So, look, before I launch into this topic, I need you to know that I get it.
Really I do. That big old Rectangular Babysitter lives in our house too. Admittedly we have felt sorry for her over the years and have actively tried to cut down on the amount that she works. But when it’s been a crazy day or I just really need to get some work done, you bet your darn self that the Babysitter starts working.
There are just those days, you know? The days where you might just rip all the hair from your head and so for the sake of everyone, she gets entertaining. If you have to deal with just one more tantrum you might just lock them in the room and lose the key. Those kinds of days. I have them. You have them. Don’t lie. I know you have them too.
Anyway, in case it’s not abundantly clear, the Rectangular Babysitter that I am referring to is the TV of course.
Guys, there were days in “The Dark Days” of our lives that I am sure the TV never even got switched off. The Dark Days I’m referring to being that time we had a baby and then like three months later, found out we were pregnant with another baby. And then I was sick the whole pregnancy. And then we had the baby and they were both crying and needing things from me. But completely different things. And I didn’t have a car. And I was stuck at home. And it was hard. Really really hard. And so to cope, I put on that TV. I even grew to love those Teletubbies. Desperate times and all that.
But as the kids got older and we started coping, we stopped having that baby sitter. There are times now when it’s not switched on at all in the day time. Till our Friday night movie night that is.
I think the point I’m trying to make here is that I LOVE TV – personally (series addict hello) and for my children. I have nothing wrong with them winding down to a bit of their favourite series every now and then. But. And here’s the big BUT here.
We are pedantic about what they watch.
I’m not joking. We’re super strict about it. Here are some of the rules that we enforce:
- They are not allowed to put the TV on without asking.
- You will never find the TV tuned to an adult channel.
- The kids never watch TV completely un-monitored (I’m always hovering in the background)
- They have strict rules on which channels they are allowed to look at. In fact if they accidentally change it onto something they know they shouldn’t watch, they scream for me in panic until I come and fix it.
- If the age limit says PG there’s a good chance that they won’t watch it unless we’ve vetted it first.
- They will NEVER watch anything PG13 or higher until they are 13 or higher.
Don’t even get me started on the fact that we don’t have tech for our kids or the fact that they will not have a cell phone until like, 50 or something.
(To be clear – they have limited screen time on my Moms tablets that she brings over once in a while. I understand that children in our day and age will be at a disservice if they are not exposed to tech as well as letting them play in the garden. I’m trying not to be a complete idiot about it.)
Why? Why are we so “ridiculous”?
Not because I don’t trust them. Although, to be fair, there is a bit of that.
No, the reason is that I am invested in protecting my children for as long as I possibly can. I care about their innocence. I don’t want them seeing things at 4 or 7 that they cannot unsee. Our children should not be exposed to these kinds of things. They are not equipped to deal with it. Sometimes adults aren’t even equipped to deal with some of the stuff on TV nowadays, how can we expect our toddlers to be able to?!
OK Cindy, we get it, you don’t do it so why not just keep that to yourself and get on with your life?
Well, I asked myself that too and then…
Knox’s new school does home visits and now that I am part of the PTA, I get to hear a bit of feedback (not about individuals at all, just general concerns) about our children’s home environments. The meeting happened last night which is actually what prompted this post.
The amount of children that not only get to watch TV at their own discretion (which is ALL the time) but HAVE A TV IN THEIR OWN ROOMS is actually shocking. They have the remote sitting next to their bed and they get to watch whatever they want, whenever they want. It’s disturbing to me that these children could be watching completely mind raping shows that will change them for life, and their parents probably don’t even know about it.
But why does that concern me? Well those kids then come to school and impart those things to my children that I have worked so very hard to protect! And they just think they’re sharing something cool – not even realising the effect that it’s having on them or the person they are telling it to.
I’m just feeling a bit at a loss here.
Are these parents unaware of what their children could be watching without them knowing? Are they intentionally wanting their kids to grow up before they’re old enough to process what they’re seeing/hearing? I just don’t understand how this can be something that we’re OK with.
At this point I guess there may be some people reading that do have the TV’s in the bedroom thing going on. You may even be a bit affronted at what I’ve said here. I want you to know that I am not attacking you specifically. I’m just upset with the situation. But I still want to hear from you. I have passionately expressed my point of view, I’d love to hear yours. How do you know what they are watching?