Friday, September 28, 2012

R Loves Dora

At one time I was completely against 1. TV and 2. branded products for small children. TV because it's supposed to rot their brains and make them violent (in fact, the AAP used to recommend none at all for children under 2), branded products because I think they are tacky and ugly (and was worried about over-commercialization, consumerism, etc.).

I changed my mind. Actually, so has the AAP (while discouraging of TV, they now advocate media limits rather than necessarily a complete ban). Now I think the main problem with TV is simply that if a child is watching TV, they aren't doing anything else. Since small children have so much to learn, spending a lot of time on TV watching is going to have negative effects: it's a matter of balance.

On the other hand, watching violence and aggressive behavior (even when it's funny, as in Warner Brothers cartoons) is very bad for small children. So R is not allowed to watch anything like that. Actually her media is very tightly controlled: I don't even think Sesame Street is that appropriate (too much hostility and mean teasing).

She does watch 30 minutes of Dora the Explorer, most days (it's only allowed after 5 pm, upon request, and sometimes she doesn't ask or we are out). I like it, not only because it amuses her during the grumpiest period of the day (when she's hungry and tired), but because it gives her something in common with other children, which helps with making friends. It's just like TV as an adult really: it's a way to make connections with others (by talking about the latest shows, watching them together, and thus inhabiting a similar imaginative universe).
As a kid I disliked TV and preferred reading. This was fine at home, but at school it was an issue. I wanted to play games based on my favorite books, but no one else had heard of any of the characters and thus wasn't interested. It was disappointing and frustrating. If R can cultivate some "popular" interests like Dora, I think she will be better off.


  1. P LOVES Dora. I was the same way NO TV at all...then after 1 we started to introduce it. now she watches a little here and there. Where we totally don't do the "right" thing is that she has a dvd player in the car. Ever for 5 minute drives. It's just easier than arguing and my own argument for it is that she isn't doing anything else during this time anyways...
    ps- LOVE that Dora outfit SO MUCH!

    1. It's a gift from my parents. Think they got it second hand actually!