Throwing away our television. Am I depriving my child?

Parental influence on children in the first 12 years of their lives have a permanent effect. Unfortunately, children come with no user manual. Each child is different from the other. Discuss how to handle emotional and educational needs of your child here.

Throwing away our television. Am I depriving my child?

Postby winth » Tue Sep 09, 2008 4:02 pm

Hi,

Am new to this forum and am so excited to see so many concerned parents in this forum. Do give me your opinion for this one.

We seldom watch television, close to zero on most days. We spend a lot of time bonding with our 2 boys, aged 5 and 15 months, like going to the parks, jogging, playground time, board games, toys and IQ games. And for my 5 year old, I give him lots of work (maths, english, chinese writing and of course the fun activities) and challenge him to finish them without any supervision. He has never failed to complete them.

When we are working, we cannot control television programs, which my mum (who's taking care of the boys) told me he would watch KidsCentral for 1 hour, 2 at most and the TV is left 'OFF' for the rest of the day.

My husband and I are toying with the idea of doing WITHOUT any television. What do you think?

In place of TV, we are planning to start playing weiqi with him, he loves to play reversi which I'll be spending more time to teach him. He's starting his wushu class next month after his art class ends. I'm also planning to spend more time to do more work and teaching him. Though I'm afraid that he is 'overloaded' with work, he doesn't seem stressed out.

My concern is if I would deprive him from his 'only form of' entertainment. Any parents here who has no TV or exposes their children to little television?

Many thanks for reading this post.

winth
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Postby tamarind » Tue Sep 09, 2008 5:19 pm

winth,
I think you are doing the right thing by throwing away your television. Children do not need television.

I do allow my kids to watch TV, but only educational DVDs like Little Einstein, Leapfrog. I only bought them these 2 series of DVDs. They watch for less than an hour a day. Sometimes they don't even ask to watch at all. The rest of the time, they find other things to play or do. We have tons of lego and other toys at home. They will invent their own games. They have free access to paper and pencil, and they enjoy drawing and writing. They also have scissors and scotch tape and they enjoy creating paper crafts. I have more than 300 books at home. They will pull out books and read on their own. In fact, my mother watch 1 hour of Taiwanese TV series in the afternoon, my kids will continue playing and they don't pay attention to the TV at all.

I know that many children are TV addicts. I feel that it is because parents turn them into TV addicts. My neighbour has a 2 year old boy, taken care of by his grandfather. The grandfather forced the boy to sit with him on the sofa to watch TV all day, he forbids the boy to move around in case he gets hurt. I know many parents/caregivers also use the TV as a babysitter. This is very bad, because the child should be given the freedom to explore the world, even if there is a danger of getting hurt.

tamarind
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Postby caroline3sg » Tue Sep 09, 2008 5:28 pm

I beg to differ slightly. You need TV to be able to watch educational CDs. There are some good programmes for children on kidscentral. Also, there are children dramas? on Sat/Sun morning on channel 8. Furthermore, when the children go primary sch, they have to listen to news to improve their languages.

Of course, I don't advocate children sit with adults to watch TV to pass time or afraid that children would get hurt if they don't sit still.

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Postby winth » Tue Sep 09, 2008 5:47 pm

Hi tamarind and caroline3sg,

First, thanks for your replies.

Both of you do have your point and my husband and I are weighing the pros and cons of having no TV in the household. It has to be decisive as it will be embarrasing enough to buy a new TV should we regret our decision later on. :oops:

The problem that we have now is that we as parents, tend to scold the boys when we are engrossed by some TV program that we are watching. This is bad for it is no fault of theirs to want our attention. And I don't know what program he's watching in KidsCentral in the weekdays but nowadays he would say that we could 'cook eyes' and 'drink some brain juice'. It's kinda of disgusting sometimes and it's very difficult for us to explain to them that those are just cartoons.
If it hadn't been for such remarks from our 5-year-old, we would have considered the option of leaving the TV around but minimize its usage.

As for the weekends, we are an active family who goes out early in the morning and he doesn't even have time or energy to sit in front of a TV.

It's true that sometimes (and very rarely), there are interesting programs by mediacorp and national geographic and we watch news from ChannelNewsAsia. These are the things that we need to forego. And our collection of very nice Japanese cartoons will have to go too...

It's a tough decision for us... What should I do?

winth
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Postby mintcc » Tue Sep 09, 2008 8:36 pm

our TV died about 2 months ago and we have been taking forever to find a replacement. Not sure if we will get one to replace it but so far we are doing fine.

My boy still gets his Signing Time DVDs from my laptop, + you tube videos.

