I am a homeschooling mother of a 6 year old son. Everything has been
working great. Recently he has been obsessed with watching tv after his
work is done. I find that tv today is not appropriate for children this
young. there are some decent programs on, but for the most part it is
filth. I do not want to deny my son the privilage of having a tv and
entertainment, but i am seriously thinking of getting rid of it completely.
Before i do something too dreastic, are there any devices that may help
Get rid of cable. Then you only have dvd's and videos. We haven't had cable/ television in almost 8 years and it has been wonderful. I also don't keep a video/ dvd library, so we have to rent or borrow. We watch about 4 hours of "tv" a week and that is more than plenty.
I know there is a program called Angel TV or something like that. I believe it is only supposed to have positive and child friendly programing. We moved recently and singed up for the dish that is used in our area, only to be disappointed with so much garbage. However we have a 2 year contract and feel stuck. When the 2 years are up, we are going to seriously consider this other "Angel" option. Hope that helps.
Location: United States
Posted: 29/Jun/2006 at 6:52am
Tip for LB,
We raised a nice batch of homeschoolers with no TV in the house. We never missed it. Still don't. At the risk of killing this thread, see below.
Matt, Message Board Editor
No Telly on the Mountain
When I asked my mom for suggestions about a science project in the eighth grade, she suggested an imprinting experiment with chickens.For the first 24 hours after they hatched, our little chicks were restricted to a small area in the yard.In the middle of this area was a 10 inch electrically powered, imaginatively decorated clown. He waved, at the chicks I guess, while rotating slowly and endlessly on his pedestal.After 24 hours the chicks were returned to their normal environment.Eight weeks later, having never seen an adult chicken in their short lives, the chicks were released into the yard in the presence of two mobile entities. One was their mother, a live chicken.The other was the clown, waving happily as before.
The chicks clustered excitedly about the clown, ignoring their biological mother.I didn’t think too much about the experiment at the time.My mom never said a word.Knowing her, she probably had some educational agenda in mind. That was her style.She liked to fly below the radar.
One thing we did not do in our mountain homeschool was watch television.We didn't have to exercise a lot of self discipline to minimize our viewing time.It went to zero, because we couldn't get a channel. Years later, when our family returned to civilization, I threw our only television, a black and white model with a 12-inch screen, into a dumpster.The night was dark and stormy, or it should have been if it wasn't.Several of our children and a few neighbor kids witnessed this exorcism, which I heartily recommend for all families.
People ask how we manage to keep children out of our hair without television, as if children are fundamentally incompatible with parents and each other, and as if television is a lifesaver in its role as a baby-sitter.This is another example of the wonderful irony of modern life.As the root cause of much of the dysfunctional behavior in their children, television should be regarded by parents as anything but a friend.
To begin with, despite assurances to the contrary, plenty of evidence links habitual television viewing to Attention-Deficit-Disorder, that modern and widespread impediment to the educability of children.With a large segment of society using television as a baby-sitter, humans have unwittingly duplicated disastrous experiments on other animal species in which infants are raised in isolation from parents or by inorganic surrogates.
The results of these experiments have ominous implications for people.Birds will cluster about a mobile inorganic object as adults, ignoring their biological mother, if imprinted as chicks.Puppy dog isolates demonstrate "overactivity, distractibility, ....inferiority to pet-reared and colony-reared dogs in problem solving...., and inability to be socialized thereafter." (Comprehensive Textbook of Psychiatry; Freedman, Kaplan, Sadick, 1975)
I am sorry to say that children are now deserted by parents to be raised by television sets and have been since the Sixties, when television programming expanded to include daytime hours during weekdays.The results are predictably horrific.Kids are like other animals.ADD children, estimated to represent up to 20% of the school-age population, manifest the distractibility, hyperactivity and other features of puppy-dog isolates, as well as a bonding and imitative predilection for television over their own species.They mimic the frenetic nature of the programming, and their attention spans correspond to the intervals between scene changes on the television screen
The experts tell us that ADD has always been with us and does not result from environmental or social factors.I don't believe them.I made a trip to the medical school library and found that the ADD syndrome, by any of its names, started appearing in psychiatric textbooks in the Sixties.This time frame corresponds to my own observations.I have clear recollections of my classmates from elementary school in the '50s.I attended 12 grades with many of them.I know more than a few like brothers and sisters.I see some on a regular basis.None has ADD.None had it then, none has it now.
