We have a high-def widescreen and no cable TV. It’s a bit like having a fondue maker and no cheese.
(Then again, we do have a fondue maker, but we’re dairy-free…)
Part of our decision is based on research that suggests that TV has a deleterious effect on mental development under the age of 2. But a bigger part is based on the fact that we’re both the children of immigrants and notoriously tight with our dollars. We just don’t see the value in spending an extra $60 a month for the hour of TV that we would watch each week. That’s $15 per show, which is money we could spend on food, clothes or Catholic school tuition.
We had a love-hate relationship with the intrepid reporter and his sidekick, Snowy. On the one hand, we loved his world travels, which regularly sent us to our world map to trace his adventures. On the other hand, we hated the liberal presence of guns in the stories, which precipitated weekly sidebars with Nick’s teachers to remind us that gun play was not allowed at the school.
Now that we’ve moved on to Wild Kratts, I have seen a difference in his behavior. He has a renewed interest in animals, which started when we introduced Diego two years earlier, and a declining interest in weapons, which started shortly after he began watching Tintin.
It would be easy to make the correlation between his TV viewing and his behavior. But I also wonder whether he expressed interests in shows that reflected his interests in real life. It is no more unusual for 5 year olds to enjoy combative play than it is for a 4 – or 6 – year old to enjoy wildlife.
Still, I take full responsibility for the content we expose him to. He plays in a very small media sandbox. We just have to be more aware of who gets to play with him.