TV Free Home

Or almost. Quite. TV free.

Before Little Cat was born I already made clear with Hubby that I want our child(ren) to have limited exposure to television. Limited is the operative word since it is Hubby’s one form of relaxation, and since I like to get some dose of TV Patrol and pinoy teleserye to0. Call us TV slaves if you want but just the same, I believe in the harmful effects TV violence can bring and that prolonged exposure affects a child’s imagination and creativity. Add to that American Academy of Pediatrics’ recommendation:

“Limit children’s total media time (with entertainment media) to no more than 1 to 2 hours of quality programming per day.”

“Discourage television viewing for children younger than 2 years, and encourage more interactive activities that will promote proper brain development, such as talking, playing, singing, and reading together.” (Source here.)

That’s NO VIDEOS for newborns until they reach 2 years old, and a MAXIMUM OF 2 HOURS of selected videos for 2 years and up.

It’s hard to do but Hubby and I agreed that we’ll limit video watching when Little Cat is up and about. It was actually easy adhering to our self-imposed policy since we had our TV in a separate room and LC was just a teeny-weeny infant then. Easy until we moved in my father’s house.

When we moved in at my father’s sometime last year, we had our TV stationed in our bedroom. Hubby and I seldom turn it on but, we’re guilty that most of those time LC is awake. I also watch TV Patrol and the teleserye after it at the living room’s TV. Sorry LC 😦 There are times though that we don’t watch at all or Hubby doesn’t play his video games for long while.

And I never made LC watch any educational videos or cartoons. We never had any Brainy Baby, Baby Einstein, Barney, Dora videos and the likes for LC. No Cartoonet, Nickelodeon, Disney, Discovery Channel or NatGeo even. That will be the case until I think he’s okay to watch them already.

The TV in our bedroom I can control. However, the one in the living room is entirely a bigger monster. It’s the focal point of the room and is very visible from the dining area. My father and younger brother likes watching DVD movies and cinema cable channels. My father also tunes in to Teleradyo every morning. Sometimes, younger bro checks his favorite channels in the morning too. Sometimes they both forget to turn off the telly before going to work. I switch it off right after they leave.

Weekends are crazy. The living room TV’s on most of the time. LC and I usually coop up in our room reading books and playing with his toys just so he wouldn’t be glued to the TV in the living room. BUT the Hubby wants to watch TV too or play his video games! Sigh. On Sunday afternoons, my older brother and his family of three kids comes over to visit. TV’s on of course, and someone at the desktop near the TV is playing PvZ or some other game.

Maybe, it’s forgivable? It’s just occasionally that LC gets more than the 2 hour limit. Besides, I get to watch TV too. Hooray for me. But a nagging no for LC…

When I got more interested in LC’s growth and development, I was able to dig into why AAP came up with its video watching guidelines for children. I came across A LOT of articles and studies on the ill effects of TV for babies and kids. Some of these studies cover not only television but also all electronic media such as computer games and gaming consoles.

It’s not just the violence. The effects are beyond the content.

Among the articles I’ve come across with, Rheea’s post ‘Our Battle Against the TV Part 2: Effects of TV‘ is one of the most concise and was written from a parent’s personal perspective. I leave it to you to read her post and be briefed how video watching is linked to

  • obesity
  • trauma
  • poor school performance
  • developmental issues – I read about how watching videos can abnormally rewire a child’s brain. Here’s the link. This article alone was enough for Hubby to reaffirm our decision to limit LC’s TV exposure. The link leads to White Dot website, the International Campaign Against Television.
  • language development – speech delay. Be aware, us.
  • moral issues
  • behavioral problems – aggresive behavior, short attention spans, ADHD, etc.; and
  • decrease in family interaction – whatelse is there to do or talk about when everyone’s attention is on the tube?

Do click the link in her last paragraph. It leads to University of Michigan’s article on TV and Children. From there you can see all the studies used in the article which might interest you as well. Do google too, you’d be amazed how much is written about this.

Rheea’s post is part of a series. You can check the other parts for more insights. The last part has good suggestions on how to reduce TV exposure. (It’s hard to ditch it completely! Slaves we are. ) With her list of suggestions, I add that having no cable channels would help too. It’s not only cost-effective, but also baby-development wise. 😉

Now we’re in our own place again, with only Hubby, me and Little Cat around. Imposing TV rules is easier. We’ve actually haven’t watched TV since we moved in. (It’s because we don’t even have a freaking antenna to get the local channels!) Although I have to see yet how we’ll do when we’re really settled in. (I need some normalcy! I want TV! Yikes..)

No TV in the living room and in our bedroom makes no limited TV watching doable. Hopefully we can maintain this environment for our toddler and until such time we can let him watch with little or no guidance. Wish us luck!

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7 thoughts on “TV Free Home

  1. Mommy R says:

    i hear you sis, we ourselves are still battling with the tube. ‘ganbatte’ to us! thanks for the links.

  2. hey thanks for dropping by Rainy Days and Mom Days. our past weeks have been hectic, so we’ve not been as TV-free as we want to be! how have you guys been holding up?

    • Hi Rheea! 🙂 Thank you more for your article. It really pushed me to go TV-free. We’re doing fine so far. Hubby has no time yet to get an antenna or subscribe to cable. 😉 But outside our home, I’m not strict anymore. I need TV too. Ooopppsss 😦 But we’re not always out so I’m not that bad 😉

      I hope our families will be TV free as we dream it to be. 🙂

  3. STC Batchmate says:

    Hi R,

    I just got married a couple of months ago, and we still don’t have a kid yet. But my husband and I want our kid to learn stuff / trivia from books, not from TV. His / her form of entertainment should be reading. 😀 Our generation’s form of entertainment was reading, di ba? That, or playing piko, patintero, etc. Kids these days are missing a lot of fun!

    Husband and I rarely watch TV, too. I just watch TV patrol at night. I feel it’s my duty to be updated of the current local news (and chismis, hehe). Husband watches CNN / BBC when he gets home from work. Hopefully, our future kid won’t be addicted to TV as well.

    However, the internet is another kettle of fish…

    — Your STC Batchmate

    • Thank you for reading my post, batchmate. And thank you for leaving a comment. It’s always great finding someone with the same belief, especially in this cyberage where educational shows and toddler-totting gadgets are a norm. We hope kids will play more out under the sun and truly interact with each other. It’s a tough battle and even tougher when our kids grow up. Good luck to us! 🙂

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