People who claim that ADD has been with us through the ages are playing with semantics.It is the recent epidemic of this devastating syndrome, not the possible incidence of isolated cases in the past, which demands explanation.On this subject the facts are clear:ADD arrived en masse in society when parents abandoned their children to daycare and habitual television viewing.
There is some evidence that severe forms of ADD, along with cousins like Aspergers and Autism, result from mercury poisoning.A small percentage of children are born with a deficiency of the enzyme which detoxifies mercury from the blood stream.Researchers think the mercury in vaccines may be responsible for overloading this genetic cohort of children.Fortunately, Mercury was removed from most childhood vaccines a couple of years ago, early in this century.
Believe the Wizard at National Institute of Mental Health if you will, but I think it is time to hop off the yellow brick road and do a little thinking for ourselves.Television may be a seductive option as a baby-sitter in a culture which provides little help for young mothers, but there hasn't been a falser friend to humanity since the Serpent slithered in the Garden of Eden.
By reducing their ability to engage in meaningful interaction with the world around them, ADD contributes to the alienation of children from their parents, siblings, selves, and society.In light of this impressive morbidity, the relationship between habitual television viewing and ADD deserves further investigation by objective researchers.Don't hold your breath for this to happen.Consider, instead, a few items from a long list of other injuries to children which result from the television habit.
At the very least, viewing delays the maturation of children.A six-year-old who has spent 28 hours a week in front of the television since his infancy has the life experience of a three-year-old before the age of television. It is likely that cumulative neurological distortions amount to much more than simple retardation of coordination, intellectuality, or socialization.Essentially, television replaces family life, traditional human communities, and the natural world as a template for existence, as effectively as if our children were raised in the alien lands of The Martian Chronicles.
For optimal neurological development in children, we know that there are stages which need to be reached at the proper time and in the proper sequence.The wandering eye, to borrow an example, cannot be trained to see after five or six years of age.At that point the window of opportunity is lost.It is reasonable to ask whether certain neurological achievements related to motor or sensory function, coordination, or intellect are denied to children who have been glued to the tube in infancy.
I remember my own children during their crawling and toddling periods.They had to taste, smell, handle and manipulate every item they could get their hands on. During their day-long explorations, the sensory, motor, and conceptual components of their nervous systems were used on a continuous basis.Clearly, the mesmerized infant misses out on great quantities of these more natural neurologic challenges.There is little input from certain senses during television viewing, while the input from other senses such as vision and hearing is grossly distorted.The television experience is artificially narrow and controlling.Compare it to a real-life activity such as a walk in the woods, in which sights, sounds, and smells come from every angle, and a person can choose to investigate or explore areas of individual interest.
For all intents and purposes, television requires of its patrons a near vegetative state.Motor activity is minimized, as is the requirement to develop coordination.Physical activity is reduced, the sedentary lifestyle is habituated, and caloric equations are modified.Is it any wonder that obesity is epidemic in the television culture?
Throughout history, infants have ideated in response to sensory-perceptual experiences, in response to their own interests and adventures, and in response to the inborn dictates of their genes.In the natural world, the individual infant might be seen as the determining agent in the development of his own cerebral cortex.Compare this to the passivity of television viewing, in which the child's consciousness slavishly follows the programming.Real-life experience engenders curious, creative, and busy children who learn to interact and cooperate with others in order to make their lives more interesting.Habitual television viewing develops lazy, bored, impatient, and self-indulgent creatures who expect to be constantly stimulated through the expenditure of minimum effort, such as pushing buttons on remotes.
There is a significant antisocial element to television viewing, despite the fact that it is often done in groups.Meaningful social interaction, cooperation, or genuine regard for others is minimal in this setting.Consider the half-hearted or token conversations that take place in a room where people are distracted by television.It was an awareness of stonewalling my own young son while watching football on TV which led to the dumpster episode.While viewing seemingly innocent sporting events, with or without him, I was cheating us both out of the depth and intimacy of a precious relationship.
Now that households have multiple sets, families don't have to agree on programming.Individuals just retire to different rooms to watch their own shows. Brothers and sisters and husbands and wives now have the ability and perhaps inclination to live worlds apart under the same roof.
Can society's love affair with television account for the explosion of drug use in our culture?The availability of drugs doesn't explain the epidemic, since cocaine and opium were legal and inexpensive for great periods of our history while used by tiny fractions of the population.Today, a frightening percentage of citizens choose drugs over life.If we trace the lives of contemporary users back to childhood, would we find juveniles who were supersaturated with television?
