I try to limit the amount of TV my kids watch. I do, really, I do. Most days, I’m not that successful at it. When it was just me & Max at home, we had a pretty good schedule of an hour in the morning, and then maybe another 1/2 hour to hour in the afternoon, after his nap, while I made dinner. Definitely within the American Academy of Pediatrics’ recommendation. Now that there are two kids that get up at different times, the morning TV time has stretched out a bit, and since Max doesn’t nap anymore (usually), it admittedly sometimes goes on in the afternoon, too, while Wyatt naps. I feel extremely guilty about this, but sometimes it’s just a necessary evil in order to get everything done in a day that needs to get done (including keeping my sanity). My consolation is that just about everything he watches is educational.
Oh, did I mention they also watch a little before bed, too? Yeah, they usually wind down with something like Diego, but lately, we’ve been feeling like us parents need to get to watch a show once in a while, especially since Wyatt’s wake up call is at 5:30 am, our bedtime isn’t long after his. So the quest to find something family-friendly, that’s not made for preschoolers, but still ok for them to watch, began. Shows like American Idol and AFV are good for this; not my first choice, but a little more tolerable for an adult.
So yesterday, since Max had a fairly decent nap, I knew he’d be up late. I was feeling tired, so I said ok to some TV, but it had to be one of my shows. After some perusing, we decided to watch So You Think You Can Dance. Max likes to dance. He’s always showing me his new “moves”. I figured he would enjoy it, and it seemed innocent enough.
What bothered me was not the show itself, but something else I’ve been noticing more and more now that I’m a parent: the commercials. You think you’re watching something innocent, you don’t have to worry about walking out of the room to get a drink, when you hear a commercial come on for some incredibly gruesome scary movie. Or maybe now you have to explain to your 4 year old what erectile dysfunction, or herpes, is. I remember when Max was an infant, an old neighbor of mine actually called the local TV station to complain about a particularly explicit news blurb that was played during a Harry Potter movie.
Last night, the offense was an ad for a new upcoming show, FRINGE. Don’t get me wrong, this show looks really cool, it’s from the makers of LOST, I’d probably like to watch it. But I don’t need my kids seeing blood splattered all over the inside of airplane windows, and hearing the main character talk about how everyone is dead. This is all before 9 o’clock pm. Is is too much to ask that the commercials match the rating of the show? I know they sort of tend to do this anyway, but I think they can do a whole lot better.
As usual, it’s up to the parents (as it should be) to police what their kids are seeing. I don’t have a problem with this, but it would be nice that once we settle on a decent show, we could actually sit back, relax & enjoy it together.
I guess this is a another pretty good arguement for just turning it off & having some quality family time together.