children TV square eyes

I told my husband that I wanted to get rid of the TV. I wanted to remove it from the house. I wasn’t joking and my kids were not even watching the tube when I said this. When it was on, it annoyed me. I felt like all creativity was immediately sucked out of my kid’s minds, until it was turned off. I didn’t like seeing my kids slumped motionless in front of it and I didn’t like feeling as if I was competing with movies for my kids time and energy, (although it was a great way to distract the kids when I needed to get stuff done). After listening to these grievances and the added space that would be created in the room after we got rid of the TV, my husband agreed.

Why did we get rid of the TV?
TV changes kids imaginative play: I love watching my kids play because they have great imaginations. I see their creativity come out when they explore, dress up, and play together. However, this stops when they motionlessly watch TV. I also notice their play change in relation to what they have just watched. I don’t want Disney or Pixar defining my kids’ imagination.

Negative effects of TV: There has been a lot of research done on the effects of TV viewing for children. (Check out www.raisesmartkids.com). American kids are spending an average of 7 hours a day using computers, video games, TV and cell phones. Kids are exposed to thousands of ads showing junk food and violent promos. Kids will be exposed to more than 40,000 commercials in a year. Since my kids are young and learning to read, I think TV viewing also takes away from their growing minds. I want my kids interested in reading and playing, not looking at a TV screen and not being heavily influenced by advertisements.

Mindless Snacking: Obesity is a big problem for our youth. I notice that whenever a show was on for my kids, they would both immediately ask for a snack. As they sat, glued to the TV and ate, they become completely unaware of how much food they were consuming. (Sitting completely inactive also doesn’t help the situation).

We live on Maui: We are lucky to live on a beautiful island. I don’t want my kids stuck inside watching TV when they could be outside enjoying the beautiful ‘aina!

It has now been 4 months without a TV, and nothing is missing, except for: Constant background noise, Exposure to 1,000’s of commercials, and Witnessing my kids in a TV drug-like state. We now have bookshelves where the TV used to be. We listen to music more and it is lovely to hear just the voices of my family playing, chatting, and the kids creating worlds with their toys.

Image Credit: Janice Fransisco

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