May 25, 2006

"At 1 year old, he was putting his own DVDs in, skipping scenes."

Your child is a genius. Be sure to tell everyone. I'm sure they won't take your statements the wrong way.


Dawn said...

That's nothing. At one year of age, my oldest had discovered the secret of cold fusion.

Dave said...

I was declining Latin verbs and integrating equations at 1.

At 2, I was deep into Riemann spaces, and at 3, I could recite Milton and Chaucer in their Swahili translation.

By 10, I had mastered Urdu, Klingon, and semaphores.

Beat that.

HD_Wanderer said...

By one I could almost walk, and I drooled a lot. Now in my late 30s I walk well... The drooling I'm working on.

Richard Fagin said...

I preiodically take the kids' TV away becaue they leave their rooms and the game room a total disaster. One time they didn;t have TV for five months because they just flat refused to clean up. Don't hold your breath, kids.

After relating this to a friend, he remarked to me some time later that one evening he, his wife and daughter were watching TV. He looked around the room at what he mst have thought some some amount of mess and said, "If Richard lived here none of us would ever get to watch TV again!"

dick said...

We complain that the kids are too fat, they don't get enough exercise, and here they are telling us that kids should watch MORE television rather than playing outside. How many hours of the day are they expecting to fill with this drivel??

Freeman Hunt said...

When I was nine, my parents offered to buy me a computer if I would give up all television for one year. I did it, and I've been on the computer ever since.

Joan said...

Dick, I'm not sure where you read that anyone is advocating more tv for kids. The article talked about individual parents who let their kids watch tv, but they weren't cited as experts. More like, they were cited as idiots who don't know what the pediatric muckety-mucks think is best for kids, or they just don't care.

My (former) pediatrician once hassled me for the amount of TV my kids watch. I listened politely but kept right on doing what I'm doing, which is the best I can. My kids are active, healthy, and fun to be around. If they get more than 2 hours a day of screen-time, it's not going to kill them.

One thing I do is strictly control what they can watch (or play, on the computer). Most Disney Channel and Nick cartoons are banned (SpongeBob being the main exception. I love SpongeBob.) The typical "kids" show is one in which all parents and adults are idiots, and all the kids are disrespectful punks. I won't even get into how downright ugly a lot of animated series are these days. (My eyes, they bleed.) I noticed long ago many more attitude problems if my kids watched that crap... so now I don't let them watch it.

I've also noticed my oldest has a tendency to become abruptly hostile if he spends much more than half hour on the computer, so I try to limit his time playing the more action/adventure games appropriately. But I bless the computer daily because he can do his math drills (AAA Math) online, so the rest of us are spared having to do 15 minutes of flashcards every freakin' day. Bonus for me: he has to do his flashcards even on non-school days if he wants to use the computer for anything else.

onelmom said...

Kaiser's analysis seems about right to me. Preschool television marketers have been so successful tapping into parents' aspirations and insecurities- boring brain development research can't compete.

Back when we had cable, I'd put a Playhouse Disney show on for my son most mornings. The shows are about 20 minutes each, so in between they show "shorts" along with commercials depicting parents of all ages, shapes and colors talking about how Playhouse Disney is making their kids super smart and bringing the family together.

Most of my well-educated friends who parent toddlers have read all the research and the "no TV til 2" recommendations. They justify their kids' TV habits with, "we all watched TV and we turned out just fine." But you won't hear them bragging about how Dora the Explorer taught their kids to count in Spanish. And the screen hours/day will be fudged down in the preschool interviews.

But many of the less-well-educated parents I know haven't seen the research or heard the recommendations. Like the mom in the article, they think it's amazing that their 18-month olds can recite the alphabet and various other useful exercises selected by TV marketers for the "wow" factor, and will be happy to report that their child learned it all from Nick Jr.

dick said...

Granted that I live in New York City. Most of my well educated friends have kids that are being raised either at child care facilities or by live in 3rd world nannies. The parents talk about spending "quality time" with their kids. Quality time to them in many cases is that the family sits there and watches TV together.

At what point does all this stuff from the pediatrician take over with these people. They can read all they want but if they are not there to enforce it, just how much of this do you think really happens. Then if the kid is punished by being sent to his room, he is fully equipped with his own cell phone, TV, stereo, computer, X-Box and games. Big punishment.

The parents are so involved in the one-upmanship about how smart their kids are that they never seem to see that the kids aren't having any fun. How could they be. They are living the dreams of their parents and not their own dreams. They will try because it is for mommy and daddy but is it really right for them.

Pogo said...

The primary problem with excessive TV watching is the brain development it engenders. The decline in rational linear thought wrought by Friends and Oprah was well-discussed by Neil Postman in years past.

TV is for the most part junk food for the brain. Mental flabbiness is its most common effect. Does anyone truly believe otherwise?

Bruce Hayden said...

Part of the problem is that TV is an opiate. Parents, et al. use it to distract their kids so that they, the parents, can have lives. But then, it probably isn't any worse than video games.

I have just seen too many parents do just that, instead of working with the kids, one on one, they just pop a tape in the TV or put on a favorite show, to drug the kids for 20 minutes to a couple of hours.

To some extent, this ties into our ealier discussion about supervision. Back when I was growing up, we ran the neighborhood. The kids are no longer allowed to do that. So, what do you do to keep them occupied all day that they aren't in school (at whatever age you start them)?

Atticus said...

(Pre-school interviews? Ooh la la!)

We turned off the tv last summer and never regretted it. When the kids go to Grandma's, they get to watch plenty. As far as using tv as a babysitter, I thought Crayons and construction paper worked pretty well.

If you watch kids watch tv for very long, you'll see the biggest problem: their eyes glaze over and they lose contact with the world around them. On top of that unnerving experience, the commercials turn them into little beggars. As someone else noted, mhy kids have attitude problems after they watch tv--it's just too tempting for them to act like those pampered little monsters on the sitcoms. The kids on tv are dressed in the coolest styles, so it must follow that their behavior is cool, too, right?

I know many parents who would love to limit tv for their children, but it would mean the parents would have to limit their own tv time. How can we tell the kids not to watch Nickelodeon if they know that we still watch CSI? Grit your teeth, turn off the tv and you'll discover that life still goes on.

Wickedpinto said...

Kinda makes me think of the book by piers anthony "Macroscope"

In it there are several characters, one of them is nicknamed "schone"

Basicaly the background is that children, left to their own devices, and with infinate information fundamentaly must become geniuses.

With all of the "being left to their own devices" kinda darkness.

Not really a very powerful statement, more along the lines of sad, in that it says more about the author than what the author wants to say about society.