The lack of TV also means we spend more time with him and we don't need to be on high alert when he come running to us and we are watching something violent. The dad actually find time to read to him after the TV died. The only thing I miss is news, well and the Olympics and the national day parade :cry: Seems to be quite out of touch with the news without the TV. It is also quite inconvenient if I need to rush something from work or surf KSP when he is watching. But then we get to watch together and practice the signs together.

So yes, we can live without the TV yeah! warning...you tube is more addictive than the TV. :twisted:

mintcc
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Postby ChiefKiasu » Tue Sep 09, 2008 8:57 pm

winth, honestly, while I think it is great that you spend the weekends with lots of outdoor activities with your kids, I think you are being a tad too extreme for your child in banning TV from the house. In a sense, it is like the Japanese shoguns sticking to their hardearned physical battle skills and principles, preferring the use of arrows and swords to guns and cannons. In the end, they were wiped out by the less skilled armies with better weapons. No one will deny that the self-discipline and physical training of the shogun masters far exceed those of modern soldiers, but they were obsoleted by new technologies.

Children today are born digital. They come to a world with artificial lights, sounds, and machines. They can operate these machines much more intuitively than us parents, because they have been exposed to them since they were born. And the ones that can master and wield these and future technologies to their own benefit will have the greatest chance of success.

TV by itself is not bad; it is the content and how we use it that renders it "evil". If we show our children only good, educational content, it is an incredibly powerful tool that can expose them to different cultures, science, and knowledge very efficiently. The key is CONTROL. Obviously, the SAHMs will have the advantage in this aspect. Grandparents tend to be a lot more lax and you must talk to them seriously to explain why you need them to take greater care with watching TV with your children.

My son practically learnt his numbers and ABCs from watching a couple of VCDs before he was 1. My daughter is reinforcing her English phonics and Chinese through educational programmes on CD and video. Discovery, History, Animal Planet, and National Geographic, and news constitute the majority of programmes I let them watch. As a treat, I would let them watch Disney and Pixar cartoons, Mary Poppins, etc.

Can we really stop our children from watching TV even if we try? I think not. It is much better that we teach them how to watch TV by sitting down with them as they do, rather than they learn from their peers.

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Postby tamarind » Tue Sep 09, 2008 9:56 pm

I agree that the key is control. And that is what we are doing at home. My kids can live with or without TV, they are not dependent on it.

There are many ways to learn, educational DVDs/TV programs are only one tool, these should not be the only tool. I still think that kids learn best from books, real life experiences and actually doing things with their hands.

As parents, we must set a good example. I have given up watching TV when my kids are awake. I will buy complete sets of TV series VCDs, then watch them when my kids go to bed at night, or before they wake up in the morning. I sell the VCDs after I finish watching :D

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Postby winth » Wed Sep 10, 2008 10:41 am

Hi everyone!

Thanks for your invaluable feedback. :D Think we do act like shoguns when I come to think of it. It was a hit on the bull's eye, thanks, chiefkiasu.

Actually, we are secretly planning to replace the TV console to a bigger bookshelf cum display corner for Daddy's New TeaSet. Our son's books are like occupying already half of the bookshelves available in the house. Desperate need for a bookshelf and a place for our teaset that is beyond reach for my 15month old. So, now new teaset might have to find a new place afterall. :wink:

Actually, I'm happier too as I do not have to discard my precious collection of Hayao Miyazaki's Japanese cartoon DVDs and those very nice cartoons that we've bought. :lol:

winth
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Postby EN » Wed Sep 10, 2008 11:48 am

Hi

I'm one of those who hardly watch tv too. I don't restrict my kids time watching tv in the morning as I am a working mum & they are cared for by the maid. However, I do emphasize that school work must be done first before they resume their leisure activities. So far no problems for my kids. There are times that I told my kids too much tv is bad for them. But they usually surprise me by interesting facts, questions & new vocab. Night tv is only meant when I have teleconferences & when homework is done. I will have to know what is shown. My son loves Art Central. So, depending on what is shown, he got to watch them when I'm on the phone.

Dont think tv is bad. It does provide an outlet for de-stress & provide usual information as well if properly managed.

EN
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Postby sleepy » Wed Sep 10, 2008 3:39 pm

I was quite addicted to TV, since my schooling days. Would continue to watch TV during my exam period

After my girl turned one year old, I stopped watching TV during the day. Dare not subscribe to cable vision because super addictive too

Only switched on TV at 9pm when they have gone to bed. Luckily I don't have to give up my favourite box entirely :D

sleepy
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