Television: How Much and What?
Dear Ask A Dad,
Can I let my children watch television without damaging their brain development or attention span? If so, what shows should I let them watch?
Dear Gossip Girl,
I don’t know anything about the first part of your question, so I wouldn’t worry about it too much. Let’s move right along to what shows children should or should not watch.
DO let your kids watch sitcoms – that is, the ones that do not rely on laugh tracks. We live in a fast-paced society. Parents don’t have the time nor the energy to do a nine-to-five, cook dinner, pay the bills, taxi kids to and from ninja and accordion practice, help them with homework, AND teach them how to deal with a school bully. Throw in an episode of The Cosby Show and they’ll learn from Rudy how to take care of that bully situation within 22 minutes.
DON’T let them watch anything on the Disney Channel. By doing so, you will help prevent premature boy infatuation and adolescent idol worship. This isn’t as damaging to them as it is annoying to you. More importantly, the shows on the Disney Channel can seriously thwart your child's ability to develop genuine whit, unless they’ve learned to watch with a deliberate sense of irony.
DO let your children watch Crossing Over, as it will teach them how the deceased speak to us through charades. I’m getting a signal from some sort of father figure, maybe a brother, uncle, cousin, or a male friend or coworker, whose name starts with an A or a H or a Z or a Q. Why do the dead talk this way? We’ll never know until we cross over. To be honest, I don’t know how this would help children, but it’s fascinating.
DON’T let them watch Baby Einstein. There’s no astrophysics involved and it was not what I was expecting at all. Instead, replace it with a documentary about the actual Albert Einstein. By making your kids watch it at least once a week, they’ll become conversant at an early age about the differences between general and special relativity. They’ll hate you for it for the first 35 years of their lives, but will appreciate it for the remaining 40. (Hey, that’s over 50% of their life!)
DO let them watch HBO’s In Treatment. This will help you save money on your child’s inevitable need for therapy.
How much TV should you let your children watch? You should let them watch no more than…oops, sorry to end this post a little prematurely, but Fringe started about 5 minutes ago.
Tyler H is a guest blogger and father to Emi. The Three Bay B Chicks have asked him to shed light on a Dad’s point of view under the stern supervision of his loving wife. If you have a question for Ask A Dad, feel free to submit it in the comments section. The Three Bay B Chicks are not responsible for Tyler's "advice."