Wednesday, May 03, 2006

It's better than talking to the wall

Do you ever find yourself talking to the television?

Sure this is rather acceptable behavior for sports fans. I've loudly cheered for my favorite teams from the comfort of my sofa.

Back in the days that I had a guilty pleasure of watching primetime soaps, I would frequently call out comments in disgust at the storylines absurdity. On special occasions, my girlfriends and I would gather in front of the tube to play drinking games based on what the characters were likely to say. We would often have to take a sip of our tasty adult beverages every couple minutes and therefore we needed to stop following our own rules before the first commercial break. We would have hated to pass out and miss the ending.

But I digress. Most people watch television, not communicate with it.

I am surprised at the numerous children’s programs that encourage interaction. Dora wants you to repeat her Spanish words. On Sesame Street, Ernie likes to play Simon Says. During Blue’s Clues, the show inserts pauses for the audience to shout out the appropriate word.

Reflecting back to my childhood, I don’t recall all this participation. It might be that this is all the rage as an educational tool. I certainly think it's pretty cute watching and listening to Strawberry join in. However what kind of message does this send? I wonder if she thinks that television is real? Will she have a harder time being able to separate fact from fiction?

I agree with limiting television and I am lucky because she is an active child. Strawberry’s attention span wouldn’t allow for endless hours spent glued to cartoons. It just so happens that her favorites shows all encourage talking to the TV.

At this point I think I’ll chalk it up as letting her imagination grow and not fear that one day I will have to spoil her fantasy.

I figure it can’t be all that harmful especially due to today’s astonishing moment. I had popped in a Blue’s Clues video to get some housework done. At one point Blue spells his name and then asks how do you spell your name? To my amazement, Strawberry spelt her actual name!

I guess repetitively spelling out her name to the tune of Bingo has paid off.

20 Singing the blues:

Pattie the Domesticator said...

Cute! Isn't that wonderful when your little one does something unexpected?

Sunshine Scribe said...

Oh I played those drinking games too...those were the days....

My son talks to the TV too (although like Strawberry he isn't much of a TV guy and has recently graduated from most of the interactive shows). I once joined him and talked back to Dora too and he told me "mommy it is just a TV show". The get more than you think. The interaction is to make us feel better for letting them watch TV so it isn't passive.

YAY for Strawberry's spelling :) So cute.

Marcie said...

I yell at the tv when "W" is on. Does that count? I need to start spelling Billy's name with him, Strawberry's skills are impressive!

Andrea said...

Wow, Strawberry is a big word for her to spell (not to mention fitting it into BINGO!!!) so she's gotta be smart enough to figure out the TV's not really talking to her! :)

Encouraging her imagination isn't ever a drawback, and if she's learning, even better! Kids are resilient and by the time she moves on to bigger kid shows, she'll realize it's only those specific shows. She'll be fine!

rhonda said...

My kids talk to the tv if they ask them too.

I talk to the tv to tell them to watch out, etc. What on earth is wrong with me?? LOL

rhonda said...

Okay, i can't even use correct grammar in that first sentence. Don't mind me.

Her Bad Mother said...

My husband hates to watch movies wit me, especially in theatres (not that we go anymore), because I (apparently) talk back to the characters and gesticulate madly at the screen. I'm usually not aware of doing this.

SO, yeah, we may have a fact/fiction discrepancy problem in our household, too...

cameo said...

i too, like marcie, yell at W when he's on the tube. actually, i just tell him what an idiot, and other choice words, he is.

mama_tulip said...

I shout "NO DEAL! NO DEAL!" when Deal or No Deal is on...does that count?

Wow, way to go Strawberry! Spelling her own name...that's big!

Mrs. Chicky said...

Does swearing at the President when he's delivering his State of the Union address count? Seriously, I talk to the TV, the baby, the dogs, the cats, the refrigerator... You name it, I talk to it. Some might say that's a cry for help, I call it Monday.

Yay for Strawberry for spelling her name! You must be so proud.

kittenpie said...

cool! Clearly, she's a genius.

Mocha said...

No, no. You were right. I totally have CONVERSATIONS with the tv. Sometimes, I win the arguement, but not often.

sweatpantsmom said...

Yes, speaking to the television is a disturbing trend.

Unless of course, you're yelling, "No!" or "You suck!" while watching American Idol. in which case it's perfectly justified.

Emily said...

I think the kid's shows figure that interaction with the kids makes them use their brains a little more, instead of just spacing out in front of the TV. It's probably a positive thing. I've also noticed that kid's shows are a lot more active - "Dance with us!" type of stuff - than when I was a tyke.

Izzy said...

Dubya pretty much inspires me to YELL at the TV. Without fail. The man is so dumb, sometimes I mock him through the TV, too.

Does that count?

PS: I mean to tell you a long time ago how pretty your blog looks :)

Kvetch said...

I think that children's television has come a long, long, way since I (we) were kids. I loved it when my kids interacted - it meant they were really involved and participating, not zoning out. JMHO. As for me - I get WAY too verbally involved - and my kids (big now, not little) just crack up.

Mega Mom said...

I TOTALLY used to yell at the soaps.

It is pretty cool how many shows are educational these days. I'm always amazed when my kids say something interesting and I ask if they learned in school and they say "No, Dora!"

C. H. Green said...

My husband is a horse racing fan, so it's not unusual to hear him talking to the horses and riders. It never fails to amuse me.

chelle said...

hehe I have often wondered the same thing. My daughter rarely talks back and looks at me as if I am absolutely insane if I answer lol! I figure if the tv has to be on it better teach her something!

Motherhooduncensored said...

All those damn playhouse disney shows ask questions - and of course, my daughter - who watches them on select occasions (namely almost every morning for a little while...), now answers them back.

It's pretty funny to listen to.