Young kids watching too much television

I found an article on MSNBC.com, about preschoolers watching far too much television than what they should be, look at the article below, and tell me what you think:

“Young kids are watching too much television, some averaging more than five hours a day, a new study suggests.

The findings include screen time at home and in different child care settings.

And nearly 70 percent of the preschool-age children exceeded recommendations by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) for limiting screen exposure (including TV, DVDs, computers and video games) to one to two daily hours. The recommendation is based on research linking screen time with adverse effects, including language lags, obesity, possibly aggressive behaviors and decreased academic performance, according to study researcher Dr. Pooja Tandon of the Seattle Children’s Research Institute and the University of Washington.

“A majority of children under the age of 5 years in the United States spend almost 40 hours a week with caregivers other than their parents, and it’s important to understand what kind of screen-time exposure children are getting with these other caregivers,” Tandon said.

Tandon and her colleagues will detail their findings in a forthcoming issue of the Journal of Pediatrics.

TV tallies
The team looked at data collected from nearly 9,000 preschool-age children (4 to 5 years old) along with their parents and caregivers who took part in the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Birth Cohort (ECLS-B). The ECLS-B has followed a nationally representative sample of 10,700 children born in 2001. The sample is meant to represent about 4 million children of the same ages and demographics.

Results were grouped by child care setting: home-based care (in the child’s home or a relative/non-relative’s home), commercial day care centers, Head Start programs and no child care arrangement (parents only).

 

Overall, children stared at TV screens 4.1 hours a day, including 3.6 hours at home and the rest in child care. Kids in home-based care showed the highest screen time, about 5.5 hours a day, with 1.5 of those hours in front of screens during child care. TV time for kids in commercial day cares was the lowest, at 3.2 daily hours. Kids cared for by parents only were exposed to 4.4 daily hours, and Head Start kids got 4.2 daily hours of screen time.

Tandon said the results aren’t that surprising. “When children are at home, whether with parents or another caregiver, it’s easier to turn the television on,” Tandon told LiveScience. “Many of those settings are not regulated or licensed; many tend to be less structured.”

As for the overall abundance of TV-watching among the tots, parents’ hectic lives may be partly to blame. From her own experience as a parent as well as anecdotal evidence from friends, Tandon said, “there are times when the television is used as a babysitter in a sense.”

Part of the problem is that parents aren’t as comfortable sending their children outside to play on their own. And with so much media available, kids are spending more and more time indoors, she added.

TV tips
Since TV and other media are here to stay, Tandon recommends screening quality shows. “For children over 2, I think programs that teach things like numbers, letters, different languages, [those] that have positive messages like sharing and respecting diversity,” Tandon said, adding that programs such as “Dora the Explorer,” “Blue’s Clues” [s1]and “Sesame Street” would be considered positive shows.

Tandon offers tips for limiting screen time :

  • Use DVDs or on-demand television, because when the show is over, it’s over. “The problem with television is it keeps going,” Tandon said. These media also eliminate advertisements, which tend to promote unhealthy foods, she added.
  • Set rules for screen time early in children’s lives.
  • Turn off the TV during meal times.
  • Take TVs out of bedrooms. (Tandon mentioned research suggesting a certain percentage of preschoolers have TVs in their rooms.)
  • Watch television with kids, and discuss the shows and the messages put forth.

And the take-home message from the study, Tandon said, is for parents to loop caregivers in — let them know what the recommendations are for TV time. If parents are in the know about how much screen time they soaked up during the day, television at home that day or week can be tailored to keep it at a dull roar.”

 

Sister Wives Speculation

So I’m going to be honest I haven’t completely watched a full episode of the show. I’ve seen certain “parts”  or segments, but I’ve never had the time to sit through an entire episode. So this is simply my own perspective from the little I have observed about this show.  I’ve read many articles speculating about this family, and it all seems to boil down to the fact that the show is really only portraying the more “surface” dynamics of how this works without getting any deeper. We sort of “get” why this man obviously would find this type of arrangement favorable.  But for many people, men in particular, the mere premise of maintaining 4 marital relationships and 16 kids is it a bit much… Kody has even indicated that he’d like more children. Now this could boil down to his core beliefs, BUT for the average person this sort of arrangement would become stressful after the “newness” and “fun” wore off.  Kody paints everything with a positive attitude, and as something completely doable–something he is proud of. But we don’t really understand why at his age (of 20) he made the decision to have numerous wives, we don’t understand how he isn’t stressed out by it all(we wish he’d at least admit to that) and we’d like to know the depth and “feelings” that he has for each woman.