By depriving individuals of real-life experience, television weakens identity and true self-esteem.It habituates children to unreality, and it provides them with unending doses of over-stimulation at no personal cost of labor or sacrifice.It supplies immediate gratification without requiring effort or interaction with others. People are spoiled by this electronic box to a degree never seen before in history.They make perfect subjects for recruitment into the drug culture, which offers a virtually identical package of experience through easy pharmaceutical pathways to titillation, fantasy, or oblivion. I see the impact of television upon the psychology of children as the ultimate cause of the drug cancer which threatens our civilization.
Television steals a critical ingredient from childhood, free time.Kids need time to play, to be curious and pursue interests, to build things and take them apart, and to interact with other children and adults and learn lifetime social skills.They need to develop the ability to cultivate free time with activity and industry.
Television robs children of the experiences they need to become human.It bleaches the life and vitality out of individuals and communities and leaves in their place clusters of soulless, heartless, and mindless zombies.I strongly recommend the no-TV option.It has worked for our six children. They are friendly, enthusiastic, creative, energetic and industrious people with a passion for living. I am convinced that these traits survived largely because the kids participated to a negligible extent in the defining institution of our age.
Location: United States
Posted: 29/Jun/2006 at 11:40am
We have the most basic cable we could get. This means that in addition to our 4 local channels we get about 10 channels, including 2 PBS channels. The reason we got cable was because only one of our local channels came in clear on a regular basis. I limit the amount of t.v. time the kids get. If they're watching t.v (not videos), they're only allowed to watch the PBS channels. I don't feel the other channels offer anything of quality for children. I let them watch videos sometimes as well. Usually, they watch around an hour of t.v. a day. They're not allowed more than 2 hours a day, except for the rare occasions that dd watches a movie that's longer than 2 hrs (i.e. the Harry Potter movies). If they choose to watch a movie one day, they will not be allowed anything other than that movie (no t.v. & no other videos). I also count the educational videos I get related to what we're studying in their 2 hr max. daily t.v. time. We've considered getting regular cable so that we get the History Channel, Animal Planet, Discovery Channel, etc. If we do go that way, I will still closely monitor what the kids watch & will probably tape most of the shows on the good channels for the kids to watch later.
I think it's ok for kids to watch t.v. I just think that the parents need to monitor what & how much the child is watching.
I voice an amen to getting rid of the TV altogether. We raised the first of our four children without it and they turned out to be wonderful readers who learned to think for themselves. We made a weekly trip to libarary and pulled a cart to drag all the books in and out. We had to get rid of the TV altogether, because my husband and I were the worst violators. We had been raised by the TV in the 70's and we didn't want our kids sitting in front of it all day. Instead, we took our kids on walks, went on bike rides, and did an old fashion concept called - work.
However, somewhere along the way, my youngest children begged for a TV again so they could watch videos - which led to a few programs, which led to watching TV full time again. My youngest son confessed a personal struggle with lustful thoughts from all the underwear commercials and also all the suggestive comments in much of the programming that is on.
Pray about it. I think God has already shown you what to do. Psalm 101:2-3 - I will walk within my house in the integrity of my heart. I will set no worthless thing before my eyes.
Matt, thank you for that story. Neither of my children remember having television in our house. We won't get cable and we live in rural NH. I allow 1 to 2 movies a week and I still think that that is too much. Your article mentioned that television has the ability to slow maturation rate in children. So a 6 year old will have the maturation level as a 3 year old. I agree with you. I know that you don't mean academically or physically, but perhaps, you mean that a child who spends less time in front of the television is more capable of making harder choices and taking responsibility for what they do. They are more capable of relying on their own intuition and imagination and less likely to immitate what's been done. At the same time, they have a sort of sweet innocence about them that others their age lost a long time ago. That is how I see my children compared to others anyway. I don't regret not having cable and am contemplating getting rid of the television set altogether. I will never buy another one.
Janet, there have been days when I wanted to get "rabbit ears" so I can get a channel or two (maybe) and then we discussed cable television. It is tempting and I am glad that is has been so expensive to get the channels that I want. It makes me have to think about it. The price of cable has come down significantly here, but the temptation is gone. I, too, grew up with television. I'm glad it's almost out of my system and it never really entered my children's.
I agree that getting rid of television is the easiest solution. before you do
that though, you might want to check out a new program from tivo called
kidzone. Im not too familiar with it, but i heard a commercial for it on the
radio the other day. it sounds like it will help out parents alot who are
concerned about what their children watch. check it out.
