Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Malika, Mar 3, 2011.

  1. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    I have been wondering about television and its influence on children, particularly in terms of violence (that old chestnut)... We don't have television and my son is allowed to watch two DVDs on Sunday morning on my computer. If that seems unbearably rigid and controlled, it is just the sensible compromise we have come to (and which my son accepts without struggle or protest - no small deal, as you will appreciate :)) after our previous experience with TV. I have never been a TV purist, thinking a little in moderation was fine, but with J it does not work like that... He became almost "addicted" to it, demanding to watch DVD after DVD, to the exclusion of all else - stopped playing outside, stopped playing with his toys, demanding TV from morning to night. Also he started acting out all the violence he was watching (I made the mistake of buying him the Disney DVD of Tarzan, his favourite story...) in a very graphic and repeated way. Enough came to be enough and I decided drastic action was needed. The TV went (I built up to it when we were away on holiday, saying it had broken, etc, and when we got back home he just accepted it) and it has improved the quality of our lives markedly. We talk, play games, read stories, he plays outside, etc... A childhood.
    So I wondered... what do you guys think the effect of TV, particularly violence on TV, is on these children who are at risk of violence themselves?? Have you noticed a link?
  2. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    It's very subjective, a great deal depends on the kid and their environment. Some are inclined to act things out, others become frightened. You tinker until you can find what is best and workable, while keeping in mind that you'll have to tinker more as they age, are exposed to such things at school or a friend's house, in newspapers, books, etc.
  3. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    I think it's just like anything else.

    Personally, I don't watch much TV. I can't just sit and stare. This is also one of the reasons I don't really like going to the movies, because sitting still for 2 hours is torture to me.

    I like the computer, because I can type, and have 15 windows open at a time, and listen to music or talk on the phone too, and type. I still can't sit still for long.

    But... They said back in the 80s that Ozzy Osbourne was to blame for some kid's suicide, and Dungeons & Dragons, and KISS, and the video game Gauntlet was the reason some kid took an antique sword to some of his friends' heads...

    I still like 80s Ozzy, I would love to play D&D again, I like KISS, Gauntlet was a rockin' game. I wasted so many quarters at the pizza parlor... And you know what? I never cut off anyone's head, or popped pills or committed suicide. I even played a live-action version of D&D.

    Fact is - if the child is susceptible for whatever reason(s), it could be watching the grass grow. (I mean honestly, I've gotten cuts from grass, so it's dangerous!) We plays cops & robbers and cowboys & indians, but everyone always got up afterward and had a snack together.

    NOW, having said all that - there is so much inappropriate garbage on TV anymore... Have you heard George Carlin's words you can't say on TV? That used to be terrible - saying the F word, the S word, etc. Now? That seems so tame. You see... 2 spoiled kids living in a hotel suite, doing whatever they want. The Olsen twins. Miley and Lilo and Britney. Teen moms glamorized. Even the news has so much violence. There's a reason I don't watch the tube much... And you know what? Kids - especially very young ones - DO imitate what they see. A lot of people (not just kids) get "glued" to the screen. in my opinion - 2 DVDs is perfect. That's about 3 hours, give or take.

    PLAY - is what a lot of kids need. Even (especially?) special-needs kids.
  4. ThreeShadows

    ThreeShadows Quid me anxia?

    I really hate the way parents are depicted as being idiots in a lot of teen shows. I realize that I am a fossil, but in my youth, kids went to parents for advice, these days the wise and "with it" teen sort of sneers impatiently at the stupidity of his/her parent. Then the adult is set straight by the child. UGH!

    I also worry about the violence causing our children to become desensitized. I was watching the storming of the beach in Saving Private Ryan, the scene in which a young soldier is writhing in pain, his abdomen blown open, the dying boy is trying to put his entrails back in, screaming "Mama! Mama!". A young friend of our difficult children just laughed! That was one of the most gut wrenching movie scenes and this kid just found it appropriate to laugh.
  5. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Yes... I feel the education of a child (in the broadest sense) is partly about watering the good seeds... And a lot of seeds that are planted on modern TV are surely not good. Vicious violence that becomes banal, completely unreal... the problem seems to me, just as you say, that empathy for others' suffering disappears and it just becomes a kind of joke. This deadening of compassion is, to me, worrying. Of course in a small child violence is kind of unreal. Just tonight when we were playing cars (one of the sacrifices I have to make in not having a TV is that I have to play cars... this is a noble deed on my part :)), my son started saying things like "I'm going to BURN the policeman up now in the fire" to which I respond, "oh dear, poor policeman, that is really going to hurt him, do you think you should do that?" which may sound like more English middle class silliness but I think this is the important thing to convey to children while they are still so young and impressionable... that others are like them, and that others feel just as they feel.

