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Children and TV - are parents being demonised?

(66 Posts)
KateMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 09-Oct-12 17:39:24

Today's guest blog tackles the hot topic of children and TV.

A report published earlier today called for TV for under-3s to be banned. But psychologist Dr Amanda Gummer, who specializes in play and child development, argues that parents who let their children watch TV are being unnecessarily demonized. She calls for parents - and researchers - to look at the bigger picture when assessing what's really best for children.

What do you think? Is any TV too much TV? Or is it a case (as so often in parenting) of everything in moderation? If you blog about this issue, post your URLs here on the thread - we'll be tweeting them over the next couple of days. Mumsnet blogger Cary Bazalgette has already done so over at Toddlers and TV - so do have a look for a different perspective on today's report.

ActuallyMummy Wed 10-Oct-12 21:13:52

Ooh why is there no 'like' button on here. OscarPistoriusGirlfriend you have a very sane attitude to TV. The problem isn't with the TV, it's with the parents, and how they use it.

MmeGuillotine Wed 10-Oct-12 21:16:51

I have the opposite 'problem' in that neither of my boys (aged 7 and 4) watch television even though they are free to do so. DH and I have actually been a bit worried about this as it our elder boy has some problems making friends and not watching the same shows as the other children can't help although obviously it's about more than that. Also I think that many programmes are genuinely educational at lots of levels.

However, they both love watching films and have a few shows that they enjoy like Doctor Who, Invader Zim and Horrible Histories which they watch on DVD so they watch something!

Thinking about it though, neither DH nor I watch much television other than for a handful of shows so I suppose they've picked it up from us?

Anyway, back to the OP, I wouldn't have any problem with them watching television - I believe it's all fine in moderation. smile

Bumpstart Wed 10-Oct-12 23:32:21

I grew up with no tv, and I have to say that I have not learned the skill of ignoring it if it is on. If you are finding your tv deprived dc playmates boring because they have not yet learned how to ignore the telly, just explain that it's not tv time, and switch it off.

poppy283 Thu 11-Oct-12 07:03:27

Surely not everything dc do has to be highly educational by our standards though?

Small children find everything highly educational, including a bit of tv.

MrsLatcher Thu 11-Oct-12 08:29:20

This is one of the few things I don't worry about! As children I, my brother and sister watched absolutely loads of TV. I remember it driving my mum mad but I also remember how relaxing and cosy it felt to be cuddled up on the sofa with my siblings laughing at programmes together. Fast forward about 25 years and we are all educated people who read a lot and watch very little TV. In fact neither of my siblings even have one (no kids). We all did really well academically and are very sociable. So, as lots of others have said I think it is really ok as long as they also see and experience the world around them too. In moderation, it is a lovely childhood activity.

mommymarilyn Thu 11-Oct-12 11:08:01

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

tigercametotea Thu 11-Oct-12 22:23:56

I have not restricted TV for quite some time. About 2 years I believe. I don't restrict video games either. My children have chosen not to watch any TV for the past... well, for the last few months at least. Yes in the beginning, they go a bit ballistic, watching whatever TV they could. It did seem like all they did was watch TV. But slowly and surely, they just stopped caring about it. Now they are gamers. Are video games just as bad as TV? Well they do stimulate thinking and problem solving skills... with TV well they do stimulate thinking too.. if the children are not watching passively. I can recall some programs that my children love watching which I'd never think was bad, like the Walking With Dinosaurs series or the How They Did It type shows on Discovery channel. And sometimes TV is great for destressing... relaxing... it's not always bad.

ActuallyMummy Fri 12-Oct-12 09:41:31

I've been thinking about this since I joined the thread and decided that I actually feel quite strongly opposed to Dr Sigman's contention. So I've written about it on my own blog:
I'd love to know what you think.

familyonabike Fri 12-Oct-12 09:41:42

Funnily enough I wrote about this last week as a Talking Point on our blog (see this post The Goggle Box), although in the context of travel.

We don't have a TV at home but that's an irrelevance in these days of iPlayer etc but have struggled with the issue when travelling. Can you imagine finding a nice hotel in the centre of town, perfect for exploring, then all the kids want to do is watch cartoons, even in a foreign language!

Anyway the discussion was more wide ranging with contributions from parents who allow free reign to those who ban the box. What's interesting for me is that in that discussion viewing habits were not just about access but more about the family culture, values and habits. Kids can have unlimited access and no rules about tv limits and still not watch it at all. How much kids watch depends on much more than access to a set or setting boundaries - what else is going on in the family unit and how parents role model are probably more important.

ActuallyMummy Fri 12-Oct-12 10:36:51

familyonabike that's so true. Me and DH hardly ever watch TV either. What I want to know is how do people find the time??

Longtalljosie Fri 12-Oct-12 12:07:40

I think people who lump all TV in together are probably not exercising their brains properly. The idea of the "goggle box" or the "idiot's lantern" is such lazy thinking. I wouldn't lump the Jeremy Kyle show in with BBC4's offerings on modern art, or Andrew Marr's history of the world. Likewise, I wouldn't lump in some cartoons with my DD's current obsession, Numtums - which came along just at the right moment for me, we were learning numbers at home and suddenly there was this 5 minute programme she loved which was conveying the message every bit as well as I could. It's followed by Alphablocks for phonics. If there's a tool you can use, surely you use it?

Pancakeflipper Fri 12-Oct-12 12:17:44

I shall join those others banging the moderation drum.

In fact very shortly my DS2 is going to have his Friday afternoon treat. He watches an episode of Justin's house we Sky+ . He rolls on the floor laughing hysterically for 25 mins and I chill out. That's good for our family dynamics. All happy.

soontobeyummy Sun 14-Oct-12 19:06:33

I blogged a while back on how I don't want TV in my children's bedroom...

I'm pretty sure there isn't a parent on here that hasn't sat their little one in front of the TV in their first 3 years?!?! I have even felt strong enough about this to do a post on my blog Makes me wonder what they will think up next!

Leafmould Wed 17-Oct-12 18:50:41

Soon to be yummy, I like your blog, but I think you could go into a bit more depth of the reasons why you have come to this decision. Where is the analysis?

MmeLindor Thu 18-Oct-12 07:48:11

This is an interesting article, on the flawed science behind the article

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