A New Rant: This Just Out Today….

(This post is more about COMPUTERS than TV, but at the bottom you can read a lot of comments about TV and how different families deal with TV and other screens. This post is written from a Waldorf perspective and the Waldorf perspective actually is NOT that TV or screens are “evil” or “forbidden”, but that there is a proper time and place for these screens in development of the child according to the development of the three and four fold bodies.  That is all!)

Okay, you all can agree or disagree, but here is my rant of the day:

From Nielsen Online:

Kids from two to 11 years of age are spending 63 percent more time online than they did five years ago, says a report released Monday from Nielsen Online. Children in that age range were online an average of 11 hours in May 2009 versus just 7 hours in May 2004.

Over the past five years, the total number of kids surfing the Net has shot up 18 percent to 16 million, says the report, while the overall Internet population has risen only 10 percent. The younger set now represents 9.5 percent of the online community.”

This just saddens and sickens me.  Really, children age 2 have nothing else better to do than to sit in front of a screen??   Is it not enough that we are already fighting  the insane levels of television watching and corresponding obesity and lack of outside play time for our children?

Are our children truly happy and carefree these days?  Are they healthy?  I would say not.  I have talked with many, many pediatric health care professionals (because I am one!!)   ranging from pediatricians to naturopaths to chiropractors to mental health care professionals who are all saying the same things: kids today are stressed out, they are seeing mental and physical health problems in our children that were never seen before except in middle-aged or elderly people, that children today are anxious and by the teenaged years can be completely depressed, “jaded”, old ahead of their time.

Stop the madness now!

What do children need?  If you all have read any post on this blog you will know what I am about to say:

For Small Children Under the Age of 9:

Imitation and having parents doing something worthy to imitate!, warmth, protection of the 12 senses, outside time in nature, free play with open ended toys, less talking, singing and music and art, practical work around the house, parents who are warm and loving and kind but yet will set limits, a rhythm that does most of the limit setting for you for the under 7 crowd especially, repetition,  less choices, education that focuses on the whole body and all the senses and not just the head, education that focuses on lighting up the imagination and not just stuffing the head with facts, keeping children in their bodies, regular sleep and rest times each day, warming and healthy foods…

Whew!  Did I miss anything??

Television and computers are not needed at such an early age.  Children who start using computers at such an early age are not going to have any more of a technological advantage over a child starting a computer later…Why our educational system has gone to using computers in the classroom for the Early Grades and even Kindergarten and Preschool, I will never know!  Children need to be in their bodies, not with their eyes focused on a screen and their hands tied to a keyboard with rapidly moving images!

This boils down to Parents Feeling They Need Something To Do With Their Children.  And We Don’t Know What To Do, so Let’s Use A Screen.  Small children do not need a screen, they need your loving presence. Instead of popping in a video to get some cleaning done, involve your child in the cleaning.  It may take twice as long, but are you truly in a rush?  Why?  Slow down!  Children are not something you can take and stuff time for them in a day planner.  Children needs copious amounts of Quantity Time.  Unhurried, unrushed time.

Yes, they need your time, in your home, in a peaceful and warm and loving environment.  They need parents who can slow down, and make hard choices to slow down if this is possible.  If you are a single parents or struggling to make ends meet, you may not have a choice whether to stay home or work.  But you do have a choice how you structure the time with your child after work  it most likely should involve not more stimulation, but learning how to be home and be okay with being home…..

Enough ranting now,

Carrie

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8 thoughts on “A New Rant: This Just Out Today….

  1. I totally agree, Carrie. I am working on eliminating screen time for my children (we are already tv-free…just working on being screen-free now.)
    Thanks for the reminder of why I’m doing this.
    Mary

  2. I’ve actually been thinking about this the past couple of days. I nurse at the computer A LOT. Then the other day, I looked down at my daughter (15 months) and realized how much time she’s spending staring at me click and scroll and how many flashy images she’s seeing. It can’t be good for her at all. I’ve decided for myself that I won’t be on the Internet unless she’s asleep because I need to be spending time with her. Now, I know you can’t always just stare at your child every time you nurse, but you can do other things besides the Internet. I think I’ll start reading out loud to her during nursings.

  3. You won’t believe this but my old math teacher told me the other day, her daughter is 3 years old and she watches Youtube videos and complains her mother’s computer is too slow.

    O_O No, not good at all.

