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Finding a Balance with TV and My Daughter

When I was five, our television died suddenly right in the middle of a holiday special. To say I was devastated would be putting it mildly.

But nothing topped the devastation when my mother announced that she would NOT be replacing the television; I’m not sure if it was our poverty, her preferences for books, or an article that she read that said TV was bad for kids, but she made the decision. And then she stuck to it, right up until when she moved in with us last year.

This meant, of course, that I was something of a pariah when it came to other kids in school. I didn’t know the latest TV shows, so I couldn’t play TV tag (where you have to shout out the name of a show to “freeze” and keep the person that was it from tagging you). I couldn’t spend hours discussing the plot of the latest Scooby Doo.

It sucked.

But honestly, that’s not even the worst of it. Because of not having a television as a kid, I find myself unable to turn away from a TV screen whenever one is nearby. At bars or restaurants I have to fight to keep my eyes on my dinner companions. I’ve spoken to plenty of other folks that didn’t have a TV as a kid and this is a common theme; we can’t tune TV out like other folks can.

So when I had my daughter, I wanted to be sure that she actually did have television exposure, but I wanted to keep it reasonable. Which I think we’ve succeeded with, frankly, although some people would probably say we let her watch too much. Plus she also has my old laptop and my old iPhone, so yes: her screen time can be excessive.

But she also spends hours playing with friends, with her toys, drawing and reading. In other words, I think she’s FINE. We’ve found a way to make it work.

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