Jan 23, 2013

Why we don't watch most children's movies and TV shows



In Sally Clarkson's book The Mission of Motherhood she shares something that at the time I found to be so profound. (paraphrasing) She says "Scripture tells us to guard our hearts above all else. We as adults have the ability to do that. We can turn off the TV, change the radio station, or choose to change locations. But our children depend on us to do that for them. We must be the ones to stand guard of their precious hearts."

I don't judge people that let their kids watch certain TV shows or movies. Each parent has to pray about it and come to that decision on their own. This post isn't meant to be judgmental or make it seem like we've got it figured out. But more of a post just sharing our thoughts on it. Parenting is a hard job and we certainly don't have it figured out. 

Once our children are introduced to something via TV, music, friends or by way of any other media there's no going back. They can't un-see what they've seen, heard, or witnessed. While they are little, right now our boys are 2 and 3, their media will be heavily monitored. 

I've heard the argument that children don't pick up on the "bad stuff" and that it's just entertaining.  I respectfully disagree. Their brains are sponges and they do pick up on so many things while watching TV. 

Here's a scene from the popular movie, Beauty and the Beast. 


I remember watching this scene in Beauty and the Beast as a young child. I also remember having the distinct thought that it's ok to be mean to certain people (the scene where they are making fun of Bell's father), that if I had a crush on a boy I'm suppose to fawn over him and wear revealing clothes, (don't laugh I really thought this. See video at 1:54-2:05), and just overall Gaston is not a man that kids need to be looking up to. I know he is small character in the movie but again kids pick up on these sorts of things. In the eyes of kids they see this man that everyone seems to be looking up to acting like a fool and that's a powerful influence in their innocent hearts.

I'm just using Beauty and the Beast as an example there are many. My biggest problem with a lot of these movies and TV shows is that there is too much adult content. I don't mean adult as in pornography. I mean adult as in love stories, murders, death, violence, crude humor, and bullying to name a few. (The Lion King, Cinderella, The Little Mermaid, Shrek)


There are very few shows the boys are allowed to watch. The three that we are ok with are Curious George, Barney, and Sid the Science Kid. All three of those shows are on PBS. The one Disney movie we let them watch is Finding Nemo. There are no love stories in the movie, and the boys get to see the consequences of a boy (or fish) disobeying his dad. And a father despite his son's disobedience unending love for his son. 

The boys don't get a lot of TV time. There are many days when it never gets turned on. But there are times when it's helpful; while making dinner, when a sitter is over, when I need to take a phone call, when I'm not feeling well or while we are traveling in a plane. 

Now we are not ultra-conservative, legalistic over- protective parents. But we do understand and take seriously the powerful influence media has on our kids. They have the rest of their lives to be adults and deal with adult problems. Today I want them to be little and their only worry be finding their lost baseball glove. 

We'll expand what they can watch as they get older and are able to process what's right and wrong. But for now we enjoy a mostly TV viewing free home. There is so much to do build blocks, forts, pre-school, dance to music, color, ride bikes, scavenger hunts outdoors, and the list could go on and on. 

What are your TV boundaries in your home?


8 comments:

  1. Great post. We watch Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and Sesame Street here. My daughter is only 14 months old so I'm not too worried at the moment but I'm thinking about getting Netflix for when she's older and just watching shows on that so she doesn't have to see commercials or anything I haven't previewed. I think Disney movies can be scary too. I tried previewing the Sofia the First TV show that just came out and it has attitude kids which I don't want Avery to see. It's hard to parent in this day in age and we have to be so careful. Just yesterday we were walking through the mall and out in front of a store was a Walking Dead zombie poster. I did NOT want her to see anything like that. I know I can't protect her forever but it's getting hard in our society.

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  2. It is hard. Viewing through netflix is a good idea! We do that when we are traveling. We like to let them watch PBS because there are very few commercials and they're only at the beginning and ending of the show.

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  3. its hard, and every family is different and everyone needs to do what they feel is right for their own family...but for me, I grew up watching beauty and the beast and the little mermaid (saw it about a thousand times when i was little!) and i never learned any negative lessons from them. (tho the beginning of lion king WAS a little scary! but i was a little older when that came out!) But beauty and the beast never taught me it was ok to be mean to people, it taught me that you should love people for who they are and not what they look like. it seems like the overall message in most disney movies is that good wins and people that are mean and do bad things lose. so personally i won't have a problem showing my kids these types of movies. but i'm not criticizing you! like i said, every family is different and needs to do what's best for them!

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  4. We do not have cable in our home for similar reasons. Sometimes the ads are worse than the tv shows. Our children watch what we own, which when they were your children's age was a lot of Veggietales, Bob the Builder, Blue's Clues type of stuff. My kids are now 10 (nearly 11) and 9. While they do watch Beauty and the Beast and other Disney movies we do talk a lot about the things they see. At this point in their lives, they experience these things in school, so it gives us a good point of reference to start with. However, tv is still heavily monitored and a movie that does not make the cut does not enter our home.

    Believe me though, it gets harder as they get older. My kids are awesome, but I know at a lot of times they face pressure from their friends about being different when it comes to tv, music, the internet and not owning their own cell phone, etc. At this point, they are good with following our directions and not watching/listening to things we have not approved or have not seen yet ourselves, but there will come a time when they will probably cross that bridge.

    Pray, pray, pray for those gates (the eyes and the ears) and keep doing what you are doing!

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  5. Blues Clues, bob the builder and veggie tales are great too. Thank you for the encouragement. I'm can't imagine how much harder it will get the older they get. Thanks for your comment!

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  6. Great post! I agree completely! My kids are 13, 11, 4, 2, and 3mo. We watch more tv than I care to admit, but we have always been very strict about what they can watch. We love PBS, too. My older boys like Fetch, Word Girl, and Electric Company. My littles like Curious George, Peppa Pig, Bubble Guppies, among others. But we're even selective within the shows they're allowed to watch. If there's a character or theme where someone is saying things like "I hate that" or "I'm bored" or little things like that, they aren't allowed to watch it. I know, I know. It sounds uber strict, but like you were saying, it's the little ones that pick up on it and will start walking around the house saying they're bored and hate stuff! (These are just a couple of examples.) In regards to Disney Movies, I grew up on them, but now that I have kids I see them through a different "filter" and they aren't allowed to watch most of them. It's unfortunate because there are so many parts of the movies that are great. For example, Tangled is a really cute movie...in most parts, but I don't like the theme with the "healing flower" and the song is really catchy! (Not to mention the little drunk old man that is in a few of the scenes. What's up with that? And the "mom" telling her daughter that no man would ever want her because she's too fat? Yep. Subtle, but it's in there!) All that to say, I agree that we need to guard our children's hearts and not desensitize them. It is important. Thank you for sharing! (Sorry for the long comment.)

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  7. Our boys are 2 and 6mths and we live overseas. So we show them only shows of our our media center (computer) and netflix that we have chosen. Right now we are letting our 2 year old watch Mike the Knight (in Polish - for language learning) and Sesame Street. We've also let him watch bubble guppies & tractor tom, but that's about it! I love Sally Clarkson's the mission of motherhood... my husband and i are missionaries in Poland, and i also love photography! I just came across your blog through a pinterest link... but am thankful to find when i find other Christian mom blogs!

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  8. Moreover, it is always best to ask the actor how flexible he/she is for the time slots that you have you're your movie and for travelling.  watch tv shows

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