Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Boys & TV

I'll admit it: although my boys love building with blocks, sculpting playdough and riding bikes outside, I'm one of the parents who pushed the "video games/computers" button over there on the left. And if TV was an option -- yeah, I'll admit that's one of their favorites too.

Now, a new report comes out linking TV viewing with depression. The link doesn't seem to be what I initially suspected -- that depressed teens simply watch more TV -- but rather that kids who watch more TV are more likely to be depressed a few years down the road. Of course, that's not saying that TV causes depression, but it's another log on the "TV-is-bad-for-your-boys" fire.

The negative effects of TV have been reported over and over. TV violence may spur violent boys. TV causes/contributes to obesity. TV exposes children to things they don't need to see. TV takes aways boys' imagination.

For another perspective, though, read Sandra Dodd. My Son #2, an avid TV watcher if ever there was one, fully agrees with "Everything I Really Needed to Know I Learned from Video Games and Cheesy Cartoons." It's amazing, really, how many things he's picked up from the TV. This past Christmas, he and Son #3 were both humming The Nutcracker March -- courtesy of Tom and Jerry. He's amazed me with interesting facts and vocabulary words that should be far beyond the reach of an eight-year-old. And every time I express surprise, he just looks at me, grins and says....

"Who says you can't learn anything from TV?"


  1. I would have been tempted to vote for the TV option if it were an option too, but Xander doesnt really watch that much TV.

    He does insist on having "his" shows on as background noise, while he plays or draws or paints or whatever.

    At the tender age of 3 he doesnt get into computers or video games yet, but he does try to "help" whenever I am playing games or checking my e-mail.

  2. You know, I've been amazed by how many people *have* voted for art supplies. That's almost always my boys' last choice!