Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Over and Over - A Discussion of Appropriate Viewing Practices

At my house, we don't let our children watch the same movies over and over (theoretically, at least). We believe that film is a tool to can be used for a wide variety of things, and that this belief should be reflected by exposure to a wide variety of films. It's not that we have anything against multiple viewings, but we try to counteract our kids' tendencies to want to watch the same thing ten times in a row.

Partially, this is because kids (of all ages) can be easily indoctrinated by films, and this risk is increased by the viewing approach that says "I like this movie. I should watch it again."

We also try not to let our kids do much screen watching at all until they're at least a year old. We just want their tiny brains to be somewhat grounded in what the real world looks, feels, and sounds like before we start introducing them to fantasy worlds of any kind.

Both policies have born fruit, I believe, but we have been partially unable to keep certain repetitions from our girls. Sometimes they will wake up before my wife and I do in order to watch a movie they love (although this doesn't happen often) and other times they will see the same thing two or three times while visiting family for a day.

I'm interested to know, what policies do your families follow (if any) in regards to watching movies in a home environment - even if it's not your home? How do they differ for children and adults? What results have you seen?


Th. said...


Our no-tv-till-you're-two policy fell apart after the second child, but we recently got rid of our tv altogether. Which will probably be better for our kids in the long run, but watching 30 Rock on my wife's laptop kinda sucks....

Adam K. K. Figueira said...

Yeah. We don't really watch TV at all. We intentionally don't get any service. But we do have movies, and a pretty nice setup to watch them on, but that's largely because I use it to screen things for my clients.

Th. said...


I'm not opposed to screen art necessarily, but I do take issue with, for instance, commercials. When they get older, we'll have to work something out. It's not like I don't have things to show them.

Adam K. K. Figueira said...

The commercials are the biggest reason we don't watch TV. First of all, they remove any element of predictability as to what your kids will be exposed to. Secondly, I think they shorten attention spans, and have other brain-related effects.

William said...

I think that's ascribing adult preferences to children. They may like repetition because they need it developmentally.

I start with the assumption that none of it is educational, even educational programming, and then relax. If I feel like the TV has been on too long then I turn it off. I mute commercials because they're aurally oppressive, but otherwise regulate it intuitively rather than strict rule making.

And as far as what they watch, I have to like it, so I can stand the repetition.

Anonymous said...

i Folks,
We disconnected our TV from any signal back in 2000, and we haven't missed it since. After doing that, the Spirit actually entered our home--and low & behold it's always there now. I didn't anticipate that result, but it did happen and we love it!
About LDS Cinema: They have produced great things, but sometimes they show a willingness to needlessly taint their movies with sexual images. It is always needless, it pollutes the movie, it ruins a movie, and makes it so that we will not have it IN OUR HOME. Those movie's makers say that they sometimes need that kind of content to convey an effect. That, of course, is false. Any director with an ounce of creativity & smarts can create an effect without sexual imagery--if they want to.