 25-Feb-13 12:46:16

Then maybe DS will grow up to live in a shed on an island and make lots of porridge because he idolises Abney smile

Summerblaze Mon 25-Feb-13 12:48:48

Don't think that TV causes people to be axe murderers. What a load of rubbish. With my DD (PFB), I had TV on most of the day when we were at home. Obviously I went out to the shops, walk or visit people but when we were at home, it was on. It wasn't children's programmes but mine.

She was very early to talk and a very well rounded child who likes to do most things and she is coming up to 9. I watched a lot of TV as a child too. I still like the TV but my interaction skills are excellent (gossiping) and I too was an early talker and could read by the age of 3.

Surely if the studies are right, this wouldn't be the case. So the studies must be wrong. The studies never state how much other interaction is going on. If I stuck my child in a room and never spoke to him/her, then surely their development would be delayed whether there was a tv on or not.

Obviously I interact with my DC but nobody can do that all of the time. While you are on MN, you are not interacting either.

Wishihadabs Mon 25-Feb-13 12:50:02

I think the idea that TV seriously damages children is laughable TBH. By that I mean age appropriate TV, distressing images are distressing for small children. I remember when Ds was 2 or 3 he got terribly upset by the news I had on at lunchtime.

I think having it on "in the background " is much more damaging than a couple of ageaappropriate programs. The dcs are now 6& 9 and I am constantly surprised how well educated they are about current affairs (news round), history (horrible histories) and medicine (ouch I think). I think it helps us discuss a much wider range of subjects than I would if left to my own devices. It has also inspired us to find out more about certain subjects and organised days out.

Spero Mon 25-Feb-13 12:53:01

It is not as simple as saying - tv makes you an axe murderer. There is a lot more going on in your life to make you an axe murderer.

But I can say very clearly that a majority of the damaged and disadvantaged children I have ever worked with have had frequent exposure to violent and pornographic stuff on tv, mobile phones etc. at the very least it desensitises you.

I still remember watching Texas Chainsaw Massacre aged 10 with my even younger brother. He was allowed to take it from video rental place. My parents didn't know. I just don't believe that watching that kind of sadistic and abusive shit has no negative effects.

Iggly Mon 25-Feb-13 12:53:35

So Summer because your own daughter is fine then all of the studies must be wrong? hmm

We all know that we're getting fatter as a nation. Kids play outside less. Tv has something to do with it, let's not pretend otherwise.

ArmchairDetective Mon 25-Feb-13 12:55:27

"While you are on MN, you are not interacting either."

True but I can only do that while mine are napping or in bed as they would be climbing onto my lap and trying to take over the computer, ask for cbeebies or songs from You Tube.

I don't get much peace when mine are awake

Spero Mon 25-Feb-13 12:56:24

Summer, a sample of one does not disprove other research.

ArmchairDetective Mon 25-Feb-13 13:01:24

"at the very least it desensitises you"

Would agree with that. My DD was frightened when the school showed the gruffalo film at Christmas and the teacher had to tell me as she thought DD would come home saying "we were watching a scary film today" and I'd be wondering what the school had shown them. It was like water off a duck's back to most of the children.

ArmchairDetective Mon 25-Feb-13 13:03:11

That's not meant to sound smug, just that she isn't used to films like that with lots of "scary characters". Cbeebies is rather more tame.

Wishihadabs Mon 25-Feb-13 13:05:19

I think the idea that TV seriously damages children is laughable TBH. By that I mean age appropriate TV, distressing images are distressing for small children. I remember when Ds was 2 or 3 he got terribly upset by the news I had on at lunchtime.

I think having it on "in the background " is much more damaging than a couple of ageaappropriate programs. The dcs are now 6& 9 and I am constantly surprised how well educated they are about current affairs (news round), history (horrible histories) and medicine (ouch I think). I think it helps us discuss a much wider range of subjects than I would if left to my own devices. It has also inspired us to find out more about certain subjects and organised days out.

