Does TV play a role?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by boxerlover, Nov 22, 2008.

  1. boxerlover

    boxerlover New Member

    We have been seriously discussing turning off the cable in our house and only allowing programs we approve to be watched on the computer. husband and I really don't watch a lot of TV but Tyler is obsessed with Cartoon Network. Those shows have horrible behaviour modeling and a lot of questionable dialogue in some of the shows, but Tyler just does not like watching Nick or Disney. When he isn't allowed to watch any TV he complains for about 10 minutes but then he usually gets involved in playing or drawing. He doesn't watch a lot of TV now, but I wonder if a child with CD is more susceptible to these things?

    Any thoughts? I'm thinking there would be major complaining for a few weeks (from me and husband as well!) but we should all get used to it. I know I should monitor his TV watching more closely. It's just so hard to do when I'm supposed to be working when he gets home from school.
  2. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    It really is a tough issue. First and foremost my advice would be to follow your instincts. They RARELY lead you astray.

    I CAN say that my difficult child was HORRIBLY affected by tv. We have rarely had cable simply because the cost, but when we did, or when we lived with my parents while husband was in grad school, difficult child had a tough time not letting tv influence his behavior. He also had a tough time moving away from tv into other activities.

    Right now I tend to wathc most of the tv shows I like online. and have a LOT of shows. IMDB has many of them the day after they are aired, and they are available for a week or 2 or 3. So you and your husband may get programs you enjoy at a more convenient time, while having shows that are a problem out of your home.

    Fromt he time my son was very young we had him watch videos because he woudl get so violent. At about age 7 he got even MORE violent, and ANYTHING shown on tv HAD to be OK to do in real life in his mind. I had to go through our extensive video collection and remove EVERYTHING with any violence, even many Disney movies. (and backthen they still had that reputation for not having anything violent).

    So if yoiu think tv is not a good influence, then stopping the cable for a while may be a great move. You can always take the $$ you spend on cable and use it to buy dvds, or spend it on other family activities or sports your child wants to do.

    And you can always have the cable turned back on if you want to. You would lose nothing by trying it.
  3. Ropefree

    Ropefree Banned

    We have had cable for about two years. We did not have a TV at all until grade 5.
    Personally I have long disliked TV personally since I was little. I saw the trailers for the green berets (that dates me) and after that I could not look without my hands flashing up to cover my eyes. In college I sold cable but I read the guide about the programing.
    I am thinking of doing just that myself. The quality of interests a child can develop do rest in part on the materials they have to work with. It is difficult to learn to play music without an insturment and lessons. Or to aquire the skill of a dancer, or to create art without supplies. And even when those skills are there you can not sit first chair with a poor quality sounding tube of metal.
    WE definately do less things together and side by side.
    And reading is so engaging when it is the escape. The tv is just overwhelming the input time for stronge reading habits. And crafts.
  4. goldenguru

    goldenguru Active Member

    I have the luxury of hindsight (my kids are adults). If it were me - I would unplug!! As you have said, there will be an adjustment period, but in my opinion it would be worth it.
  5. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    If I could get husband on board, we'd get rid of our TVs. I tried enforcing a no-TV rule when he wasn't home but it created a lot of resentment, so the tvs are back on but I hate it.
  6. ML

    ML Guest

    Heck yes. My son was/is very effected by TV be it good or bad. He'll uses phrases he's heard from TV and words; and they're perfectly in context. I have heard that shows like Sesame Street and other education programs are fairly safe. But if you can do it, unplug. That goes for the video games too. Maybe if I did those things I could get manster out of the house!!!!!

    I HATED that Ed Edd and Edy slow!
  7. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    Add another vote to the "unplug" pile.

    With that Aspie tendency toward literalness, my difficult child duplicated so much of the behaviour he saw on tv. Like Susie's difficult child, mine thought that if it was on tv it was okay to do in real life.

    The problem wasn't so much with difficult child duplicating violence with us, but with very bizarre, cartooish behaviour. difficult child used to spend a lot of time watching lightweight family-oriented sitcoms, and he learned what he thought was appropriate behaviour from them.

    For example, if something shocked him, he would do an exaggerated tv-style double-take. Sort of rolling his head around, and then presenting his face with a suitably "shocked" expression.

    TV-style behaviour just doesn't translate well into real life. My difficult child used to really give people the creeps because of his mannerisms (fueled by mania, to add to the fun...). He's been accosted by security at stores, malls, rec centres, etc. because of "behaving oddly" more times than I can count, and we've had to work very hard with him to teach him "normal" facial expressions and gestures.

