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?