Should TV be banned for the under-twos?

Oct 13 • Featured, Uncategorized • 865 Views • 11 Comments on Should TV be banned for the under-twos?

Most mums I know let their little ones watch TV. Not from dawn to dusk, obviously, but maybe an hour in the morning and an hour in the afternoon. Yes, a few of them probably use the goggle box as a sort of virtual au pair, something to entertain their children so they can get on with their chores without being interrupted, but on the whole they let them watch TV because the kids enjoy it and it's something they do together.

Now, according to a new study from Down Under – the country that gave us Home and Away and Neighbours! – too much screen time can stunt development and shorten kids' attention span.

In my opinion it's how you interact with your children that encourages their growth and development. In our house we've always talked about what we're watching (and often, it has to be said, all the way through it). We've sung along and played the games. I'm not a fan of those four little creatures with the TV screens on their tummies, but I do recognise that they have something to teach small children. Ditto Waybuloo.

Let me know what you think.

written by Liz Jarvis

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11 Responses to Should TV be banned for the under-twos?

  1. Linda says:

    Sigh. Yet another study to heap on the guilt for mums. Yes ban TV! Ban cake! Ban mums going to work! Ban mums staying at home! Ban girls wearing pink and boys wearing blue! My girls are 11, so I can’t remember how much TV they watched when they were tiny, it wasn’t much, I know that, but they did watch and enjoy and learn. Will someone come and "survey" us? I don’t know how to transcribe the sound of a raspberry but here’s me trying anyway: ffflleffllleefllump – that’s to the anyone who has ever conducted a survey flying in the face of life in 2009. Kids watch telly, some develop brilliantly, other’s don’t.

  2. Liz says:

    Well said, Linda!

  3. Joanne Mallon says:

    The thing is, the mums who claim their kids don’t watch much TV are so blinking sanctimonious about it, they don’t do themselves any favours. I love kids TV, as I said here: http://www.parentdish.co.uk/2009/05/16/why-i-love-childrens-tv/ but the one thing I don’t do is automatically put it on when we come into the house. So some days mine watch it after school, some days not. No harm in a bit of TV in the context of an active life.

  4. Sam says:

    In the Night Garden gets my daughter singing and dancing; Super Why gets my son interested in spelling and sentence structure and Art Attack, or Mister Maker always sends him rushing to the craft shelf with renewed ideas and enthusiasm. They don’t watch much TV, but so far, I believe, it’s done them no harm. Kids develop in different ways and at different speeds and what’s good for some is not so for another…

  5. Bev says:

    Must say that some kids TV these days is quite educational too, my 9 year old has always watched some TV from being tiny and he is doing really well at school, hates homework of course and would rather watch TV anyway, but still it gets done and he is near the top of his class an almost everything. My 5 year old frequently takes craft things into school that she has seen made on TV and they always comment on how creative she is, she is also doing well. Most mums know what is too much TV and can make these decisions for themselves, being a mum is (most often) instinctive – afterall, who advises all the animals how to rear their young. If the experts got on with doing something worthwhile and let us mums (working or otherwise) get on with raising our kids without the constant guilt I’m sure it would be for the best!

  6. Maternal Tales says:

    I have to say, up until the age of 2 my children weren’t even interested in watching TV (much to my annoyance as a little bit of distraction away from me would have been beneficial for us all). They both watch TV now and I don’t have a problem with it. They also swim, ride their bikes, play with friends, etc, etc. Not only is it good for them to have a bit of ‘down time’ occasionally, but what they do watch is usually educational and sparks discussion amongst us. They’ve learnt Spanish, facts about animals and the world around us, spelling. The list goes on. Love TV. It only stunts children’s development if that’s all they do…

  7. Sarah Lewis says:

    I have to say I dont have an issue with kids tv, if used correctly. I do know of parents who as you said, put on the tv to occupy the kids while other jobs are done. The only regular occurance with kids TV in my house is the Cbeebies bedtime hour, because my 15 month old loves it, but she is playing and singing and doing 15 month old stuff at the same time, not just glued to it for an hour! I think the issue can actually be with older kids, my eldest (now 6) was watching programmes on channels like Nickelodeon, which on the surface looked fine for her age, but she actually started acting like a stgroppy teenager! I have since banned such programmes and now she acts her age again!!!! I think TV for kids is a good thing if monitored and not as someone else said – an every day same time same place occurance that kids get too used to!

  8. dulwich divorcee says:

    Hi Liz – great post And you’re right, great minds as I’ve just written about this http://www.dulwichdivorcee.com/ban-the-box/ . Don’t get me wrong, my kids do watch plenty of TV – but they don’t watch much violent/scary stuff. I know a few smaller children who do and I really think their behaviour is affected by the competition/aggro that they see on telly. Either that or they’re just naturally violent!!

  9. Tattie Weasle says:

    My children watch TV but only stuff I think appropriate for the age/comprehension. We all love watching Merlin – a family treat to be watched together weven though my littlest is only 3. But the games they boys have afterwards well it’s part of their lives like books.

  10. Mum of 2 says:

    I’m scared to say anything after all the comments above but I felt that real life images and sounds were the best for babies and kids to learn from, plus that TV nowadays switches between angles so many times in a minute that it’s quite damaging to developing eyes and brains. I think how many scenes would I see if I wasn’t looking at the TV then how many are shown on the screen and it’s several every few seconds which isn’t good for the eyes’ abilities to focus. Plus, I feel what kids see on TV, they believe to be true and real. So, the less they watch, the better in my opinion. OtherOtherwise, if the TV has

  11. Deborah Dooley says:

    Yet again another study stating the obvious. Of course if you plonk your child in front of the tv for hours and hours every day, it’s not going to be great for their development or anything else. If you limit their tv, and interact with them over it, as Liz says, and as almost every mum does, it’s fine, and probably a good source of learning. It also provides a break for busy mums. All things in moderation. Well said Liz. http://www.deborahdooleyjournalist.co.uk

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