20 October 2011

media and parenting

So, yesterday a press release came out from the American Academy of Pediatrics reiterating their earlier guidance that children under the age of two be “as ‘screen free’ as possible.”  I remember when my oldest was born, we were very conflicted with what we thought was appropriate TV use with the baby.  It’s something every new parent has to go through for themselves, and over time I think I’ve met parents that represented each opinion of this. 

While I can confidently say that I’m completely against the use of the TV as a full time babysitter, I have to also admit that we depended on those dang kids videos at times.  Whether it be old Chip and Dale cartoons to distract from the discomfort during teething, or Donald Duck on my phone after a round of shots at the doctor’s office – I’ve not ashamed to say I’ve used media as a distraction.  (I do remember a particularly tough time with one of the kiddos while waiting in a crowded doctor’s office – lady comes in with her kid and proceeds to turn the TV off, announcing to everyone that she doesn’t allow her kid to watch TV.  “You don’t mind do you?” )

Does having SportsCenter on with the volume down and the closed captioning on while putting them to sleep at three in the morning make me a terrible parent?

I don’t think at that age though, that we had any thought that these kids shows were very educational.  I mean, outside of a reaction when their favorite character would flash on screen I honestly don’t think they get much out of it as an infant.  And I think that’s exactly what the AAP is getting at. 

Now what do you do after they’re two?  Funny you should ask, because Elmo just got himself a Kinect.

[American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Press Release]
[pcmag.com: Interact With Elmo Via Xbox 'Kinect Sesame Street TV']

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