I see a link to a news article this morning that reads: “Parents ‘should ban kids from watching TV until the age of three’, says child health expert”. I have four children under the age of 5 who watch a great deal of “Dora the Explorer” and “Yo Gabba Gabba”, so naturally I read this garbage. Dr. Aric Sigman, makes some decent points such as: T.V. becoming electronic babysitters, the excessive amount of television children watch today, and the idea that television has become the “third parent” in most homes. Now I completely agree that television needs to have it’s place in the home and time limits, but banning it altogether??? At first I thought this doctor surely doesn’t have any children, but in the comments sections of this article, it says that the good doctor was emailed and asked this very question. It turns out he has four children and he was quoted as saying, “I have 4 children. My children are a bit older now but I did manage to keep them away from screens under 3 most of the time”. Now really doctor. Do you expect me to believe that with all of your hard work and success over the years as a Chartered Biologist, Fellow of the Society of Biology, Chartered Psychologist, Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society, a recipient of the Chartered Scientist award from the Science Council and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine, that you had time to sit at home and monitor how much television your toddlers were watching. And if you really think that your wife and or nanny (most likely nanny) were honestly listening to the rantings of an absent parent…o.k. that might be possible. But realistically speaking if you are not at home with toddlers everyday, then you don’t have a clue or the right to judge what parenting strategies people use to get through the day. Most of us are just trying to get through the day without a trip to E.R., the jailhouse, or the morgue. We fight hard every day not to end up on Nancy Grace, and if Big Bird is distracting my kids from sticking forks in the light sockets while I’m trying to load the dishwasher, then I refuse to allow any doctor or politician stand in the way of that.
And on a final note Dr. Sigman blames excessive screen time (including video games) to being a root cause to the increase in childhood illnesses like Obesity and Type II Diabetes. And he calls himself a doctor. The amount of hours your child spends in front of a television may affect their physical activity levels, but anyone with kids, especially toddlers, know that even with their favorite movie or television shows, eventually their attention spans lose interest in the screen and they are off to find something to get into. If television really put our children into trances child abuse would not be an issue. Our children are becoming obese because of what we feed them. Time constraints on society keep us from asking what is really in that frozen meal or that paper bag being passed through the drive through window. I’m not calling Dr. Sigman a crack pot or saying that his knowledge is not valuable. I am calling him out for putting out “facts” that he obviously did not research enough. I’ve currently sent him my own email with a link to this blog. We’ll see if he answers. 🙂