Saturday, May 27, 2006
More shocking news about kids and their television viewing habits: Seems 19 percent of children 1 year old and younger have TVs in their bedrooms! Gasp!
This tidbit and more like it came from a Kaiser Family Foundation survey of 1,051 parents regarding how they and their children use electronic media. Click here to view the report.
The American Academy of Pediatricians says children under age 2 should not watch TV. No TV. None. Nada. But you’d have to be some kind of saint for that to happen.
My 6-month-old son already has one Super Bowl under his belt (if he wore a belt). Heck, my football-loving (notice I didn’t say “football-obsessed”) hubby even posed the little tike for a Super Bowl Sunday portrait in his Steeler bib, using the sports page and the remote as props!
(And I’ll even tell on myself: During late-night nursing sessions, baby got an earful while I caught up on ‘24.’)
No, I’ve never aimed his bouncy seat at the boob-tube and popped in a Baby Einstein video or tuned in ‘Teletubbies.’ (Is that insipid show still on?) But ‘accidental’ TV viewing has occurred.
That said, I am strict when it comes to what my kids watch and listen to. Just ask my long-suffering 10-year-old, who is the “only” kid in his class who hasn’t seen (fill in the blank).
But I live in the real world, where I can’t be in the room at all times while my older kids are consuming media. So I devised a system: It’s called the “honor code.”
OK, so I didn’t invent “honor,” but I do enforce it. I’m firm on this and they know it. And they know enough to follow the rules even when I’m not sitting in their laps.
You know that little rating that pops up in the corner of your TV screen at the start of a show? We live by that at our house. Same goes for film ratings. My kids have to do some fast talkin’ to circumvent these.
I think as parents, we have to be vigilant. I’m a big believer in violence begetting violence. Brutal video games, movies, television and music desensitize our youths, and abnormal behavior becomes the norm. No one is going to convince me otherwise.
Yes, they grow to understand “fantasy” and “fiction.” They’re definitely not born with the ability to understand these concepts, though.
One of these days soon I’ll have little to no control over what seeps into their brains. But for now, I’m the filter. Overprotective? Perhaps, but on this point, I’ll wear that mantel with pride.
And for the record, we don’t keep TVs in any bedrooms in our house. It makes my “Media Nazi” role that much easier.