No child can benefit from watching all the TV they want

I also have to disagree with the TV watching. NO CHILD, unschooled, homeschooled, public schooled, or anything else can benefit from watching ALL the TV they want!!

What if you said "NO CHILD can benefit from reading ALL the books they want!!" or "NO CHILD can benefit from playing ALL the board games they want!!"

It's assuming (or extrapolating from some different situation) that when children are allowed all the TV they want, they'll do little else, that they'll spend years watching indiscriminately.

Why would they?

If TV is controlled and doled out like a prize, then they'll watch garbage just because TV is so precious. If they are in school, they'll often watch TV as a way of depressurizing after school.

Unschooled kids, given free access to TV have neither of those reasons for watching TV.

Sorry folks, but that's just my opinion.

But what are you basing your opinion on? Are you basing it on what will happen? Or on personal knowledge of allowing your kids for many years to watch as much TV as they want?

There's far too much GARBAGE on TV to have a positive influence.

Why do you think children would choose deliberately to watch garbage? Do our tastes need to be molded by experts in what is good in order to choose what is good? Or can our kids develop their own sense of what is good and bad by experiencing good and bad and deciding from their experience what is useful to them and what is not?

Or are children such slaves to a need to be entertained that they'd choose garbage over going somewhere or doing something they enjoy with mom?

There is no requirement of thinking for a child when they watch hours of TV.

Maybe if children feel overloaded and are choosing TV as a way to turn off the pressures they have no control over they might deliberately choose shows that don't make their brains work too hard. (As schooled kids might. As adults might do after work in the evenings.)

But since my daughter absorbs tons of stuff from TV -- things that relate to her world as well as the adult world -- then I'd say she's doing a great deal of thinking.

I don't care how Good the programs are. Children develop mentally by THINKING, using their imagination, creativity!!!!!!!

And many children find TV a great fodder for thinking, imagination and creativity. For my daughter Pokemon has branched off into a huge number of things that relate to adult knowledge and adult skills.

But I think we also need to recognize the value of their needs as the people they are right now. Memorizing all 251 Pokemon isn't something she'll use much as an adult -- though it exercises skills she'll use as an adult -- but it's something that's important to the person she is right now. And feeding what's important to her right now is what will help her become the person she will be.

How can people think that PS is a bad influence but then can let the child sit in front of the TV hours on end???

Because there's more than passively watching involved in PS. There's being there by force, listening to and doing something they don't care to learn.

A child watching TV is choosing what appeals to him, what he finds useful.

And I don't believe they are watching EDUCATIONAL programs all this time. Children learn from TV good and bad. Are these parents who allow unlimited TV being selective about what they watch?

There isn't a need to. Children are self-selective. My daughter may choose things that I wouldn't choose for her, but she has needs that are different than mine. I'm not sure what she's getting out of Spongebob Squarepants, but the enthusiasm with which she watches it and then replays verbally for me her favorite episodes, means there's something important to her.

She won't watch anything that's scary or sexual any more than she'd watch a political talk show. Her world is divided into useful to her and not useful to her rather than good and forbidden.

I am selective about what I watch. There are R movies that we choose to watch when she isn't there or has other things to occupy her. We don't force her to choose between watching an adult movie with us vs being alone. But given full freedom to choose anything she wants, she doesn't choose the things I would protect her from anyway.

I don't see my kids being "interested and absorbed". I see them addicted!

It's funny but the only children who become addicted to TV have a parent who dislikes TV.

Think about that. Why should that be?

Are the children of parents who appreciate TV immune to addiction?

Are the parents who appreciate TV too stupid to realize their children are addicted?

Is there another reason for this phenomenon?

What's even funnier is that the parents who changed from hating TV to appreciating TV found that their children magically overcame their addiction.

The children who were restricted did watch more TV for a while when the restrictions were removed but it eventually settled down. The children who didn't have restrictions transformed from zombiehood to interested and absorbed. And it oddly coincided with their parents' viewpoint shift from seeing nothing going on to seeing the learning that was taking place.

Funny.

Yes, there might be some good programs on, but the majority are a waste of time in my opinion. I know there are a lot of people on this list that have unrestricted tv, and that's great for you. It does not work here.

If you had the same opinion of books and your kids got absorbed in reading to the point where they didn't hear when they were called, would read for hours on end, would read the same book over and over then unrestricted reading wouldn't "work" in your house either. Unrestricted reading would let kids waste time.

They will watch the same show three times in one day. When I ask them about it, they don't really seem to know why they watched it again.

If I ask my daughter why she's crying she'll often say "I don't know." Not being able to answer a question doesn't mean they don't have an answer. It's more likely to mean they haven't thought about it or can't put their thoughts into words. Or they know you won't like the answer.

Part of our job as parents is to help them find words for their feelings. Part of that is respecting their feelings, especially feelings about things we don't see the value in that they do.

If someone asked you why you finished one novel and picked up the next in the series right away, what would your answer be? Maybe"I loved the first one so much'? Maybe your kids would answer that they love that program so much it was worth it a second and third time?

What if the someone who asked you why you picked up the second novel disliked books and had the power to decide you shouldn't read so much? How would that affect your answer?

I've probably seen every single classic Star Trek episode at least 20 times. Why? I dunno. I liked it. I can't even say I loved it since few of the episodes were great. But there was a spirit, a hope for the future, or something there.

See, I'm 46, do loads of writing and can't articulate why I used to watch classic Trek so much.

And, I do believe that all of the advertisements and any violence do have an impact on us, regardless of how much we discuss it with our children. I don't see how sitting in front of a screen for hours a day can benefit a child whose brain is still developing. (Or an adult). Just my opinion ...

Lots of stuff makes sense and seems right. It makes sense that kids won't learn unless someone makes them. It makes sense that continents don't move. It makes sense that the sun goes around the earth.

But what if those sensible theories explain things from a limited point of view but don't explain everything? If we fear the power of ads and violence and attitudes, then those will likely have a negative impact because we won't treat them as something to learn from but as something to fear. In families where parents really be with their kids, seeing them for who they are rather than who they aren't, appreciate what their children find interesting, the effects you think are sensible outcomes of TV just aren't present.

 
 
 
Last updated: April 2009