Experiment with unlimited video time (GASP!)

I came across two articles on Facebook last week about parenting and media. I think the universe was trying to send me a message about how I control media in our household. Both articles were written by parents who have decided to try unlimited media in their families. I am posting the link to one of them along with this blog:

http://naturalfamilytoday.com/education/dealing-with-the-fears-of-unlimited-game-media-time/#axzz2STDqqiXk

Daddykush and I decided to give the “experiment” a week to see what happens. The article I linked addresses the exact fears I have if media is unlimited in our household so it was a reassuring read. We do not have a television but we do have a projector we use to watch movies and shows at night after the children have gone to bed. It transforms our living room into a two person amateur movie theatre. We have contemplated showing it Lemon Cake but we are not ready to take that step yet. Media to Lemon Cake means video time on my computer within the selection of Netflix Instant Stream Family and Children category. Usually he gets to watch one to three episodes of his choosing after nap/quiet time. He has watched a range of shows including Dora, Diego, Bob the Builder, Dinosaur Train, Charlie and Lola, Blue’s Clues, Thomas the Train, Sesame Street…etc. For the past month or so, he has been obsessed with Mighty Machines. Might Machines is a Canadian children’s television show about how different machines work. He has watched “Building a Truck” and “Building an Airplane” repeatedly over dozens of times in the last few weeks and has now moved on to “In the Steel Mill” and “In the Saw Mill”.  It is fascinating to me that he finds these shows fascinating, because I could honestly care less about how a truck or plane is built.

We started this experiment on Sunday- Mother’s day. It was blissful and Lemon Cake did not go crazy. He watched five Mighty Machines episodes that day; two in the morning, one after quiet time and one before dinner time. It was more videos than I would like but I expected that to happen for at least several days. On Monday night during dinner, he asked me if he could watch a video after dinner, this will be his fourth video of the day. I said yes. He couldn’t believe it. He asked me three times and every time I said yes, his eyes got bigger. At the end, he even exclaimed, “I am so proud of you Mama!” So far the experiment is going ok. I know we are only on day four so who knows what the next few days or week will bring us. I am ready for anything at this point- maybe it will be a complete failure and I have to go back to limiting videos only after quiet time, or maybe over time it will become less exciting and he will learn to “self-regulate”. There are natural limits to this, as the article mentioned. It’s not like I am literally going to let him sit in front of the computer for hours and hours the entire day watching videos. He still has to eat his meals, go to school, have quiet time and have outside time. He has definitely been upset about these natural limits because instead of two videos he then only got to watch one. We haven’t even addressed video games yet. The few times Daddykush let him play Lego video games on his phone, I could just tell he would sit there all day playing the game. I am not ready to open that can of worms.

What is your experience with media and your little ones in your household? Do you have rules/limits and what are they? I would love to hear your experience and suggestions to incorporate into our household!

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2 thoughts on “Experiment with unlimited video time (GASP!)

  1. Interesting. I’ve heard of this before – I read about someone putting the iPad in the toybox just like a regular toy and letting their kid play games, etc as they chose. They claimed that it lost novelty just like any other toy. I would be very skeptical of this working with my daughter. She is enthralled by the tv and the iPad and will start sometimes start asking to watch tv as soon the day starts. I realize that I’ve made it extra alluring by closely monitoring her time, but I’m skeptical of her ability to self-regulate media.

  2. We are definitely still experimenting! The article you mentioned is the other article I have read. I think my son would be able to “self-regulate” somewhat with videos but not video games. I also think not have a television right there is very helpful. When not used, my computer is in a desk that can be closed up. Sometimes it is out of sigh out of mind.

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