I always ask this question to myself and I’m sure other parents do too. We always have this guilty feeling whenever we succumbed to the temptation of just letting the kids watch TV so that they keep quiet. The problem is, it works all the time!
I know some parents just give their kids zero screen time and kudos to the parents for being able to discipline themselves. For me and husband, we don’t think disbanding tv from Aariz totally is a good idea. We can’t compare ourselves to our parents days when we can survive without tv. We want Aariz to be up to date with the latest trends and technology and one of the ways is through digital content. You will be surprised to see how advanced current shows are by incorporating the latest trends. So we just have to be conscious and select appropriately what is good for Aariz. Plus, our nephew who is 4 years old speaks brilliantly that I think he knows more vocabulary than me. We think that he picked up the words from the shows he watches on tv.
For Aariz, I usually have to let him watch while he eats and when I’m all alone with him and I need him to sit still so that I can get the things I need to do quickly, for example if I need to shower, cook, or get ready. So I still limit the his screen-time in a day and I choose the tv programme, but I don’t disband totally. It’s just impossible! So far, I let him watch Little Baby Bum on Netflix and ABC Kids TV on YouTube. They are life savior I tell you.
Last year, I read a book entitled “Preschool clues – raising smart, inspired and engaged kids in a screen-filled world”. I picked up this book because it makes me feel good about letting Aariz watches tv. The underlying philosophy is that media has the power to teach, influence and inform, provided the content is good. But what is considered good and educational for kids? According to the author, Angela Santomero, co-creator of Blues’ Clues, educational tv programs are generally those that are (1) interactive, i.e. there’s a role play involved with the viewer to keep the kids engaged, (2) content is relatable to the daily lives (for example, when they eat, they eat together) (3) move or spark the kids with ‘aha moment’ so that they could internalize the learnings.
Netflix has one show that ticks all the boxes above and I’ve been letting Aariz watch that instead of ABC Kids TV (plus I noticed a lot of kids watch the same thing! I have this theory that if everyone watches the same thing, they will all learn the same thing and this could lead to groupthink). So far, Aariz enjoys watching it. The show is called Word Party. I would highly recommend it.
So is it ok to let your kids watch TV? If you ask me, the answer is of course it is ok, we just need to find the right balance when it comes to what do they watch and how long they watch.