29 May 2006

Parenting in the TiVo age

As I scanned my Technorati "parenting" tag feed, this post caught my eye. Frazzled Parent (I wish I knew her name) talks about how her son attempted to "pause" her (a la TiVo) so he could go back to watching TV. She goes on to discuss the effects of on-demand entertainment (and tech in general) on her kids.

Technology has really become a double-edge sword for parents. When my kids are older, I know I'll love the ability to call their cells when they are out past curfew. But I also want them to grow up to enjoy vacations away from home without feeling the need to constantly check in at work with the small portable devices that make this communication so easy. I love to rely on TiVo when the kids want TV at a time that traditionally doesn't offer good children's programming, but sometimes I just wish they were stuck watching whatever was on.

My kids don't even understand TV without TiVo. The concept of watching "whatever's on" is foreign to them. They also get mildly annoyed when the radio plays music they don't feel like listening to, accustomed as they are to iTunes. I, too, have wondered how this expectation of "on-demand" will play out as they get older.

Frazzled Parent has more to say -- have a look. I enjoyed her post, and thought you would, too.

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» Tivo for Tots from The Republic of T.
Parent Hacks links to a post about parenting in the age of Tivo that has a lot of interesting things to say, most of which I can relate to. But it was this bit from Asha at Parent Hacks that resonated with me. My kids don't even understand TV witho... [Read More]

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In general, my wife and I have followed the AAP's guidelines, which suggest that you don't allow your child to watch any television for the first two years. This has worked really well for our first child, who rarely has any interest in watching television. We're doing the same with our newborn and we'll just have to see how things go. Overall, the lack of television has made our oldest very creative, attentive and active -- which I've been told is the usual result of doing what we've done.

Three-year-olds are funny people. I don't have one of my own yet, but I was talking with my friend Marla in front of her three-year-old, and she said, "what did we do before TiVo?" and her daughter looked up at us, a little confused, and just said, "I don't know."

They have no idea.

Hopefully it means we don't have to race home to see the all-important show and we can take more time to play outside or do puzzles and play games... it means our kids can watch "good quality TV" when we need to make dinner or scrub the floor. Or maybe it means they'll be chronically impatient for anything they don't want.

Or all of the above. Sorry for the rant. I'm fascinated!

it sounds like these critically-thoughtful people will likely raise critically-aware children, despite TiVo. we try to use our technology with care and awareness too. and enjoy the benefits! definitely playing outside, and not watching any commercials we don't want to see (except maybe on FF).

despite this, i frequently catch myself with a desire to click a little bit and adjust the colours in a room, just desaturate a little, pluck up the levels! all the world a digital drawing.


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