I read about The Great TV Rebellion at a couple of my favorite blogs, and I remember reading about similar campaigns last year. I always cringe at these kinds of events. Why? Because they are just that – campaigns. It’s almost like binge dieting – let’s turn off our TVs offs for a few days and record all our favorite programs, so we can feel all righteous this week and catch up on our TV viewing next week.
I don’t believe in binge dieting, I believe in lifestyle choices. We don’t watch much TV here at all. In fact, we were one of those very few families that chose to follow “no TV for under 2” policy recommended by American Association for Pediatricians. Even now Anna’s TV viewing doesn’t exceed 30 minutes a day, and she only watches DVDs or recorded PBS shows. If we have doubts that she will understand the movie, I or my husband watch it with her. She is probably the only American child her age who only saw Cinderella to the end – we tried a couple of others (we actually have a very large DVD library at home), but felt that other Disney movies are too intense or incomprehensible for her. I don’t feel any guilt on letting her watch high-quality programs which entertain and educate her, because I see that she can understand them. She incorporates the material into her play, she interacts with the program, she asks many questions. She likes to watch, but she is not addicted to blue screen and doesn’t automatically go to TV option when she is bored.
I admit that sometimes it’s hard to limit TV and other electronic entertainment so radically. It would be nice to have more time for adult conversation, for catching up on chores and even for feeding my own blogging addiction. But I tell myself that the time we spend together – playing, reading, going outside or cooking is a lot more valuable to my child than any TV or computer program could possibly be.