The Digital Dilemma
My mum would often say to us kids “you’re going to get square eyes” because we watched to much TV…at least that’s what she thought! My parents actually censored what we watched quite a lot compared to our friends. I wasn’t allowed to watch any of the cool stuff like Power Rangers or The Simpsons. When all my cousins got to go watch Independence Day at the cinema, I had to watch Matilda. We didn’t own a gaming console until I was 18!
I used to think that was all unfair, but now it’s my turn to be a parent. All of a sudden, I’m responsible for the media that my kids consume. Except that instead of 1 TV in the house, there are multiple computers, iPhones and iPads. Kids can watch TV or stream content from SO MANY different sources, DVDs are super cheap, and there are tons of gaming devices. And instead of a few programmes to choose from, there is so much out there to watch!
How do you choose what they watch?
People reading this will have kids, grand-kids, nieces, nephews or kids of friends of all different ages and backgrounds. How do you decide what they watch?
At the moment my oldest loves watching her “videos”. This is usually videos on the YouTube Kids app. As for stuff that she might watch on my TV, how do I choose what she can watch? Well, I don’t choose based on educational content. It’s not based on her age. It’s not based on violence or bad language. The reason is, and I know it might be selfish, it’s based on what I enjoy, haha.
That’s right, I only let her watch shows I find interesting or can stand. I love The Wiggles, so that gets a yes every time. I don't like Hi 5, so she doesn’t get that. I also HATE Frozen. (I love Disney and mostly animated films, I have a big collection, but Frozen….don’t get me started, we’ll be here all day!) But she loves Frozen, so I made a rule, she can only watch Frozen on a Friday. And it can’t be turned up loud. Peppa Pig, yes. Dora, no way. And as for YouTube Kids, I’ll let her watch almost anything on there since they’re all kid friendly videos, but I hate Ryans Toy Review. Just something about the voices of the mum and kid. So yup, no real logical or rational explanations here. I basically let her watch whatever doesn’t drive me insane. I hope I’m not the only one!
The good thing about my media censorship
The upside of my parents being strict on what we could watch and how much we could watch meant I spent a lot of time outside as a kid and a lot of time reading. This was great. Kids love the outdoors. I became (in my not so humble opinion) quite good at sports and I was well ahead of my age for reading. So while I realise that kids these days are more connected digitally that any generation before, I want them to have similar boundaries. So I do try to have limits on how much they watch. But the digital dilemma will only continue as my kids get older. My generation was the first with “social media” in the forms of chat rooms and MSN messenger. Now you could be on any one of a multitude of apps. 10 years ago MySpace was the biggest social site around. Now it’s Facebook. Who knows what’ll exist in 10 years time when my kids are entering high school! But I do want to find the ideal balance, if there is such a thing. I don’t want my kids to grow up as the weirdo kids who never had a TV, but I don’t want them to be the kids whose best friend is a keyboard either.
So, how do you choose what your kids watch? Any tips or tricks for the rest of us? Let me know down below or on my Facebook page!