Location: Central Texas
Posted: 06/Jul/2006 at 6:22am
You don't have to get rid of the television completely.
In our home, the rule was that the dc could watch TV in the morning IF they were dressed, had eaten breakfast, and had made their beds...but the TV was turned off at 9 a.m.
No TV allowed until 3 in the afternoon...but the dc were usually busy doing something else, or we were gone.
No TV during dinner (4:30-5).
Bedtime was 7:30-8ish, so no TV before then because dc were getting ready for bed.
A friend of mine was determined not to have TV, but her father pointed out that it was better to have a TV and learn to control it than not to have one at all and not know what to do when confronted by inappropriate programming.
You're the mom. Tell your ds that he may not watch TV during the day. End of story. You and your dh make the decisions about what will be allowed--no debating, no deals, nothing.
Personally, we have DishNetwork and I've found many good programs...nothing for children on the major networks, but all those other networks, like TV Land (old TV shows), National Geographic, Discovery Channel, and so on.
I don't think that the tv needs to be gotten rid of completely. There is
some good stuff on there (i know that might get comments). I think
products like DVR or better yet Tivo, I just heard about a new feature they
offer, can help out tremendously. Tivo just started this Kidzone feature
that helps control the content and even gives suggestions. I plan on
checking this out for myself. I've only heard on the radio!
Now that I have chosen to homeschool my girls (age 3 and 5) I find myself wanting to "go against the flow" more now than when I was considering public school. When public school was still being considered, I felt that being too radical with my parenting views would only brand them as "wierd".
I was definitely raised by television. My parents never showed any love or affection towards me. I'm sure they cared about me, but they were the "do it my way, or you will be spanked" kind of people. This left me feeling worthless, and only behaving for the sake of avoiding conflict. It was television shows of the 1980's that gave me values about being a good person for the sake of internal morals and not just to avoid pain. However, any good "family values" shows are gone and have been replaced with a lot of garbage shows who are heavily influenced by their sponsors. I used to like a certain 30 min show as a break for me during the day, but the commercials are all for sleep aids, depression meds, weight loss, junk foods. I find myself being more annoyed by the commercials that I do not feel I am getting "mommy quiet time" anymore.
It seems so many kids shows as well have turned into a way to market products to kids. Products like junk food from the commercials...and their own specific toys of the show characters. Not to mention the internet "free" games that are associated with the shows, and the advertising space sold on their websites for more toys, junk food and even kids meds like childrens pepto.
I guess I feel like the less my kids are targeted my marketing telling them the latest thing they "need" to be happy the better! Personally, I am tired of being told what I need to buy, how I need to look in the name of some company trying to make money off me. It is hard enough for me not to be affected by the adds and images that it is too big an influence for kids who are still developing their sense of self.
I have not removed the tv, but as I kick the habit myself, I plan on implimenting new rules...I like the no tv from 9-3 rule!!! As well as no tv at meal times.
Respectfully,....all you "no tv" people, are your kids instant messaging mom or dad at work, instant messaging friends from home or the library; burning CD's; setting up their own mp3 players; surfing the web -- with a filter, naturally; or browsing the music section at Barnes and Nobles while you are down a store or two in the mall?
Location: United States
Posted: 11/Jul/2006 at 10:54am
Our no TV homeschool sent six kids to Stanford and beyond. Regardless of content issues, many modern technological devices function as passivity machines. TV and video games fall under this heading. Computers and other technologies can crossover. Depending on usage, they can be good or bad.
One of the great gifts that homeschoolers can give to their children is the opportunity to invest free time with curiosity and industry. Habitual tinkering/building/project formation is something we have seen homeschooled kids carry into adulthood. A couple of my boys with this background work for IDEO, which is probably the #1 product design/invention firm in the world. They use complex software and computers at work, and they use cell phones like everybody else. Out of their developmental years and out of our house, they are certainly free to watch TV if they choose. To be honest, they usually have better things to do.
These young men are doers, not sitters. I trace these inclinations to a minimum exposure to our passivity culture and its passivity machines.
Respectfully, I challenge you to live without the TV and see what difference it makes in your family - try it for 30 days.
To answer your question - those technologies you mentioned were not available to my children growing up. If they had been, we probably wouldn't have been able to afford them or would not have used them.