This is all “touched” so lightly that we really don’t get to see the “reality” of it but merely an “we’re typical, we’re happy, we have normal problems” sort of image. This would be fine, but it’s obvious that this sort of arrangement would have some pretty “major” issues because let’s face it this type of family is NOT the typical family. We see SOME of the advantages of this sort of arrangement. Wife number 2 gets to work a lot of hours without childcare worries, or worrying about who is raising her child. Wife number three gets to stay at home with the children. Wife number one only had to have one child(but she seems most unhappy with this arrangement which makes us wonder WHY she kept pushing Kody to find more wives). Wife number 4 gets a huge ready-made family with an obviously good financial situation. All of these sort of “explain” why this sort of arrangement could be beneficial. But what many of us are trying to understand is:

1. How in the world can they afford 16 children, a huge house, and all of the other financial costs and expenses? I mean Kody drives  a luxury car! While it’s clear that two of the wives work, and that Kody works (as a sales man) we’re wondering how even with all three incomes combined–they could afford this sort of lifestyle. I’d like to see more segments on “budgeting”, and the “costs” of such a lifestyle. Because even if the average salesman made 250k to 300k and both his wifes made 60k-100k, they still be considered pretty average in financial footing with a large house and 13 children. And speaking of “costs” who does Kody have on his insurance plan? Isn’t it irresponsible to have so many of his children uninsured?

2. For Wife number 4 (Robyn), why would she bring her three children into this sort of lifestyle, when she clearly did not raise them in such a way? And since I’ve only seen small segments–I may be missing something but is her EX husband in the picture? If he is, doesn’t she worry about potential custody issues, such as the fact that she is in an “illegal” marriage. Wouldn’t that make it so much easier for her ex husband to get custody?

3. Is this really healthy for the children? How does one man (Kody) manage solid loving relationships with each of his 13 children? It’s hard enough balancing a typical 3-4 kid family, but how in the world does he manage to have good relationships with each kid and be a good husband to each wife AND be a highly paid salesman? It just seems far-fetched.

4. Some of the older children are opposed to the lifestyle. I’d almost want to see more of the show highlighting how the kids feel about each “mom” and how they REALLY feel about Kody?

These are really some of the questions that have been plaguing me. And these questions haven’t really been answered or addressed. The Brown Family says that this show was created to “inform” the public about their “typical” lifestyle, but rather than doing so, we’re getting a very “surface” image of what happens in this sort of family unit. How exactly is this informational helpful? If we’re all asking the same questions about this show then I’d say that the show has NOT really painted the sort of  “reality” that would help us relate to this family. At least HBO’s Big Love seemed to make much more sense and has a further sense of depth. This show is very one-dimensional so far.

Are reality moms, really living in reality?

These days when you turn on the television it’s difficult not to watch television shows about “reality” moms. In a lot of cases these reality moms are NOT at all the reality for the majority of us. We don’t have nannies, cooks, cleaning people, or a staff dedicated to our every need. We don’t have cameras following us around and exposing our private moments to the public. We don’t have personal trainers, or money to get plastic surgery (Kate Gosselin). We don’t look glamorous as we’re heading to the grocery store, kids in tow, and after a long day at work. We certainly don’t get the privilege of going to 4 and 5 star vacations whenever we want. And more importantly we aren’t duped into thinking that we are above the law–which I’ll get to soon enough.

It appears that reality moms really aren’t living in reality… Or at least not our reality. Most reality moms live lives that most of have us will never experience.  Trying to follow these moms parenting styles proves to be moot. And yet these moms are considered the “reality” of most American parents. In which reality do they live in? Apparently a reality where certain rules and laws just don’t apply to them. In many cases what starts off as a “regular” real parent, soon transforms into the reality of a celebrity, which in many cases IS in fact a reality where laws and rules just don’t apply. This is why Lindsay Lohan, and Paris Hilton can get away with numerous drug charges and still party the next day. This is why Miley Cyrus at 17 was able to go into a 21 and up club(she was spotted at one last weekend) and this is why at 6 Drew Barrymore was smoking pot and drinking until she was drunk.

But obviously there is a difference between a reality parent and a celebrity parent. Yet for some reason many reality parents fail to remember they aren’t necessarily celebrities. Though the lines often get blurred these days–with the variety of reality shows where the people are treated as celebrities–we must remember that they are in fact “real people who started off “real” but ONLY  recently began living lives that many of us would deem “celebrity” living. So while they live their lives posing as a celebrity, they must remember that they are in fact in a “reality” where certain rules still apply–even for them. This brings me to my main point.