  8. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I don't think it makes a big difference in normal kids. It never made my kids violent. However, in my opinion some kids can get ideas from television. However, after a certain age, once the child is out of the house a lot, it's pretty hard to censor what they watch. But you can still do it at home.
  9. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    My son is very affected by TV, especially violence and crummy role models. We do let him watch nature shows, and police shows, where the police are clearly in charge.
    This wk, we put the TV in the garage, and only let it out for the weekend. It goes back in the garage tonight.
    He is very addicted to TV and computer games.
    There is very little on TV that is appropriate for kids nowdays, so you have nothing to lose and everything to gain by getting rid of cable.
    I bought old I Dream of Jeannnie and Lucy videos for the kids and they love them so much, they have gotten their friends hooked, too. We have a collection of videos that are appropriate and it makes a big difference.
  10. wethreepeeps

    wethreepeeps New Member

    I strictly limit the amount of tv my son watches because he has a tipping point where if he watches too much, then it's all he wants to do and whines constantly to watch. He's ten, and as a family we watch Meerkat Manor and It's Me or the Dog on Animal Planet, and sometimes Don't Forget the Lyrics or Are You Smarter than a Fifth Grader. Usually not more than an hour at a time, two or three times a week.
  11. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    I didn't really limit the amount of time Miss KT watched TV, but I was very strict about what she watched. We always had cable, so we watched Disney, Nick at Nite (she loved the old sitcoms), Game Show Network, Nickelodeon Game Channel, things like that. We watched together, because she didn't have a TV in her room.
  12. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    I always considered television as respite ~ greatly needed when the tweedles were at their worst. Saying that, I "dictated" what was watched & when. There were shows that early in the day didn't affect wm at all; watching it later in the day would set him off.

    Over the last year, kt has watched less television & developed other interests. I can tell when she is in overload ~ she sits down in front of the television.

    Sadly, I have a television in my kitchen that's on most of the day (it started when I could never catch the news) - now I really think it's more for noise than anything & when I think to turn on the radio or put on a CD it has the same affect for me.
  13. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I think you have to be careful to not throw out the baby with the bathwater.

    People see difficult child 1 and now difficult child 3 watching TV (DVDs, the same ones, over and over, often stopping to rewind a favourite scene and replay it, over and over) and computer games of EVERY sort. Again, over and over. And people get critical.

    I have copped a lot of flak for allowing it but the only way we could have stopped it would have been to get rid of all TVs in the house. And for us, there are too many reasons not to. We lived without TVs for three days in 1994 during the really bad fires when we had to stay with another family in another suburb - as a result we were totally unprepared for what we had to drive through, to get back home when we were finally allowed to return. If we had seen some TV news, SOME vision of what had happened and how complete had been the destruction, maybe we would have coped better.

    TV is not necessarily bad. However, if there is a chance your child has Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) in any way then you may observe your child watching TV obsessively. But is this such a bad thing? Chances are, your Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) child is likely to obsess about SOMETHING. TV is high on the list of likelys, as are computer games. Very few households will actually totally remove these and so as a law of averages, we are much more likely to see our kids using these technologies obsessively. Take them away and our kids will obsess out other things. I have a nephew who obsessed about string. He told Santa one Christmas that he didn't need toys or gadgets for Christmas, all he wanted was a big ball of string, because with string he could make whatever he wanted. That boy grew up to be a car mechanic and is Aspie, I believe.

    I look at how difficult child 3 used everything he wanted in his environment to help him learn to adapt. Among those things he used were TV, DVD and computer games. He played with every electrical gadget he could, he would take things apart when he could, reprogram computers and used computers from an early age. At about a year old he retuned our TV so all channels went to one network. He bypassed the password protection on our computer. He was using a simple software package on our oldest computer and was a fast typist by the time he was 2. He was playing with mazes on the computer also, as well as playing piano and learning how to read sheet music.

    A kid like difficult child 3 is one you can't keep away from your technology. We were able to stop him form bypassing our password protection on the computer only by banning him from it when we caught him, plus giving him access to his own computer. It cost us nothing - we found it dumped on the side of the road with a damaged operating system. We reconfigured it with a new operating system and loaded it with educational games suitable for a baby and let him go on it.

    difficult child 3 was very quick to learn how to use the CD player. All the kids were. I would put a CD on to play when the kids were put to bed for their nap, I would set it on 'repeat' and it would keep playing all through their nap, covering the sounds of my activity. Often I would first realise the baby was awake when I saw them toddle out in their nappy, go to the CD player, stop the CD, eject it and put it away in the case.