I think the core of issue we are talking about is really how much of the world you allow to influence your children while growing up. I John 2:15 says, "Do not love the world, nor the things in the world." Although TV is not evil in itself, it sets up any easy temptation for your child through the programming that is anti-God in its format. It is more than difficult to control ever single thing they watch - the commercials are just as bad. I Corinthians 6:12 says, All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable. Until my children are at an age to recognize evil and be strong enough to fight it, why would I choose to feed them a daily diet of those things in the world that would hinder their walk with the Lord. I realize that my children should be influencing the world with the message of God's love. However, exposing our kids to every evil out there so they will know how to cope with it doesn't make sense - I believe it's best to teach them a plumb line of the word of God so as they grow older they can bounce what they do see and get exposed to off that. Giving them mixed messages by condoning what's on TV when they are young only confuses them about what is true. Phillipians 4:8 - Whatever is true, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things. After all, that is why we chose to homeschool.
In responsed to henderbirds comment...I have recently gotten tivo kidzone and i absolutely love it. It will block out all nonkidfriendly programming and recommend additional programs that we didnt even know were on. It is great. I no longer have to worry about looking over my sons back while he watches tv. Def. check it out. its worth every penny!
Moderation has always worked best for our family. We also believe in limits.
We have brought the Himalaya Mountains, Amazon River, re-enactments of history in appropriate time-period costume, Titanic remains and the discovery thereof, large scale scientific experiments, animals of all kinds, masterpiece paintings, space discoveries, woodworking, gardening, and countless other treasures into our home via TV. We have brought these into our home via books and CDs as well.
TIVO and our ever watchful eye sorts the filth from the treasures. We believe in parental control and strive for a balance in our lives.
If you want to know more about TIVO I'd be happy to help.
Thanks for your reply. I think the 30 day challenge would be a great experiment. I'm not sure if this would prove how miserable we would be without TV or if we wouldn't even notice that it was gone or something else. Last week we were out of state in a different climate at a relative for 9 days. The kids never even asked for TV, but I realize in their own home environment, the scenario would be different.
Your answer about worldly influences in the home seemed to rely heavily on your Biblical principles. You said, "'Why would I choose to feed them a daily diet of those things in the world that would hinder their walk with the Lord.'" Ever fly in a jet over snow capped mountains? Does order come out of chaos naturally? Does 2 + 2 always equal four? These are a smidgen of the things that remind me of God's omniscient, omnipotent, unfathonable ways. Why wouldn't I want my kids to see via TV the breathtaking Himalaya Mountains God created? the Amazon? His perfect rules for order in math and science? etc. I could print all of Ps. 8, but for the sake of space, I will stick with verses 1 and 6... O Lord, our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens. 6Thou madest him [man]to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet.
My family can see the magnificence of God's creation by viewing breathtaking informational programming on all sorts of topics. These viewings spawn wonderful conversations and usually result in getting books from the library (if we haven't already looked at books first), artwork, stories or poems, and a greater appreciation of God and his creation. I do not believe that what my kids are seeing is hindering their walk with the Lord.
I have the luxury of affording TIVO. $12.95 a month. If I wanted to I could make it impossible for my kids to turn on the TV and see Mr. Rogers without a code. Commercials are fast forwarded if necessary. I can't remember the last time we watched "live" TV. I am not asking nor requiring my kids to be the judges of what is evil and not evil TV programming. That's my job until they are old enough to do so....I'm thinking very late teens at this point. I also think it is profitable for them to see that we do live in a fallen, sinful world because it keeps us on our knees, humbled, going before the cross to confess those sins and to be forgiven. I don't need to show them porn to get this point across. I can show them before and after (Katrina) television documentaries of the Lake Ponchartrain area. (I'm not talking about the hysteria of the days and weeks of the initial tragedies with microphones being jammed in peoples' faces.) God controls all events. Even the winds and the waves obey him. People were led to Christ as a result of this tragedy. How many people got out of their comfort zones and went to the New Orleans area to volunteer? We have a church group there this week. These volunteers come back changed and strengthened in their faith. My kids and I want to see where their Sunday School money is going. For those who want to incorporate science, geography, economics, math, etc. into this picture....programming like that has it all regardless of your religious beliefs.
Our children know that we don't condone certain shows. We explain why we don't watch certain shows they have heard of from their friends. I often will beat the kids to the punch. I have a TIVO show or DVD already incorporated into the lesson for the day.
