My kids watch a lot more TV than I did at their age.
For much of my childhood, my TV viewing was limited to half an hour a day on weekdays. That meant running home at lunchtime to catch The Flintstones. The TV was rarely on in the evening and NEVER EVER in the morning before school. Saturday morning, on the other hand, was a TV free-for-all for me and my brother as long as we kept the volume down and got our own breakfast. And Sundays were a little more lax, with my parents allowing us to watch the odd episode of Star Trek, Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom or The Wonderful World of Disney.
I know part of why my kids watch more TV than I did is simple availability. While we had no more than 13 channels for years (only one or two of which ever played kids’ shows and there again, only at certain times), my kids have access to dozens of kids’ channels with 24-hour programming just for them. Not to mention all of the on-demand channels they now have at their disposal so that they can call up their favourites, well, on demand.
Another reason is convenience. It’s just so much easier to get dinner on the table if the kids are zoned out in front of the TV.
And, OK, maybe there’s just a touch of rebellion in there too. Of the “I’m the adult here and no one can tell me how much TV is too much because if I want to let my kids watch more TV in one day than I did in a week that’s my perogative as a parent and I’m sure they’ll turn out just as smart and well-adjusted as I did since I really don’t believe it’s because I was never allowed to watch Gilligan’s Island after school” variety. (Although I draw the line at SpongeBob SquarePants. That show will rot your brain.)
And if I’m being perfectly honest here, there’s one more reason my kids watch more TV than I ever did: There are some pretty funny kids’ shows out there and I don’t mind watching right alongside them. That’s right, I actually ENJOY kids’ TV.
I love the over-achieving kids on A.N.T. Farm and the family dynamics and diversity on Jessie. I get a kick out of Phineas and Ferb. I can sing every song ever sung on Austin and Ally. I even had tears in my eyes during the recent series finale of Good Luck Charlie. And don’t get me started on Dog With a Blog. The parents are hilarious, the kids are sweet, and who knew a talking dog would have some of the funniest lines on TV?
Maybe it’s because I’m too tired to watch anything on TV after 8:30 p.m. Maybe it’s because I fall asleep during any show that lasts longer than 23 minutes. Maybe it’s because even if I find an adult show that is intriguing enough to keep me awake past 8:30 and for longer than 23 minutes, the chances of me ever finding it and watching it again are slim to none (oh, for the days of only 13 channels to surf!)
Or maybe I’m filling a void that The Flintstones of my childhood just didn’t fill.
Whatever the case, my kids will continue to watch more TV than is probably good for them. But at least I’ll be curled up on the couch watching right along with them.
Except for SpongeBob SquarePants. And NEVER EVER in the morning before school–even I have my limits!
Check out Luc’s thoughts on kids’ TV.