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Misfit?

You are probably well-aware of my anti-TV/limited technology stance when it comes to Little L, and babies and toddlers as a whole. We are working hard to raise her without these influences, while fully aware that at some point when she's older, we will need to provide her with guided access since, well, it's the 21st century.

But right now, she is still so impressionable and her brain is still growing and developing in leaps and bounds, so I want to take full advantage of that and not spend our time wasted in front of a digital screen.  Research suggests that the greatest learning takes place in face-to-face interactions, so that is what we try to focus most of Little L's time on.

I realized this morning that Little L has never watched an episode of *anything* be it on TV or an iPad.  Her only iPhone play has been with Fisher-Price apps, and even that is now limited to maybe once or twice a month for 10 minutes? (it is what we call our nuclear option, for dire emergencies only). She doesn't know Disney princesses or Thomas the Train, she doesn't know jingles or Wiggles, and that big flat rectangular thing in the living room might as well be invisible to her.  Sometimes I will catch her running around with the TV and DVD player remotes yelling, "Two! Two!" and pressing the buttons to watch them light up, but that's the extent of her contact with TV.  Oh - she does know about using the camera and FaceTime, but those are necessary evils ;)

When it comes to commercial characters, Little L is fond of Mickey Mouse and Winnie the Pooh, Charlie Brown and the Fisher Price Little People, but only because she has read books or played with toys that feature them. I haven't been big on buying her lots of things based on movies or shows, so she has no idea about any of the "popular" characters.

And neither do I, really. I'm aware of Thomas (no idea why he appeals, BTW), and Dora, Max and Ruby, Franklin the Turtle, and Caillou.  What other big name kiddie shows are out there on Treehouse or Nick Jr or the Cartoon Network? Is Sesame Street still going strong (I know Elmo is!)? Did they finally cancel those creepy Teletubbies? When did Diego get his own spinoff?

You get my point.  I think maybe Little L and I are social misfits when it comes to all of this stuff; we are both still blissfully unaware (I haven't watched a single episode of Game of Thrones or Mad Men, and I cannot name any song in the top 20 if my life depended on it), which means we are unsusceptible to the marketing hype normally targeted at kids.  It could also, however, be a barrier to her "fitting in" at school one day, since it seems we are going to be increasingly outnumbered if we continue to hold out on techno-media. In the end, I actually hope that Little L can find other little misfits to befriend, because frankly I don't want to go commercial in my purchasing, and I don't want her to be some crazy girl obsessed with Disney Princesses.  

Sadly, however, I am sure the day will come when she notices that everyone else has X backpack, and she will want one too.  But until that bridge needs to be crossed, I'm just going to try and keep my baby girl as far away from TV and other forms of media technology, as possible.

What about you? How aware is/are your kids when it comes to TV shows and movie characters? 

Comments

mitzerella said…
Max knows thomas the train and bob the builder. when he's inconsolable- like waking up after napping for 3 hours and just screaming - i whip out the ipad/computer and youtube thomas and friends. works wonders to diffuse and then i can inject the mamma love.
Mrs. Loquacious said…
Little L rarely wakes up crying, and has never been inconsolable after a nap. Usually her worst meltdowns happen in a restaurant if we've overstayed her limits, and at that point one of us usually takes her outside and we settle up and go. Somehow I think Bob the Builder would not be a distraction that she is interested in ;)
Kitten said…
I let my children watch television. I used to do it during the nebulizer period of my son's asthma attacks when he'd attack almost everything to get away from the machine unless he got to watch television. Sadly, that seems to have set a precedent, so avoid TV while you can.

Having said that, we curtailed his TV greatly and he still ended up knowing all the commercial characters once he hit preschool. Other kids will tell your daughter that "X is a princess. She has a castle and a pet horse."

My son had no idea what a gun was prior to starting preschool. Three months in, he was turning EVERYTHING into a gun because that is what the boys he knew did.
Mrs. Loquacious said…
This is my greatest fear about preschool! If only I could keep her in a bubble ... ;)
Ms PR said…
We don't own a TV. :) I limit all other screen time unless it's absolutely necessary. She knows our phones and iPad don't belong to her and are therefore off limits.

If JJ is really sick and just has one of those days when she just needs to veg (as we all feel like that sometimes when we are sick), I will let her watch a show, but it'll be a Chinese cartoon that teaches her Mandarin (that's how I justify it, at least!) She does know Elmo and other characters through books and various toys she receives though, and that's fine by me. I think it's cute when girls go through the princess phase and of course, everything in moderation, but it's OK if she wants to dress up like a princess or put on her robot costume for kicks. Kids will be kids.
asphodellium said…
No TV for Ashelyn, either :) we don't have cable. Not fitting in at school hadn't occurred to me, so you're ahead of me on that one!

Actually, MY parents cut off cable when I was in grade 4, and I haven't watched TV since. It was never a problem socially! Except when people refer to commercials, I never know what they're talking about. (And I can't be sure this is related, but I'm a huge wimp when it comes to stressful movie scenes ... like, I have to close my eyes. Seriously, six-year-olds can stomach more than I can.)
Mrs. Loquacious said…
@Ms PR - I agree that moderation is fine, but I'm not sure how well little ones "moderate" (e.g. I've seen kids who have to have everything Thomas or Dora or Disney Princess).

@Asphodellium - I'm glad to hear that it wasn't a problem for you socially! A lot of the kids I taught were very aware of the branding around them, and I am hoping to somehow shield Little L from some of it. That's the goal, anyway. The HOW? is a lot harder to figure out ;)

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