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Am I depriving my child by not exposing her to TV, Ipad etc?

(43 Posts)
FeralGirlCambs Thu 30-Oct-14 11:29:28

It's not some kind of super-strict matter of principle and not smuggery inverted as fake concern. I'm not very concerned, in fact, but just wondering... We don't tend to have the TV on in the day (though DH and I slump in front of any old crap after dinner) so she hasn't watched it at home for about 6 months. She's 3 and 4 months. In the winter we did the odd half hour of Night Garden if everyone was bored on Sunday evening. She never asks for TV, though it's on sometimes at her childminder's where she goes once a week. She hasn't watched any films (eg Frozen) and doesn't identify with the characters from them, though Peppa pig has books/fromage frais/clothing ranges etc so she's crossed the radar! And I don't think this is a bad thing. DD has lots of other reference points - books, toys etc. I have an ipad which sometimes when I'm being bad mummy I sneakily check email on while supposedly playing with DD / giving her her lunch / 'enjoying' my umpteenth cup of plastic tea and pretend biscuit from DD. I work from home and she likes my desktop computer because the screensaver has all our photos on - the best bit is spotting herself, as far as I can tell. She won't listen to CDs - she loves stories but likes it to be a two-way thing (Mummy, why is the tiger doing that? etc) and has never shown more than a passing interest in the Ipad. I don't have a smart phone and she shows no interest in phones except for speaking to people on them. I know there are supposed to be fabulous apps for children and wonder if she's missing out. As I said, I have no puritanical principle against technology for kids, but a kind of gut feeling against it that I've (we've - my husband feels the same) gone along with because she doesn't demand anything different. She is very active, very imaginative, likes mimicking 'adult' pursuits (cooking, DIY, gardening, cleaning, driving) and knows her numbers/easy sums, but not many letters though she LOVES books and words and has a very good vocabulary, albeit after quite a slow start. My efforts at teaching letters don't really seem to go in, but I'm pretty lazy and assume that she'll learn one day, whether at preschool (she goes 3 days a week) or school. She shows little interest in listening to music unless DH or I is singing along, but makes up her own songs and stories all day long.
Sorry for a long and unfocused post. I'd appreciate any thoughts on whether we SHOULD be exposing her to technology as part of life's rich pageant, or whether it'll come to her soon enough - at school, etc - and it's ok to more or less pretend it doesn't exist for now. I don't really feel I'm technologically-deficient, even though most of it - I mean the kind of stuff I'm talking about, not the wheel – wasn't beginning to be invented till my teens. Thanks!

NickiFury Thu 30-Oct-14 11:33:09

I think everything in moderation. She will be learning coding when she gets to school and I think she will be at a disadvantage if she has no experience of technology at all. She would soon catch up I suppose but I have really understood this insistence that technology is not needed at all for children, it shouldn't replace the books and drawing and puzzles etc but should certainly be part of it.

Squidstirfry Thu 30-Oct-14 13:00:32

I wouldn't worry about it. It will all change when she starts being influenced by her school peers. Enjoy these years she sounds happy and normal.

ladeedad Thu 30-Oct-14 13:08:05

I hope my DD is like this!

Our generation didn't become exposed to technology until we were in our teens/20s...and look at us now.

There really is no need for under-5s to be constantly on ipads, watching TV, playing computer games etc.

claraschu Thu 30-Oct-14 13:08:46

Technology is addictive, so kids start asking for more and more. I think it's great to avoid this discussion for a while and not have screens around the house.

She won't miss out at all, and can easily catch up when older. You are doing your whole family a favour.

Trollsworth Thu 30-Oct-14 13:12:28

Yes, you should be exposing her to some thingsthat are culturally normal for her peers. Can you imagine the first conversation she has in reception?

"Who do you like best from Frozen?"

"I don't know what you are talking about."

"Oh ... Ok. Who is your favourite princess?"

"I don't know any princesses"

"Do you know any of the games we play?"


That's not going to feel nice for her, is it?

Lottapianos Thu 30-Oct-14 13:15:44

'I know there are supposed to be fabulous apps for children and wonder if she's missing out.'

She's not smile The official advice from the American Association of Paediatrics is that 2 year olds should not have any time in front of a screen at all. 3-4 year olds should have a maximum of 30 minutes per day. She will have plenty of time when she gets older to discover screens, and at an older age, they will actually be useful to her.

Can't figure out the link but there is a Huffington Post article called '10 reasons why handheld devices should be banned for children under the age of 12' which you might find interesting!

claraschu Thu 30-Oct-14 13:53:54

Trollsworth, do you really think 4 year olds have conversations like that?

ladeedad Thu 30-Oct-14 13:55:31

Trollsworth, that's awful.

You don't push activities on children so that they will be able to 'fit in' better. You do it because they have already shown an interest and because it will be fulfilling for them on something more than a superficial social level.

Trollsworth Thu 30-Oct-14 14:09:55

I have an eight year old and an eleven year old. Four year olds DO have conversations like that, regularly. There is nothing quite like a five year old girl for making you feel shit about your social skills and life experience when you are four.

I'm not advocating pushing an activity onto a child, I'm advocating exposing her to it.

Of course, in Magical Perfect Mother land, no child would be aware of Disney, princesses, computer games or the Internet, but that's not where your children have to live.

