I mentioned in my 2011 goals that I didn’t want Ella to watch any television.
For me, television means anything that comes through a TV screen – movies, television, Netflix, etc.
I think when I make a blanket statement like “No television for Ella” that some people might take it to mean I’m deeply anti-television and think people who let their children watch a lot of shows are negligent monsters or that children who watch TV are going to grow up to be brainless zombies.
In fact, none of those are really true.
There are two main reasons that I feel strongly about my child not watching television:
- I personally cannot stand the sound of the television playing in the background. I didn’t grow up in a television watching house (which is one reason that for me when I say “television,” I usually mean “movies”), and the constant noise of it just gives me a headache.
- I know that I’m a pretty lazy person and if Ella starts getting into television, it will be hard for me to not turn it on any time I want to read or cook or waste time on the Internet. So, I just don’t even want her to know it’s an option.
And it’s not like Ella has no screen time. She occasionally plays with my phone while we’re driving (this seems to go in spurts – sometimes she wants it almost every trip and sometimes we go weeks without her asking for “babies”), she uses the Tumblebooks program from our library’s website (where it reads books aloud to her), and she continues to love the Christmas digital advent calendar my in-laws gave us last year (which is why many mornings this summer, I have dressed for triple digit heat with “Once in Royal David City” and “Jingle Bells” playing from my living room).
So, do I demand that we leave someone else’s house if their television is on? No. Has Ella watched ten or fifteen minutes of a show at a friend’s house here and there? Certainly.
But for now, Ella continues to have no idea what the giant black screen in our living room does. And that’s just the way I like it.