Trading My TV for a Tablet: A Parent's Perspectiveby Andrea Benton
I’ll admit it - I watch a lot of TV. I watch NCIS, NCIS: LA, the Mentalist, MLB, NCAA basketball and the NHL. What can I say, I’m Canadian and hockey is our national sport.
But now that I have preschoolers, I’m re-evaluating my TV habits and our family’s in favour (notice the Canadian spelling) of tablets.
I recently read the Common Sense media study called Zero to Eight: Children’s Media Use in America and was surprised by the amount of time kids spend in front of the TV. Even though I’m from Canada, I suspect Canadian media habits are probably pretty similar.
For the last couple of weeks, I have been doing a little experiment: I have been scaling back my kids’ TV consumption. We used to watch 3-4 TV shows prior to getting ready for daycare and now we are down to 1-2 in the morning and they are what we call “shorties” - 15 minutes in length.
When the kids got home, the TV would normally be turned on while I make dinner and now it’s an afterthought. Instead, the kids are on tablets for 15 - 20 minutes. It’s not a ton of time but seems to be enough to distract them so dinner can be prepared. What I’ve noticed is that my kids don’t miss the TV and seem to get more out of their time on a tablet as compared to spending time in front of the TV, which is quite frankly a very passive medium.
And even better, I have noticed that they are playing more with their toys.
I’m now at the point where I need to make a decision - do I chuck the TV altogether knowing that May sweeps are coming and not to mention the NHL playoffs?! The answer is yes. I know it will be a challenge but I’m up for it and so is my family. Summer is right around the corner and we’ll be busy with lots of fun outdoor activities and some indoor ones too. If we need a distraction, the tablet will come out.
Do you think your family could cut out TV in favour of a tablet? Try a family experiment of your own for 4 weeks and see how it goes using these ideas:
1. Reduce the amount of TV your family watches on a daily or weekly basis.
2. Remove the TV from your kids’ room and replace it with family tablet time. This way both you and your child are working on something together.
3. If you really can’t live without your TV show, watch it on your tablet, although be aware of the cost of your Internet data plan.
Well, tomorrow is going to be a big day - calling the cable company to cut cable. Gulp..am I ready? Absolutely, I’ve got my tablet.
Are you willing to take the plunge and cut your TV in favour of a tablet? Tweet me @ weebootMom.
Andrea Benton is a passionate techie Mom, who has two young children, both of which love tablet technology. She blogs about tablet technology for parents and childcare providers. Follow Andrea on Twitter @weebootMom or sign up for her eNewsletter called the weeport at www.weeboot.ca.