    There were two ways I could have taken this - I could have raised the sides of the cots to stop them from climbing out, and also put the CD player in a cage to stop the babies from getting to it. Or I could move the baby into a low bed, teach him/her the rules about using the CD player and burn back-up copies of the favourite CDs just in case. The latter is in the direction of progress; the former blocks the child from developing.

    difficult child 3 would watch DVS with subtitles on. He still prefers to watch TV with subtitles on. He plays computer games with subtitles where possible. His hearing is perfect. But for him, reading is such a vital part of his communication skills, that he uses it as an adjunct to his understanding. His (also autistic) best friend is similar - the boy's father once said to me, "He watches the same DVD over and over, but keeps stopping and starting it, rewinding bits to play them over and over, a few seconds here or there. It has nothing to do with the plot, there is nothing going on in his head, it's just blind repetition."
    difficult child 3 had always done the same thing. But it certainly wasn't empty activity, in both cases I believe the boys were using the DVDs to learn (in his own way) the things he felt he needed. He was learning language, he was learning social interaction and body language, he was learning facial expression, he was learning context - and learning it all as a package deal, all the connectedness of it all. By rewinding and playing it again, he was rehearsing it over and over.

    Of course difficult child 3 and his friend both were very echolalic and could recite the scripts of their favourite movies and TV shows in entirety, as well as snippets. The interesting thing was when they began to quote segments of movie scripts appropriately in response to a 'cue'. Mind you, it can have its drawbacks. An example that DIDN'T happen (but only because "Gone With the Wind" wasn't on the list of watched movies) would be difficult child 3 going out to play and me asking him, "But where are you going?" and having him reply, "Frankly my dear, I don't give a ****." He listened to the radio too, and would sing all the hits he heard, memorised as a series of sounds rather than known words but still memorised accurately. The memory is phenomenal, he would only need to hear something once or twice to have it down pat.

    Is TV bad? Are DVDs bad? Computer games? They can be. You need to apply some controls and base your decisions on your observations of how your children are affected. But to apply a blanket ban purely because you see your child focussing on them a lot - if the child does not seem adversely affected by them, don't ban them.

    If you see problems, don't assume that TV or gaming is the cause. Sometimes it's a treatment.

  14. You know, I have had this discussion with difficult child's therapist before, my concern over the amount of video games he plays. I was told that it's ok for him to play them the amount that he does and to use the "need" to play them to my advantage, for instance. You can play your game for _____ time AFTER you do your chores or after you take your shower. Playing a game a lot of times calms difficult child down when he is upset. It can be like an escape for him too. difficult child doesn't watch a lot of tv, but does like to have it on for background noise. He does like to watch movies or cartoons - yes he likes cartoon network, at night when going to sleep.

  15. totoro

    totoro Mom? What's a GFG?

    We did not have cable for a long time. K was so amped all of the time especially at night.
    Out psychiatrist and therapist both said to us, "Why?"
    Well I just didn't think we needed it at the time and we could do so much more with out time. But by early evening, husband and I were so worn put and K was so lost with what was going on in her head that when we did slip on a movie, she would zone out and it would let her not think for a few minutes or an hour.
    She still can't stop moving most times.

    So after talking with psychiatrist and therapist and them laughing at us... we got cable. We limit what they watch. I do not let them watch anything too violent or risque. I am not into the older girl shows and I really do not like the shows that degrade women or make them look dumb.

    But K still likes Dora at times. I had to pick my battles on things like Sponge Bob!
    But after watching it he is basically harmless and is the underdog who wants to be the good guy... they also have just discovered. The Mighty B.. which I have to admit I think is very funny! She is a difficult child!
    So we watch with the kids and monitor very closely. Some nights it is no TV.
    But if K is very amped or having a pretty rough night, I basket C the TV and let her watch.
  16. Star*

    Star* call 911

    I think - if NOT given a choice - children will watch what you put in front of them. That's your job as a parent to monitor and remove questionable dialogue.

    I don't know what is the biggest contributing factor in our house but Dude rarely watches TV. The foster family is just blown away that he entertains himself by other means. He would RATHER be outside in the rain working on a bike that inside watching TV. PS2 was a total waste of money except for the driving games and even that was only on the coldest, darkest nights.

