In our house, we have The Today Show on every week day morning, but up until we visited your grandparents last week (it’s always the grandparents’ fault!), you have only heard the morning program. Last week you watched it for the first time! Not all four hours, but enough. You were mesmerized! And who could blame you, with Meredith Vieira’s perfect on point interviewing skills, Ann Curry’s flawless skin and Al Roker’s crazy antics, who wouldn’t be? Of course, it could just be the wonderful colors, bright lights and moving pictures.
I love to get my TV on and have several programs that I thoroughly enjoy watching (a couple too embarrassing to list here) and I believe that Tivo is one of the greatest inventions ever, especially for new parents! I gave up a lot of shows when I knew you were on your way; partly because I knew I wouldn’t have the time to watch as much TV and because I knew I didn’t need that many hours in front of the idiot box anyway. I am very selective about what I watch and don’t just pick up new shows for the hell of it and I’m proud NOT to be a slave to realty TV. I only have “Season Passes” to four: America’s Next Top Model, The Amazing Race, The Biggest Loser and Flipping Out .
I believe that watching television is a great escape, a pretty good way to get news and if used properly, a wonderful device to promote further communication on a variety of topics. It might also be a sanity-saving way to keep you quiet/distracted/tantalized/occupied for a few minutes, but I refuse to let you just zone out in front of the TV for hours on end now or later!! Mark my words, buddy….you will play outside and your electronic time spent with TV, video games, computers, iPods, Wii, etc. will be limited! You should also know that if push came to shove, I would give up that glowing box to read a book any day!
The best is yet to be.
In 1999 the American Academy of Pediatrics issued a policy statement about media and children. In it, the organization discussed the benefits media education can have as well as the health risks TV poses to children, especially those under the age of two. Specifically, the AAP said:
“Pediatricians should urge parents to avoid television viewing for children under the age of 2 years. Although certain television programs may be promoted to this age group, research on early brain development shows that babies and toddlers have a critical need for direct interactions with parents and other significant caregivers (eg, child care providers) for healthy brain growth and the development of appropriate social, emotional, and cognitive skills. Therefore, exposing such young children to television programs should be discouraged.”