  4. The screen is what I struggle with the most as a parent. I was pretty successful at keeping my eldest away from the screen for her first 2 years, but then I became pregnant and when I had an infant to care for, I started using videos to help “occupy” her so that I could nurse her infant sister to sleep without her tantruming and do meal preparations (I do try to include her in meal prep but it isn’t always a reality as of yet).

    Now she watches way too many videos and I need to go cold turkey. I know she would complain and ask for them, but I also know that she would be fine without them very shortly – but it would mean more work from me. And as my baby is approaching 1 year this fall and becoming more aware of what her sister is doing (and watching) I know I need to do something to change the “screen routine” now.

    This screen problem and meals are the weakest parts of my rhythm. Thanks for your words which help to strengthen my resolve.

  5. Well, I used to feel this way up to my daughter being 3 years old. One of the things I abhored as a child was seeing my mother being hypocritical; she could things she told us not to do but we couldn’t without being punished. This has truly affected my life and made me want to be more genuine and I vowed to never be hypocritical with my own child. My husband watches a lot of TV as well as play computer games… it is something he enjoys and relaxes with. I understand that. I watch about 1-2 hours of TV a day but I mostly like to read but I do use the computer probably about 2-3 hours a day as well; either for work, research, communicating with friends, read this blog :-) or to read some inspiring literature to help me in my journey. When I was eliminating the screen time I felt very hypocritical that I was allowed to watch and yet my child was not. I have limits for myself so I decided I could do the same for my child so that it is not addictive but truly another avenue for her to enjoy… I do so why can’t she??

    Now, I do believe in limit setting though because I do realize that TV, kid web sites, and games are purposely designed for children to want more and to want more materialistic things as well. That is a reality I am aware of. So with this awareness I believe boundaries is the main issue for us. We limit the amount of screen time she has on a daily basis (she only really watches on Tues and Thur since the rest of the time we are pretty active outside on the other days). When it felt like the limit was still too much screen time we limited it even further. Now we are a comfortable boundary and we involve her in the process. She helps keep track of her limits so that she is aware of the healthy amount of time spent vs the unhealthy and what it does to her body. With this boundary our family feels comfortable that we aren’t being hypocritical, that we are being careful of her screen time and making sure the other times are with enriching activites, together time, play time, etc.

    Anyways, that’s how our family approaches this subject. I just thought I’d share even though it is slightly different :-)

  6. There is an ad for a kindy chain here with a boy saying ‘at kindy I get to use the computer’. As if this is a good thing! To my way of thinking he may as well say ‘at kindy I get to drive a car’. Fine if you are an older teenager … but at 3???

    Parents fear boredom .. and I think they really use TV to ‘hold the space’ instead of mum doing that! In the incarnating child Joan Salter suggests pregnant first time mums take a decent maternity leave before the baby comes so they can ‘orient themselves to homelife’. I actually think some mums, even stay at home ones, never actually truly orient themselves to homelife! Might have to write a post about that actually, its got my blood boiling!

  7. We have a six and seven year old who both attend a Waldorf school. We have Friday movie night at our house. That is the only screen time they get all week. It works great….everyone is pretty tired after the school/work week. We get takeout, make a fire in the fireplace, get out the blankets and pillows and watch a great classic kids movie. Their current favorite is Peter Pan. We don’t park them in front of the screen we make it a fun family night.

  8. When my husband left I insisted he took the big tv with him (I never wanted it in the first place *sigh*)

    We *do* have a tv, it’s hidden away in a bureau (along with a selection of DVDs) and once my littlies are in bed my teens get to watch some tv (I’m not anti-telly, rather I just don’t think it’s healthy for small children, I have few problems with my 13 and 15 year old watching some).

    I had 2 days of serious complaining from my youngest son (3) about the lack of a telly.

    A couple of weeks later: nothing.

    Not one ask for TV or DVDs or anything.

    Out of sight, out of mind.

    They do know that there is a tv in the bureau, but because it isn’t right there in front of them, they aren’t reminded of its existence.

    It’s certainly not easy, being a single parent now there isn’t another adult on hand if I’m tired or ill, but my older boys are really good and will read stories and build train tracks – so I’m absolutely blessed there. They’ve also managed really well with the no-tv rule in the day, they have to plan in advance to tape anything they want to watch in the day to watch later when their siblings are in bed.

    It does help that we have an early bedtime here in comparison to many families. My youngest go to bed at 6pm (and sometimes earlier if they seem tired).

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