Spero Mon 25-Feb-13 13:10:52

I watched the first Harry potter with my daughter when she was four (caravan holiday, rain) and she was terrified to go to the toilet for A YEAR because Lord Voldemort lived down there. So I think you do have to be careful and you should certainly be monitoring what your children access.

grumpyinthemorning Mon 25-Feb-13 13:16:50

Oh, FGS, there's TV or music on all day in my house, hasn't done DS any harm. The first year would have been hell without my XBox. We talk along to a lot of programs, but it's also good for occupying him when I do housework (otherwise it would never get done - when I was a lone parent, there just weren't enough hours in the day. Now there still aren't, but I can get DP to do his share.)

Happy parent = happy child, and I go crazy without noise. Simple as that.

Summerblaze Mon 25-Feb-13 13:23:57

Its just the same as saying that because some children who watch tv end up with behavioural problems, ADHD, Autism, become criminals, then it must be bad.

I am not saying that my daughter is brilliant because of tv, I am saying that she is who she is and I believe would have been exactly the same regardless of tv watching or not. Who is to know what the studied children would have been like if they hadn't watched a lot of tv. They could have been exactly the same. Unfortunately with studies, you cannot do the same thing with the same child and children are all different. Two children could be plonked in front of a tv all day for 6 months and one could be fine and another could be delayed.

And I don't believe I said that they should be watching violent and pornographic stuff. That is a completely separate issue. The issue on this thread is with age appropriate programmes.

Feminine Mon 25-Feb-13 13:32:04

I have a nephew that was plonked in front of the TV for hours between the ages of 0-6.

When he started school he was already top of the class, and continues to be an A* student at 16yrs. I was very judgy at the time, very hmm that his parents were alright with it. But...it has had no ill effects at all.

My son, who I monitored (with TV) is( by comparison) quite lazy at school! grin

ICBINEG Mon 25-Feb-13 13:45:08

I am really startled by the idea that kids under two can't get anything from TV shows and generally don't understand what is on the screen.

My DD has, since about 14 mo, copied, acted out and told me about the things the octonauts get up to. (eg. she spent a week feeding her playmobile characters to a toy shark then yelling 'Oh noooo' and getting a kiss better for them).

Likewise when she sees letters she tends to mime whatever the phonics song item is for that letter (that she has only encountered on youtube).

So really not getting how it can be that she isn't getting anything from screen time.....

Fakebook Mon 25-Feb-13 13:55:14

My dd watches lots of tv and so does my DS. I don't care. They also play on the laptop and iPhone.

Dryjuice25 Mon 25-Feb-13 13:56:32

I feel guilty for letting mine watch tv (as long as they have done their reading and writing for the day and their homework, they can watch any age appropriate telly) because I was denied as a child!

But we treat it as a game though. My dcs watch it with subtitles on! (I know I know!) And they have to read along! Occasionally I ask forcethem to spot difficult words if they can be bothered I also do a running commentary if we watch together! They hated it before but they have learnt to speed read! grin And daughter aged 7 is fantastic at spelling.

Am I damaging them?

daisydee43 Mon 25-Feb-13 14:25:28

No idea, my dd has watched tv from baby age and sometimes it's the only thing to keep her quiet. I don't like the idea of kids attached to laptop or ps but I will cross that when it come to it

Catchingmockingbirds Mon 25-Feb-13 14:47:13

If just having it on in the background is apparently damaging too, I wonder if having music playing on the radio in the background is just as damaging.

Spero Mon 25-Feb-13 14:54:07

As far as I understand the research - and I only skimmed - it is not the noise that is the problem but the fast paced change of images which it is feared have a negative impact on the brains development and later abilities to concentrate.

ICBINEG Mon 25-Feb-13 15:08:27

Babies are so different....

I mean we should prob be done for child abuse because we never let DD have ANY of the things that young babies like before she was about 4 mo....you know like mirrors, things in black and white, toys of any kind.

That's because she had major over stimulation problems and would scream and arch her back if there was anything brightly coloured in her field of view (let alone black and white stripes...they would still freak her out up to 9 mo).