On another note, let's say my six year old has had a full summer day. He's done chores, read a pile of books, played with his little sister, tore around on his bike and skooter, zip lined with the neighbor boys, poked around in the mulch and made a dam with the garden hose's current, had two snacks and ate breakfast and lunch, played a board game with brother, re-enacted the VBS skit, played with playdough, built Lego creations, practiced his piano and looked at a booger and ear wax under a microscope. And now he wants to watch a 24 minute "mindless" TV show like Franklin. Do I let him? Absolutely. Why? Because I love him. He's had a balanced full day. His SAT scores are well above average and this is a wind down activity that he has chosen.
As I said in another post.....we believe in limits, moderation, and balance.
Sorry for rambling so long. It is well past my bedtime and I probably am getting more detailed than I need to be.
Wow! There have been a lot of wonderful and interesting responses. I am not going to say that tv is either good or bad. However, I think that it is one of those things that we can live without. It offers ways to see the world that you would not be able to see otherwise. However, it takes up valuable time that you could be learning about the world directly around you. You may think you have seen everything in your own backyard, but you haven't and you probably never will even if you spend your entire life looking. Isn't life wonderful! I can't tell you how many times people have been shocked that we have no cable (whence no television in Rural NH). When they come to visit me, they spend the time doing other things, like canoing, swimming, being fascinated by my dragonflies and frogs, looking at my birds, and feeling the warm sun beat down on their skin. Non- readers pick up science magazines and start reading and we stay up all night to watch the stars and listen to the crickets. TV is not an option, so we find other things to do. My children are busy all day and at night they wind down with a book. Reading is their way of relaxing. Mine, too. Moderation is a wonderful things, but it's not my thing. I prefer this. TV doesn't fit into my plan.
I don't agree with allowing children to watch television in order to teach them moderation. It is a poor escuse to have television. You have it because you like it and you think it offers something positive for your children, not because it will help them learn moderation. That's just nonsense. Sorry to be so blunt, but I couldn't think of a softer way to say that. I also understand that the person who made the comment was paraphrasing a friend and may or may not believe it herself. I just felt it was worth a comment.
My children do use other forms of media, including reading the newspapers and email. I limit the computer use very heavily. I need to know what they do and how long. I dictate how long depending on what they are using it for. If they are researching frogs or Egypt, I give them more time than if they wanted to play word games on Zeeks. We also have magazine subscriptions, go to the library, and listen to music.
In this modern world, it is hard not to be dependent on technology. Imagine a home with no television set, no computer, no dishwasher (I don't have one), no telephone, no radio, no microwave, no alarm clock, and ...ahem...no car. That sounds nice to me. It's such a simple goal, but a hard one to achieve. It wasn't that long ago when people lived without these things and now we can't live without them. That's progress, right? I feel dependent on everything I own. That is pretty sad,isn't it? For me, I think it's time for a change. Getting rid of the Internet would be a step in the right direction and then I can get rid of the computer and clean up this clutter I call a desk. After that, the television set goes with the dvd and video players. Oh, my, you know how much space in my house I just freed up in my mind. Now, I just need to convince my husband. Take care everyone and if you don't hear from me for a while, you'll know why. LOL. I'll check in periodically at the library. (Oh, wait, no car! Nevermind, I didn't give up my car yet, so I'm okay).
I do let the kids use the computer, mostly for educational, fun games. I prefer it over the television because it engages the mind while in use and you are not a passive participant (and not bombarded with ads if you stick to CD-ROM and selected websites.
With the computer, I feel that learning the ins and outs of it are important skills in todays society. I was pretty computer illiterate even thought I had taken computer classes in junior high, and a course in my post secondary training in early childhood education. It wasn't until I started using it at home on a regular basis, mostly for researching about my kids allergies and then homeschooling that I have become much more inclined and my typing has gotten a lot better. I also think that my grammar and spelling have improved as well being forced to write in complete scentences instead of just talking.
My MIL is a nurse, and even in that field the computer is becoming more common now that it is used at the nurses station. Computers are everywhere, there is no way around that. Without those skills, someone could be less employable in many fields.
At 3 and 5 my girls are pretty good on the computer. We have some games where I am absolutely amazed at how quickly the girls figure out how to play them and navigate them. We play on a site with a math game that displays a number (like 5, 6, 8 etc) and you have to choose numbers in boxes that total the number (like 2 and 3 for 5), the faster you go, the mosre points you get. My 5 year old flies through the game and her speed at these math problems is incredible...I just don't know if she would be learning with such passion or desire to increase her speed if she was doing these problems on paper.
I too think back to a time without all this "high tec" stuff and think that it would have been nice.
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