Does Better TV Mean Better Kids?

Does it? Always a tricky question…how much TV is ok for kids, what kind of TV is ok for kids?  Increasingly challenging to distill an answer in a world where TV is only one of many available screens.  In our house there is a limit of 1 hour of ‘screen’ time on weekdays and there are stipulations on when and how it can be used (ie: morning tasks must be done first, no screens after 8pm, must have permission and use a timer etc). Screen use for us includes ipods and smart phones (when used for games), computer when used for social media, online games or youtube or xbox games.  We don’t have TV but do use Netflix.  However, Netflix and movie-watching are prohibited during our weekday screen allowance – ‘TV’ type watching is only permitted on weekends.  Our kids constantly tell us that our rules are too strict and that “all of our friends watch movies on weekdays” etc.  However, we stick to our guns.  There are too few hours and too much important time to be had together.  I grew up with no television until I was 14 and my husband also did not have TV until he was well into grade school.  We both believe that being sheltered from the onslaught of pop culture and advertising allowed us more space to be in the world and become confident in our own identities.  There is no question that pop culture (which is not all bad) and advertising (which perhaps is all bad) come from many angles from many screens (and everywhere else when you live in downtown Toronto).

The graphics I have used in this post are from the folks at EducationNews.org.  Scroll down to see their full presentation.  I’d love to hear your thoughts and what works or doesn’t work in your house when it comes to television.

Better TV Infographic