    It may be that when Dude was a baby his bio dad exposed him continually to sick porn. He allowed a 3 year old to watch Bevis and Butthead - which Dude still will watch if offered. He never really could sit still for a full length movie. I didn't have that luxury of popping a Disney video in the tv and having him sit there. Inside of 3 minutes - He was up, out the door and a redirect just became redundant.

    He's 18 now -and still doesn't watch a lot of TV - but then again neither did I when he was little. So maybe that was the place he got it from.

    If I had to choose what TV to watch today for a little one I'd pull my hair out by the roots because all that jumping around and singing and whiney little cartoon voices make me want to puke.....and I did NOT want ANY of that immitated in my home. Not then NOR now.....even Spongebob would be questionable and as much as I like Shreck? I didn't think it was appropriate for little kids - there really was a lot of inuendos in it.

    Tis a tough spot you're in but just remember - your cable company can show you HOW to lock your box with a parental control.....
  17. mstang67chic

    mstang67chic Going Green

    Marg has some good points but I also believe that if something is acting as a trigger or agitator....remove or restrict it wheneve possible. With my difficult child it wasn't so much tv itself but what he watched. He delighted in repeating the most obnoxious sayings or noises that he got from tv. Also, his behaviour was definately affected by the level of violence (even cartoons) that he watched in shows.

    If there is a way for you to block channels and really restrict what your kids watch...that can be an option also. We got the Dish network a couple of years ago in the living room and in our room. The living room TV has all HBO, MTV, PPV and a couple of other stations blocked. If difficult child wants to watch something, he has to go through us to get it. We had to be careful in our room though because he could sit in certain places in the other room where we couldn't see him but he could see the tv.

    I guess I look at it like anything else. If your difficult child has a friend that makes him/her worse, you limit time spent with that friend. Same thing here. If there are things on tv that do not set him off....fine. Otherwise....that's what parental controls are for.
  18. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Mstang, you said, "I also believe that if something is acting as a trigger or agitator....remove or restrict it wheneve possible."

    That's exactly right. We found some games would upset difficult child 3 to stir him up, and there wasn't necessarily any logic to it. We have a logic game on our computer called "Mission Thunderbolt". We had another VERY old Mac game called "Pyramid". We had to ban all the kids form these games until they could play them without it causing nightmares. Both are games you can just stop playing and walk away, nothing bad will happen while you take a walk. It's move-based, a bit like a simplistic Dungeons and Dragons. You have your turn, the computer has it's turn, then it waits until you have your turn again. But the kids would get so tense and anxious as their character fought his way through the giant spiders and various other wandering monsters (very tiny sprites, so no scary graphics) that they couldn't stop. I wanted them to play these games though, for the way it would develop their problem-solving skills and general fast thinking.

    Once they were old enough (it varied from kid to kid) they were given access to the games on a trial basis.

    Certain cartoons are also banned - "South Park" was banned during primary school. It was on too late anyway. But difficult child 3 carried the ban on for more years, because he had been so ingrained into accepting that watching South Park was NOT alright.

    I used to ban Simpsons. I intensely disliked the apparent praise of mediocrity. However, it has redeemed itself in my eyes with later series; the jokes are funnier the more broad your understanding, so we use it as a springboard to explaining satire as well as WHAT is being satirised.

    We always have to apply some controls to our childrens' environment. For example, our laws insist that swimming pools and spas need to be protected by pool fence. In the same way, we keep out children safe and monitor their experiences in technology. Or at least, we should. But before we get too distressed by whatever it is they are doing, we need to watch, to observe, and to ask ourselves - what is he getting out of this? Does any harm get outweighed by net benefits?

    difficult child 3 has been very anxious with any movie that is tense and exciting, and yet for some strange reason he found "Fifth Element" and would watch it obsessively, subtitles on of course. Why? What was he getting out of it? It was violent, yet he watched it. So we let him - it as desensitising him to violence (which he needed - he was oversensitive) and it has made it easier for him to watch other films (such as "The Incredibles") and not get so stressed.

    I still don't know why difficult child 3 watched Fifth Element. But he felt he needed to, he didn't seem to be picking up bad habits, he asked questions which opened up useful topics of discussion, so we allowed him to do it.

    All you can do is monitor, think, and make the judgement call that is the right of any parent.