Sunday, 24 March 2013

Kids and Cartoons

D1 is presently writing his second semester..sorry, second term exams after which the school will go on break for at least 2 weeks or more. Nothing changes for me though as both boys would have to make do with staying at the creche during the break. Mum & dad gotta keep working now.

The week has been full of revisions and reviews though that doesnt stop them from watching cartoon while I am busy making dinner.

I remember before D1 started his 3rd term exams last year, his teachers practically begged me to please stop him watching cartoons at home.

Their reason?

His concentration and attention span had taken a downward plunge in recent times. When they were being taught in class, my little one would start slapping his left wrist with his right hand in typical Ben10 fashion and scream out loud "now it's hero time" or he would pick his Ben10 bag and start kissing the picture on it.

Real cause of concern if you ask me.

Consequently, Ben10 and other cartoons depicting violence were weeded out pronto.

Now I am not an advocate of giving the TV plus cable to charity but when things turn out this way, then it calls for drastic actions.

I intimated hubby of the new development and he seemed to think he would outgrow it but we should still limit the time he spends watching cartoon for now.

Consequently, we now try to regulate the time spent watching cartoons versus the time spent playing or interacting. Also we got educational CDs for them which we put on the CD player for them occasionally.

I read about a recent study which suggests that 'fast-paced' cartoons negatively impact kids development and their ability to think creatively. Some would even recommend the no TV policy for kids under 3years. There has actually been many studies over the years of the detrimental effects of TV.

Personally, I favour educating cartoons like Dora the explorer, Art Attack, etc but I have also discovered that they tend to spend too much time watching this and can practically recite some or all of the lines of some they had watched over and over to the detriment of other constructive activities. It practically limits the time they spend exploring their creativity.

Educating or not, I believe also that not regulating and monitoring them may lead to their adopting these cartoon characters as 'role models'

On the other hand, maybe selfishly now, I tend to use the TV to babysit when I have pretty important stuffs to attend to. For instance during my sewing sessions, I have to keep them occupied with cartoons otherwise I get to achieve nothing. I also make it a point of duty to keep the connecting door open and also pop in to check on them while they are at it.

To any mother or intending mother that may come across this, do you honestly think cartoons are bad for kids?
If yes, what do you think can be used as a substitute for cartoons besides educational CDs? How can one keep them occupied or entertained?
And how are you dealing with this issue or how do you intend dealing with it?

Please share your thoughts on this.


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At 24/03/2013, 09:45 , Blogger Ibifiri Kamson said...

As a rule there will be no televisions in our kids rooms only in the family lounge where it can be monitored. I watch cbeebies with my 6months old daughter n I can see her improving her talking/blabbing skills. It's very educative, teaches them how to cook, clean up, eat veggies, drink water instead of fizzy drinks, know about animals n where they are from, learn to be creative/ artistic etc. during one Ted talk a brain expert said that kids who play video games that have to do with combat n bad men popping up from unknown places, develop great multi tasking abilities. Much as I will not let my child watch tv all the time, I don't think it's bad for them. After all the kids r in the era of technology.. Kids have started reading early with an iPad software. My own take is like everything they should have a schedule. There should be tv time, outdoor play time, reading time, homework time etc.

At 24/03/2013, 15:30 , Blogger Abiola said...

That was a good one, Ibifiri.

The idea of schedule is not bad too though may be hard to adhere to if the parents are not 'disciplined'.
Monitoring is still very key in my opinion because kids are highly impressionable and who knows how their innocent mind processes some of these things. It's a duty we owe them.


At 25/03/2013, 10:50 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

The "Tv time" should also not neceessary be for cartoons alone, u can tune to NaGeowild and let them watch some documentries that are age appropriate. Asides watching TV, you can also try puzzles and crosswords games, i find them educating and a good way of keeping them busy.

At 26/03/2013, 09:49 , Blogger Abiola said...

Thanks for stopping by, Anonymous.

Puzzles, crosswords, etc are very good alternatives but kids generally have short attention span, they get bored easily. I guess alternating these activities would go a long way in keeping them busy.


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