So did we fail to give her the stimulus she needed in her first few precious months?

Well if we did, I don't see we had any choice about it....presumably a ball of fury screaming their head off isn't actually learning much about the world anyway...

So I think it is clear that children will interact with TV in very different ways....

Kiwiinkits Mon 25-Feb-13 19:35:24

Fakebook, given the evidence, why don't you care? Do you care about other boundaries for your kids or do you just let them grow up without intervention from you for their own good. I just struggle with why someone wouldn't give a toss. It seems a bit negligent to me hmm

We have the tv on all day. Not just kids stuff either, he used to recognise the theme to waking the dead when he was younger. Now DS is a little older (17 months) I limit what adult stuff I watch with him there because of swearing. But Disney Jr is on pretty much all day. He watches the shows he likes, ignores the ones he doesn't. we still bake and do stuff together even with tv being on

iclaudius Mon 25-Feb-13 19:54:09

Fredfredgeorge I can educate you with long long lists of research studies and articles if you like....
I'd love to know where you get your sweeping statement from

iclaudius Mon 25-Feb-13 19:58:47

Clipped Phoenix - but do you think tv 'benefits' children with an ADD leaning?

Snazzynewyear Mon 25-Feb-13 20:08:02

Media effects research over the decades has been notoriously inconclusive. Not surprising when you think about all the other variables that just can't be acounted for.

iclaudius Mon 25-Feb-13 20:13:49

i agree snazzy but i think experts agree too much 'screen time' of one sort or another is not great in childhood

Kiwiinkits Mon 25-Feb-13 20:19:50

Frying pan, how's his concentration? Does he sit there, for example, and do a whole puzzle? Does he problem solve multi step problems? How's his bedtime behaviour? If he has trouble with these things perhaps you might try having the tv off for a couple of weeks. You might be amazed to see the difference.

his concentration is fine. He'll sit and play with his toys for ages. I'm not sure what kind of multi step puzzle he would be doing. He understands if he wants to put more plastic coins into the singing piggy bank, he needs to empty the pig to get the coins first.
Bedtime is great. Goes to bed at 6 if he hasn't had an afternoon nap, 7 if he has, and sleeps until half seven so I'd call that a win. Part of his bedtime is tidying his room, bath, bottle watching Winnie the pooh/story (mood dependent) and then bed. Maybe we've lucked out?

Squitten Mon 25-Feb-13 20:29:22

My Mum is a total telly addict. The TV used to be the first thing on in the morning and last thing off at night. We used to eat in front of it too. Whilst it certainly didn't make either me or my brother idiots (both academically successfull), there were noticeable side effects.

My Mum never did anything with us and we had a rather dull childhood as a result - we were taken care of but no fun memories. My brother quickly graduated onto video games and became utterly hooked on them as a teenager. The really odd effect on me, though, was that I grew accustomed to having it on in the background and to having the noise all the time. I found it very disconcerting to be in a quiet room and started to realise, as an adult, that I needed it on to be on in order to be comfortable! It was really weird and I slowly weaned myself off it and now try to use it sparingly, although I think I'm very prone to repeating my Mum's mistake and relying on it as a babysitter.

Coincidentally, however, our TV broke last night - completely conked out. DH had the IPad at work so we have had our first completely telly-free day in a long time and it was nice! I noticed that I was much more productive and the kids played much more together and fought less. We're going to see how we get on before we decide whether to replace it.

Also, kinda found that a little patronizing. Just so you know.

I didn't say anything to lead you to the conclusion he has any issues?

AmberSocks Mon 25-Feb-13 20:30:21

no healthy child with other options would sit and watch tv allllll day.maybe if they had strict limits in place before an they were removed,then yes at first but eventually kids learn to self regulate,its nature.They might watch more than you would like them too but if offered alternatives they wouldnt sit there watching it all day,i think the same applies to video games.

People always assume kids dont know whats best until we tell them but they are human beings and eventually they know when enough is enough.