FeralGirlCambs Thu 30-Oct-14 14:11:47

Thanks all for your responses, especially the two people under Trollsworth because I could feel the tears welling up when I read hers, not that it's necessarily incorrect (I think I WAS that kid! I mean the one who didn't have the pop cultural references) I think the variety of responses is really interesting. I'm certainly not banning that stuff, just not presenting it which given that life for a pre-school age only child is effectively a parent controlled gulag may amount to the same thing (Ok, I do let her out sometimes, so I can enjoy my screentime in peace work grin) I really can't bear to go and see Frozen, though. But I think I'm weirdly TV/film-averse - not against them, just lose concentration after ten minutes and would rather do something where I was in control (read newspaper supplements, mindlessly surf the net, nothing especially highbrow) or go for a walk or cook. I'm aware this makes me the kind of person that was picked on at school. I was. It didn't do me much harm in the end, I reckon, but it breaks my heart in advance to think of DD enduring a second of unpopularity or bullying. [better brace myself].

Trollsworth Thu 30-Oct-14 14:12:29

Oh, I'm sorry, was I not circlejerking correctly? Was I being a person who has had a different life experience to you lot, and therefore is being torn apart for my experience and subsequent opinions? It's a good job is not four years old, isn't it?

Trollsworth Thu 30-Oct-14 14:16:33

I was that child, OP. the child who wasn't allowed to watch tv, or have character clothing, or listen to radio one.

Children are CRUEL and it is too much to expect a small child to have the fortitude to say "I don't ow what Disney characters are and that's ok because there are more important things in life." She will just feel small and sad.

Get some Disney DVDs. Let her watch them if and when she wants to (within reason of course). Instead of censoring her social exposure, at to here about why it just more fun to be a vet than a Sleeping Beauty.

FeralGirlCambs Thu 30-Oct-14 14:16:49

Trollsworth, I wouldn't be surprised if a five year old girl could make me feel shit about me! I do take your point. But I'm so turned off by that 'whatever the latest craze is' stuff myself. I guess it's about striking a balance, somehow putting into child-language the notion that 'this stuff might not be the be all and end all in and of itself, but the social bonding it involves is a useful life lesson', but at the same time 'you should be brave enough to choose your own tastes'. I do quite a good job of not cringing at the pink Disney princess business that goes on at the CM's house; in fact, I'm always glad she does it there so I can pretend it doesn't exist. I'm sounding like a dreadful person even to myself now so I'll stop.

ladeedad Thu 30-Oct-14 14:17:06

Meh, I was the kid who didn't know what the most fashionable clothes shops were, what the latest 'in' TV shows/films were to watch and I didn't give a toss about having the latest trainers.

I'm so glad I stuck to my books and didn't get swayed by what was fashionable at the time, or I wouldn't have the education and career I have now.

WipsGlitter Thu 30-Oct-14 14:17:46

What is circlejerking?

I thought an interesting thing in the OP was where she called herself a 'bad' mummy for using an ipad. It's ok not to devote every waking minute to your children!

My kids both watch tv and go on the ipad. Big deal. I have more to worry about.

ladeedad Thu 30-Oct-14 14:18:18

And not all kids will be into Disney. I had the time of my life hanging out with my brothers' friends and the more 'tomboyish' girl friends. I wouldn't swap that for all the princess bonding games in the world.

FeralGirlCambs Thu 30-Oct-14 14:19:32

'I was that child, OP. the child who wasn't allowed to watch tv, or have character clothing, or listen to radio one.'

So was I. exactly. Funny how it affects different people differently. But I don't want her to be small and sad.
(We don't have a DVD player, though.)

NickiFury Thu 30-Oct-14 15:56:49

I agree with Trollsworth. I also think some adults should not impose their idea, as adults, of what is are worthy pursuits for their children. I see a lot of that here on MN. There needs to be balance.

kiki0202 Thu 30-Oct-14 16:18:31

DS (2.8) had never used any type of computer until he was 2.3 (because I was scared he would break them) when we went to his nursery induction and they talked about using ipads etc so I got him a few games on our laptop he doesn't bother with it to much tbh. He does love tv he watches 1-2 hours a day depending on what we do that day usually first thing in the morning or bed time he isn't into movies really he likes programs like Dora or Mickey mouse clubhouse that he can talk back to. He's actually learned quite a lot from them shapes/animals etc.

Mine are watching Disney jr eating monster munch and foam bananas right now while I have a time out after a hard day

RabbitSaysWoof Thu 30-Oct-14 16:32:43

I was going to say the same a wips children who are occasionally bored don't have 'bad' mummies they learn to fill the gaps themselves which IMHO is just as valuable as anything perfect playmate mummies can teach them through play. apologies if you didn't mean it that way.
TV non crucial
Play alone time very crucial

FeralGirlCambs Thu 30-Oct-14 16:52:01

Oh gosh, I didn't mean to label anyone bad mummy for ignoring their children. Just sometimes I feel I do it too much. I mean, that perfect playmating (or even feigning mild interest) is quite an effort beyond about ten minutes. But DD IS really good at playing by herself so maybe I should replace guilt with triumph.

Littlef00t Thu 30-Oct-14 17:21:09

Sounds like she might be getting a decent amount of popular culture reference at the childminders? Maybe you don't need to worry after all.

DirtyDancing Sat 01-Nov-14 22:04:27

There is a good book you might like to flick through called Parenting Well in a Media Age: Keeping Our Kids Human. My DS is 10 months old and watched about 30 mins of TV a week!

rhetorician Sat 01-Nov-14 22:14:12

i don't think you are depriving her of anything! I too was a child who had no tv etc, and totally guilted my parents over it (only child!). I have two ddd, one going on for 6, the other nearly 3. They do like the phone/i-pad etc, but I very rarely let them play with them (they watched Toons on my phone while I sorted laundry this morning, but that's rare). DD1 loves tv and movies, but has no competitive instinct at all, so is barely interested in games. DD2 likes things like Endless Alphabet, but again, I let her play with it so rarely that it hardly matters. But they would both have a fairly good knowledge of disney etc. but including ancient stuff too. But say with Frozen, DD1 loved it when it first came out but has been over it for months. They find their own way.

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