July 15, 2009

Children & Electronics

I am not sure about your family, but I know that my family spends WAY too much time in from of the television, computer or on a video game. I have tried to limit the time, but it has not worked.I have tried to ban the tv and everyone likes it for a time, then the tv goes back on. Part of the problem is that I have a hard time to telling my husband, who works 2 jobs, that he cannot channel surf or play on the Wii. I think that it is time for my family to spend a little bit more time away from electronics. I remember what it was like when you could not be reached in restaurants, movie theaters or on the beach. Life was freer. I cannot tell you how many times I have walked out the door without my phone when we leave as a family. Fire Rat always has his, so we are covered in case of emergency. I just like the fact that not everyone can reach me sometimes. I think that is one of the reasons that I like to camp so much..no reception.

I was thinking about this while weeding my garden. It seems that my children had to go from the Nintendo Wii to the computer to cartoons. They did not want to try and entertain themselves. So we are going to change the way things are around here. I was reading this article on How TV Affects Your Child and found some really good advice. My favorites are:

Stock the room in which you have your TV with plenty of other non-screen entertainment (books, kids' magazines, toys, puzzles, board games, etc.) to encourage kids to do something other than watch the tube

Check the TV listings and program reviews ahead of time for programs your family can watch together (i.e., developmentally appropriate and nonviolent programs that reinforce your family's values). Choose shows that foster interest and learning in hobbies and education (reading, science, etc.).

Come up with a family TV schedule that you all agree upon each week. Then, post the schedule in a visible area (e.g., on the refrigerator) so that everyone knows which programs are OK to watch and when. And make sure to turn off the TV when the "scheduled" program is over instead of channel surfing.

Another great piece of advice is to talk with your children about what you are watching. I am the type that does not like to talk too much while watching tv. I think that it is a great idea though. We really should be spending more time discussing what they are viewing and reading.

TV Free Activities:
101 TV-Free alternatives
TV-Free Activities
TV Free-Television Free Activities (some religious content)
Fifty TV-Free Activities for Kids this Summer
Unplug Your Kids
101 Things to Do Instead of TV (pdf)
Instead of TV


christinemm said...

We have had a DVR since early 2002. This allows us to live life as we want and watch TV at our convenience and to fast forward through commercials too. I can lock out certain programs with parental controls (even kid shows I feel are bad influences).

Also we use the DVR pause butto to discuss things in shows. Although we censor some kid shows that we feel are negative my homeschooled kids watch some prime time shows intended mostly for adults and they learn from them, mostly reality shows like Survivor and Amazing Race and such. We talk a lot about how people act, what they do, how they treat each other, and they've even seen negative effects that happen when drunk (usually happens once a season on Survivor).

I guess I'm trying to say perhaps a DVR would be good for your family.

We recently switched to AT&T Uverse and saved $50 from our monthly bill for combination Internet, phone & TV & DVR and now also can call Canada for free (and all over USA too but our old plan had that).

My kids get 1 hour of video games Mon-Fri and 2 hours on weekends (we are thinking of cutting it back to 2 hours). Exceptions are when kids come over to play they may play video games longer as they play together and laugh and talk while doing so (social activity).

Board games are great. Settlers of Catan is a sophisticated one especially with an add on expansion game such as Cities & Knights. I recently reviewed that game on my blog.

Have a great day.

Joi said...

We have a DVR and I love it. I record 90% of their shows. They prefer to watch the recorded shows so that they can skip commercials.