As of lately, I’ve been reading more and more news articles where “reality moms” act as though they are celebrities(where rules don’t apply) and when reality catches up with them, it’s sort of like an “oh sh$$” moment. It started off with Nadya Suleman, who for some reason, with her 14 children–thought that her “child-rearing” and living environment was “okay” (as chaotic as it was) because she compared herself to Jolie.  Months later CPS investigated her–apparently her living environment wasn’t “fine”.  Now this same “said” mom is on the brink of “welfare” because UNLIKE a celebrity having 14 kids doesn’t mean you are rich. And Nadya didn’t get the memo that when you have 14 kids on a nurse’s salary you become broke.   Then last week we saw the “teen mom” episode where Amber Portwood somehow thought she was above the law when she physically abused her boyfriend in front of cameras. Not too sure what possessed her to “show out”(literally) in public, but she did, and unfortunately it came at a consequence: she is now being investigated by CPS. I’m sure that she thought being “big and bad” was cute until the reality hit. She has issued a public apology which probably will only slightly help her case.  And then the new reality show “Sister Wives”– at one point one of the mothers’ said: “When we decided to do the show, we knew there would be risks. But for the sake of our family, and most importantly, our kids, we felt it was a risk worth taking.”  Well apparently the risk was worth it, because they are now being investigated by Utah Police and could face up to 5 years behind bars. Not sure how that was worth losing their kids? But hey I guess the “call” of fame was more important!

Anyone else find it amusing and a bit ironic how reality moms are starting to REALLY face the reality of “poor” decision-making skills on national television?

Media & Teen Pregnancy

Supposedly the rate of teen pregnancies is at reasonably low rate–at least in terms of where the rate was in the mid-late 1990’s.  And though this doesn’t take away from the fact that the teen pregnancy rate could be lower, it does make a case for the fact that in many ways teens are making better decisions about sex OR that teens have more alternatives and solutions to prevent pregnancies from occurring than what they had in the 90’s.  I know when my mom was growing up–birth control, Plan B, and some of these newer methods weren’t available or weren’t accessible in the way that they are now.

A lot of the changes that we see in attitudes toward responsible sex, sex education, and teen pregnancies are the direct result of changes in our society and the way our society values sex, pregnancy–amongst other social issues.  Yet one thing that is a little surprising–when we consider the decrease in the teen pregnancy and the changes about sex and teenagers in our society is the sudden increase in television about teen pregnancy and/or teen sex.

The “increase” could be a result of what I mentioned earlier: the change in attitudes about these matters amongst Americans. But as stated in an article that I posted a week ago about the media’s impact on our children–it seems that the media may be influencing opinions about these matters in ways that are directly harmful for our children. Shows that make teen pregnancy seem, “cool”, or as if it is “in”, makes teens think that being a pregnant teenager is “fine” or even “manageable”. And while we don’t want to ostracize teenagers that are pregnant or make it seem as if it isn’t doable(because it is), we also don’t want to spread the message that having a child at 16 is something desirable or even “trendy”.

Though certain television shows state that they are creating content to PREVENT pregnancy, the overall message in the shows, the feedback amongst the viewers and the types of viewers watching the shows actually indicate the opposite. Shows like Teen Mom, 16 & Pregnant, the Secret Life of American Teenager, etc–are all shows that seem to be extremely popular amongst the teenage crowd. All of these shows center around “teen sex” and “teen pregnancy”.  And they all seem to send a message to teens that teen pregnancy is “cool”. Whether or not the shows intend for that to be the message is a different story–but the viewers, and the responses seem to point in that direction.

So my question is: is this trend regarding television and teen pregnancy, something parents should be concerned about or something that is simply a direct reflection of society’s “open” attitude about these matters–now more than ever? Do your teens watch these shows? Do you watch them? What message are these shows sending to viewers, in your opinions?

U.S. Pediatricians Decry The Media’s messages to our kids

Taken from the LA Times:

Parents, lawmakers and media executives are given plenty to think about in the American Academy of Pediatrics’ policy statement published Sunday. Kids today are bombarded with inappropriate sexual messages and images, the AAP committee said; everything from graphic sexual lyrics in songs to ubiquitous erectile dysfunction drug advertisements that air all hours of the day and night.

“Television, film, music, and the Internet are all becoming increasingly sexually explicit, yet information on abstinence, sexual responsibility, and birth control remains rare,” they write.
Among the points the panel makes:

– Only three reality dating shows were on the air in 1997 compared with more than 30 today, including “Temptation Island,” which “bring participants together for the sole purpose of seeing who ‘hooks up,’ ” the authors said.
– In a national survey of 1,500 10- to 17-year-olds, nearly half of the Internet users had been exposed to online pornography in the previous year.
– A national survey of 1,300 teenagers and young adults found nearly 20% had sent or posted nude pictures of videos of themselves.
– Advertisements featuring women are as likely to show them in suggestive or revealing clothing or nude as fully clothed.