Smudging Mon 25-Feb-13 20:36:38

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

PanpiperAtTheGatesOfYawn Mon 25-Feb-13 20:40:24

squitten I also have a friend who has the TV on all day long - for company rather than watching it. Her family background is a mess so I bet her not-so-DM used it as a permanent babysitter.

She is preggers with her first.

ArmchairDetective Mon 25-Feb-13 21:02:21

Grumpyinthemorning "Happy parent = happy child, and I go crazy without noise. Simple as that"

I find this fascinating and I'm assuming you are an extrovert as noise drives me crazy. I am an introvert and do find having two noisy DCs in a house hard enough at times without having TV or music on as well.

Dryjuice25 Tue 26-Feb-13 01:52:43

I struggleto understand why/how anyone could possibly have tv on all day!

Dinkysmummy Tue 26-Feb-13 07:24:24

I think it is has a lot to do with societies view of letting your DC watch tv as a bubba. As society believes (on the surface) that tv=bad parent.
I did lots of reading and playing and learning games with dd, but she also watched tv, bith her watching independantly and both of us watching Micky mouse clubhouse we did the missions together and picked mouska tools and did the shapes and colours ect.
I don't think that makes me a bad parent but I guess if someone had asked me how much tv my bubba watched before the age of two I would have lied to fit into societies boundaries of what is acceptable (on the surface, because lets face it, most people allow their kids to watch tv and it doesn't mean they are worse parents for it)

OP your friend was probably trying to fit herself into societies boundaries for tv watching and what is perceived as good/bad parenting.
Just level with her and tell her you didn't mean to offend her and that you don't think she is a bad parent for letting her DC watch a bit of telly.

Fakebook Tue 26-Feb-13 07:59:26

Fakebook, given the evidence, why don't you care? Do you care about other boundaries for your kids or do you just let them grow up without intervention from you for their own good. I just struggle with why someone wouldn't give a toss. It seems a bit negligent to me

Wtf. Negligent? Negligent is not feeding your child or cleaning them. Negligent is not giving your child things he/she needs, like a warm coat or shoes.

Letting your child watch tv isn't negligent. My dd knows her boundaries thank you very much. She knows the tv isn't turned on in the morning when it's a school day. She knows she can't sit and watch tv alone at night. She knows that she has to ask my permission to play on the phone/computer.
I didn't really want to show off or sound smug, but she is 5 years old and is already on a harder level in her maths kumon than most children her age. Her reading is exceptional. Her writing is excellent. She could make cakes by herself if I let her. She knows what ingredients you need to make doughnuts. She knows what trees are growing in our local park.

I could go on forever. My dd isn't neglected. She just watches a lot of tv. hmm

MortifiedAdams Tue 26-Feb-13 07:59:45

dry just as background noise. Like people who have the radi on on all day. My tv is, more often than not, on. I don't watch it apart from when dd naps and I put something on that ive recorded.

lightrain Tue 26-Feb-13 08:30:25

It's the same as anything, isn't it? If all you did with your children all day was read books to them (and never took them out to the park or walks, never did things like baking or jigsaws or painting, etc.) then they wouldn't be learning or developing as well as they could. Same with tv - if that's all you do all day then its no good. If you give a good balance to activities you do, and that includes tv watching, then tv can be enriching and a brilliant tool for learning and fun.

Locketjuice Tue 26-Feb-13 16:47:03

Why do you people care so much what everyone else is doing? Getting arsey over it.. Really? Watch a bit of tv and chill out wink

12ylnon Tue 26-Feb-13 17:01:50

Perhaps she thought you were judging?

Just had to say- i did the same as you and put TV off until DS was 2... It's honestly been the bigest parenting mistake i've made .
It made DS very obsessive about TV when i finally let him watch. Just warning you!

Squitten Wed 27-Feb-13 13:15:11

Panpiper My Mum often uses that phrase - "for company". Which is how she justified leaving it on for the cats(!?) When I told her that our telly had broken and we were considering not replacing it, her first question was "what about when I come to visit?" Total addict.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now