Kids don’t watch TV!

I found this comment from Alice Taylor, a Bafta award-winning gamer, very interesting.  It was during a panel discussion at Microsoft Soho Studios.  Kinect has recently added National Geographic and Sesame Street to the Xbox peripheral allowing children to be more interactive with the games.  They’re trying to move away from the Dora style attempt at interaction on TV, where she asks a question, pauses a moment and then applauds the child even if they get it wrong or have walked out of the room.

Ever since my daughter was little we’ve worried about the amount of TV she watches.  I remember sitting in the waiting room to see the health care visitor and chatting with a more experienced mother.  Embarrassingly, almost in a ‘holier-than-thou-new-mum’ type of way I professed that we restricted her TV watching to 30 minutes a day.  She looked at me in that ‘bless you’ type of way and said ‘don’t worry you’ll get over that’.  I have to admit that it’s been a slippery slope since and she watches more TV than I’d like her to.

However, I have absolutely no problem with my daughter playing games as long as there is some kind of educational content.  This may have something to do with me being an ICT consultant in education.  She’s been using my iPhone since she was two and flies around my Ipad.  I have more apps on it for her than myself.  I’m constantly amazed at the quality of ‘edutainment’ content that is out there.  As a parent, I have to say I’m more comfortable with her playing educational games than watching TV especially if they get her off the sofa jumping around.

However, it’s another thing for us parents to worry about.  I lump computers, Ipads, Smartphones and games consuls into one larger category which I call screen time and as a parent I’m going to do my best to try to balance these with playing outdoors, eating mud, cooking, crafting and socializing.

And when I come to think of it, I watch very little TV except the odd episode of Embarrassing Bodies or Strictly on the Weekend.  However, I spend far too much time on the PC but in my defence I’m not watching soaps or reality TV, I don’t knit and this is my hobby.  Unlike television where there is very little social interaction, as it’s a very passive activity, my online activities are very social and educational.  I spend most nights chatting with others via twitter/facebook, composing blog posts (hoping to engage others in discussion via comments) or commenting on others blogs, so I guess I’m not a crusty after all!

I’d love to hear your comments on this.  Does this worry you?  Do you allow your kids to play games?

Disclosure:  I was paid to attend this event

Author: mediocremum

A slightly older mum of one, who drinks far too much red wine and has an unhealthy obsession with her slow cooker. During the day she's an ICT Trainer, Social Media/Online Marketing consultant and does a bit of public speaking. Full Profile on Google+

4 thoughts on “Kids don’t watch TV!”

  1. Chrissie I think you’re right about getting the balance right with screen time and actually doing things. Screen time may be educational, learning through play, but I’m fearful that future adults will lose the gift of practical skills, such as doing and making, fixing and mending.
    I’ve noticed as the mother of 5 that children’s writing skills are on the decline, this is partly due to teaching in schools, lack of crayoning time in the home and the wide spread use of technology for communicating and producing class work. I’m also fearful that the nations ability to spell will disappear with constant auto corrects that don’t actually happen in ones head.
    I’m just as guilty as the next parent when it comes to my personal use of technology and that of the children’s, but I have always banned TVs, computers in bedroom and have only recently unblocked Internet on 16yos phone.
    I will however finish on a positive note in support of technology, with the right balance my 12yo dyslexic son learns more from interactive activities and from the TV than he does reading, in fact his exam revision has been via the Internet and Discovery channel.

    1. This is a difficult one. If I’m honest, as an ICT consultant in education I have sometimes worried about the amount of time they spend doing handwriting and the non-existence of any type of keyboarding skills. Suzanne, I know you are an avid writer of letters but I can’t remember the last time I wrote a letter by hand and I doubt that it will be something that my daughter or her peers will do. Is this a bad thing?

      I want my daughters educational experience to reflect the world that she is going to live in. I also have concerns about the decline of literacy and the thought of text speak everywhere makes me sick. But language evolves and so does means of communication, we no longer use quill pens nor speak in Olde English. I can’t help thinking this is natural evolution…..

      Should we teach handwriting in the Digital Age?

      1. Chrissie I am very grateful that my youngest can use computers and television programmes to help with his learning and in his previous school he was able to sit his exams on a computer, however since changing schools this is not the case and he now has to write papers. he struggles with the reading of the questions let alone the actual writing. All of my children have poor writing skills and the school here in South Africa was actually rather concerned about their writing and spelling ages compared to the other students. In the UK this didn’t seem to be a problem as the teaching styles here are very different from the UK. They are more how I learnt at school, with letter formation until one got it right and they do x and underline in red spelling mistakes, punctuation and grammer. My children do not see this as a negative and rather enjoy getting their work back with less comments than before. This si something NOT done in schools today and when I suggested to a mature student that her work could be presented differently to maximise the impact of the message she was trying to portray I was informed by my line manager, after she complained, that this would undermine students and not motivate or encourage them. I argued that as a student teaching assistant, that it was madness to pass the piece of work with such simple spelling mistakes as their, they’re and there.
        Until we move 100% to an on line world there is still a need for the written word, job application forms, birthday cards, addresses on envelopes, minutes from meetings.
        There are times when computers aren’t available, when ink and paper run out, when a system goes down and I’m afraid that children today won’t be able to communicate effectively.

        Look at the (unnecessary) panic caused when BlackBerry went down for a few days, people ‘claimed’ they were unable to function.

  2. Hi,
    Firstly I don’t worry too much about the amount of telly more the content. WWE is my sons big thing at the minute and much as he loves it one more day of him trying to drop a 619 off the sofa will see a referral from social services dropping through the door. But much as he loves it he also knows that a book can be more fun just different. In a rare moment of intelligence he came home the other day and said of a horrid henry book-this is like tv in your head. How chuffing lovely is that,admittedly he did then kick his sister but hey,you can’t have it all.
    The same with my ipad,happy for him to play even if his shouting “headshot” in the middle of caffe nero after a game of Contract Killer (download it it’s free,great and you can pretend your’re shooting your colleagues) is a little disconcerting. He can do that as long as homework and stuff upto date. I tell myself this,it never happens..
    So ,handwriting. Of course we should teach it. The more the better. Mine is far from perfect but I try my best as with speling. But,handwriting says so much. Do you want a condolence card with “In our thoughts” in times new roman,or something someone has taken the time to put a bit of thought into and taken enough time to find a pen sit down in front of paper and spare you a few minutes, same with a note to colleagues. A post it note on a desk at the end of the day saying thanks for their help or another email (font size 12 arial sans seriff naturally)? We needn’t use quills but would I rather draw up ink from a bottle or switch on the ipad? The first always.

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