Meanwhile, the paper notes, television resists running advertisements about birth control — including emergency contraceptives — but erectile dysfunction ads appear during family TV hours. The ads, the doctors say, can be confusing to younger children and should appear only after 10 p.m. Others have complained about the number of ED ads on TV. Rep. Jim Moran, a Virginia Democrat, sent letters last year to the heads of three major pharmaceutical companies calling on them to moderate advertising for ED drugs.

Kids get a lot of their knowledge about sex through the media, the authors write. Perhaps we should take a good look at what we’re telling them.

http://articles.latimes.com/2010/aug/29/news/la-heb-sex-20100829

My favorite kids “learning” shows

Yes, this is another list. I love making these lists because they allow me to reminisce about my childhood. The lists are also a great tool for parents looking for kid-friendly great books, cartoons, and shows that “teach” our children–I hope you enjoy this list as well. Keep in mind that a majority of these shows are shows that I watched as a kid growing up in the  late eighties/early nineties. Obviously nowadays the “kid” friendly television shows are not the same.

1. Barney

2. Lambchops

3. Reading Rainbow

4. Seasame Street

5. The Puzzle Place

6. Wishbone

7. Gullah Gullah Island

8. Muppet Babies

9. Blues Clues

10. Allegras window

11. Little bear

12. Eureeka’s Castle

13. The Busy World of Richard Scarry

14. The Adventures of David the Gnome

15. Care Bears

16. Louis Sharon and Bram’s Elephant Show

Jersey Shore & Other Reality Television shows

I admit I like SOME reality tv. I love Teen mom, 16 and pregnant, MTV’s true life, and Jersey Shore. Yes I know. It’s unfortunate that I have such a “bad” taste in television. Admitting that I enjoy reality television, is like letting loose a dirty secret. I’m ashamed to admit that I sometimes find myself laying in my pajamas, on the couch, spending endless time going through reality tv marathons, and chewing on Movie Theater Butter popcorn. Why am I ashamed? Because I KNOW that reality television isn’t really “reality” but more so a scripted type of reality that tends to always involve an elevated sense of drama, trash, and unintelligent behaviors. Anyone with more than half a brain KNOWS that reality tv is quite one of the dumbest things to watch, but since it seems to have taken over television most of us don’t have a choice in the matter.

I do enjoy and love some regular programming shows: True blood(a fave), Lost, House, Criminal minds, Law and Order SVU.  But when these shows are an off-season what is there to watch? Reality TV. When  “regular” televisions shows are discontinued or canceled, what is there to watch? Reality TV. When it’s almost midnight and nothing is really on, what is there to watch? Reality TV. When television–that used to be something that was semi-intelligent–has transformed into something full of trash, what is there to watch that resembles such? Reality tv.

So here goes:

This post isn’t a particular rant, but more so an observation about the quality of television in 2010. It’s very Sub-Par. And I actually felt sad earlier in the week when I learned that last week Jersey Shore made the top of the list as most watched television show. I like Jersey Shore. I really do. It’s pure entertainment. But I’m baffled that the show was top rated.

I liked the show better first season. This season has become extremely scripted, and the characters are clearly trying to appeal to the mass–with J-WOW trying to fight everyone and acting as if she is big and bad, with Ronnie and Sam break-ups and make-ups, and with the “Situation” acting as if he is hot stuff–all of it is getting old. What’s even more disconcerting is that these characters are idolized for essentially participating in some of the degrading and dumb behaviors that 20-somethings could partake in. The show basically involves a group of Italians participating in tanning, hair-spray and stiff hair gel, partying all the time, hot-tubbing, getting wasted, trying to get rid of grenades, engaging in meaningless hook-ups, creeping, and of course always wanting to fight. Is that what intrigues people? REALLY?

I mean I’m seeing these characters on magazine covers–Sammie being advertised for losing weight, J-WOW and her plastic surgery, Sooki and her drunkenness  The fact that reality tv stars(who are supposed to be just like us “normal” people) are now being graced in the same manner as ACTUAL actors is baffling to me.

As I said last week when I did the Teen mom Review. When I see Maci, Amber, and Farrah in headline news, on magazine covers, etc–then that is how I KNOW that reality tv has turned into a different type of reality. Where semi-average people are idolized for participating in degrading, harmful, stupid behaviors. Where reality tv stars are partying with celebrities and are treated as such. And where shows that are supposed to be about reality are ACTUALLY scripted into elevated intense dramas. Yes I’m starting to get sick of reality shows, and shows like Jersey Shore. I wish more people were as well. That way we could go back to REGULAR television.

Observation over.