    I see that my son has a great "energy of aggression" in him. He has always had it, he brought it with him. It is just an energy at the moment, not necessarily dangerous or "bad" but like some kind of fire that needs careful tending, perhaps... He is also often kind hearted, very loving and empathetic. So I don't feel like anything is set in stone. But I do feel concerned about exposing him to violence, teaching him implicitly that "it doesn't matter"...
  6. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    Errrr... Not to me. To me, it sounds like you're a great Mom!!!!!
  7. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Thank you... but I am not a good mum (=mom!) as much as I aspire to be one... watering my own good seeds of parenthood, as we all are :)
  8. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    Part of that also is that kids lack the actual life experience to get how serious it was. There's a lot of things I laughed at as a kid that I see in a different light now. And sometimes we laugh because we don't know what else to do, or because if we have to see it clearly, it bothers us too much.
  9. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I think it depends on the child. And if it's age appropriate. All of my kids were allowed to watch television. None of them are violent and the youngest is now fourteen. I think if a child has a tendency toward violence it is best to monitor what they watch, but, as they get older, you won't be able to do it, no matter how hard you try. You may be able to do it in YOUR house, but there many outside influences.
  10. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Yes, I know... the dam can only be held back for a time and, as you say, in one's own home... And then there is the DS and all the computer games to come, not to mention computer itself... But hopefully a child can learn to discriminate, to engage in other activities too... And I quite agree about it depending on the child...
  11. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I have a 4 year old granddaughter and she watches just about everything from cartoons to Adult crime drama's that come on either at night or on re-runs during the day. She also loves football and NASCAR racing. She has a wide range of interests. Oh she also loves watching fishing shows and hunting shows early on Saturday and Sunday mornings with her Papa.

    She isnt violent at all and knows that tv shows are not real. She will look at the shows and make comments about how the characters really should know that if they open that door, they should know that something bad is going to happen simply by the Good point! I havent explained that they cant hear the music. She also loves dance videos and plays her Wii.

    Dont know...she is my first grandchild and seems fairly normal and in touch with reality. Loves to play outside and play with her dolls and our dog. Snuggles with me to watch an entire NASCAR race.
  12. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    NASCAR racing? I wonder what that is? :)
    Just to clarify... if need be... I wasn't (again!) trying to generalise and say that all TV is "bad" for all children... I do believe it depends on the child. But it is clear (to me) that at least with boys who have an underlying propensity to aggression, watching violence on TV is not a good idea... because one is trying to educate them out of the idea that violence is an adequate, acceptable means of expression...
    I don't suppose society is in any danger from your grand-daughter!
  13. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    LOL Janet. You should hear it here when NASCAR does the "Crank it up" thing. Kiddo and I want to go see a race in person one day. Closest she's been to anything like that was a local (very small) demolition derby, where she sat in the front row chanting "Fire! I want to see fire!" and playing with the mud that was slung out in between rounds. I used to go to the monster truck shows and air shows with my Dad, and had told her if she couldn't handle the noise of a local derby she would never be able to handle those, and she wants to see those.
  14. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Please give cultural footnotes for your one non-American member! (I jest - there must be more of us here :)) I am intrigued to what NASCAR is... and cranking up?? Sounds fun.
    Your daughter shouting "Fire", HaoZi, reminds me of taking J to a bullfight in Spain - the kind where they don't kill the bull when he was about 2. He gained the approval of those sitting around us by roaring "Hola!" every time the torrero did the swirly thing with his cape...
  15. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    NASCAR is a type of stock car racing.
    Crank it up is where they switch to certain mics that really pick up the sound of the cars as they zoom by the stands. If you have a good bass speaker on your system (I don't) it's more like being there because then you can feel it, too.
    Now, knowing us... we'd be rooting for the bull.
  16. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Quite right too :)