Sandy at Jesus and Dark Chocolate posted a question:
“How much is too much TV? I also realize it’s also important to monitor what they watch, so what do you think about The Disney Channel and other networks geared towards kids? All thoughts are good thoughts, so bring it on ladies. 🙂 I really want to hear what you think!!”
If you have time, click on over to Sandy’s “watching tv” post and give her a little feedback!
I started to answer in a comment until I realized I was hijacking her blog. So. I’m posting my response here and letting her know about it.
How much TV?
It varies. We don’t have a certain number of minutes per day. I have a feeling that if I set a maximum time limit, they would make sure to watch that much, when in fact, they have days where they don’t watch at all (so far today, nobody has been interested.)
We stay pretty busy, even in the summer – with the (near daily) rain, swimming, play practices, basketball camps, podcasting camp, clay animation camp, “play dates” with friends, family outings, guitar practice, computer time, video games (we play together) . . . and OF COURSE (in this house) reading! We’ve been so on the go this summer, it seems like we only had one week without anything on the schedule – and then we filled it with a beach trip to Daytona. I admit, after a stint of fast pace scheduling, we have “lazy days” where we completely veg out. Overall, TV is watched more during the summer than during the school year. During school we have extracurricular activities (we limit each kid to two things at a time – if their grades stay up) and youth group/children’s ministry starts back up on Wednesday nights.
Given all that, we don’t necessarily have “rules” – more like TV “habits.”
1. MOST of the time, we watch shows recorded with our DVR. NO commercials – saves time and sensors the junk.
2. The kids mostly watch Disney Channel, some Discovery. We have no idea what shows are on Nick. No interest at all. When Brittany’s sister got pregnant, my kids had no idea. Didn’t care. On the major networks (ABC, CBS, NBC and FOX) the only show we DVR for family viewing is American Idol.
3. TV goes OFF if nobody is in the room, watching it. TV background noise is like Chinese water torture for me.
4. The layout of our house is such that I can see and hear everything being watched. It’s made for some good conversations about choices and communication. We’ve also adopted a few family jokes and quotes we use on a regular basis. Basically, there’s not a show the kids watch that I don’t know the content, the characters, the plotlines . . . I love the layout of our house. (NO TVs or computers in the kids bedrooms.)
5. On school nights, all electronics are off at 7:30 p.m. – TV, computer, cell phones, mp3 players – ALL electronics off. NO TV in the mornings before school.
6. Shows get paused OFTEN for chore and homework breaks. Chores and homework get done very quickly when a TV show is paused.
7. We also have a library of family oriented DVDs, many of them Disney movies. One of my favorite? The Emperor’s New Groove.
This post has prompted me to do a little TV watching “inventory.” I went to each of the following network websites and looked at their listing of shows. Here’s what we watch:
Family – Suite Life of Zack and Cody, Hannah Montana, Life with Derek, Phil of the Future, Wizards of Waverly Place.
PinkGirl – Phineas and Ferb, Cory in the House (Personally, I HATE Cory in the House. FavoriteSon says “me too.”)
Family – MythBusters
FirstHusband and I – Deadliest Catch (LOVE the editing on the beginning of the opening sequence! The timing with Bon Jovi’s “Wanted Dead or Alive” is great.)
Family – Every once in a while we catch an Extreme Makeover: Home Edition or a SuperNanny.
FirstHusband and I: Grey’s Anatomy.
Family – Nothing
FirstHusband and I: We’ve been strongly encouraged to watch the Big Bang Theory and after watching a clip, I’ll be setting the DVR. We are that geeky.
Family – Nothing
FirstHusband and I: Nothing
Family – American Idol. Every once in a while, we catch “Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader.”
FirstHusband and I – Nothing.
Family – Who wants a CLEAN HOUSE! PinkGirl and I love Niecy Nash. PinkGirl LOVES “How Do I Look?”
FirstHusband and I – Nothing. (But he and FavoriteSon will watch Clean House with us sometimes.)
Family – Nothing
FirstHusband and I: The Closer and Saving Grace (both are summer series).
On Friday or Saturday night, FirstHusband and I watch TV. Sometimes we “rent” a Movie on Demand from Brighthouse. I think the last one we saw was “Fool’s Gold” with Matthew McConaughey and Kate Hudson. What can I say. I’m a cheap date.
We also own a few series on DVD and will watch episodes (in order, of course) on weekend nights. TOTALLY giving away my geekiness here, but we actually own the entire Farscape series on DVD. And our favorite, all time show? Sports Night.
It’s got the fast paced wit of Aaron Sorkin. (The best part of this clip is at the end.).
Every show, a BEAUTIFUL view of the twin towers is shown (its last season was in 2000).
I got FirstHusband Quantum Leap for Christmas, and we recently started watching, so those will take a while to get through.
Oh! FirstHusband and FavoriteSon watch sports, mostly college football and pro basketball. (I watch enough sports to be able to ask intelligent questions and I understand the terminology enough so that when they are watching one sport on tv and listening to another on the radio, while switching to a third during commercials – I don’t get too confused anymore.)
If I remember something else, I’ll edit the post to add it, but I think that’s it.