Wednesday, March 9, 2011


I read a very cute New York Times blog post the other day about a parent's struggle with her child's iPad addiction. I have been anti-iPad, anti-iPhone, and anti-TV when it comes to my son. (Full disclosure: I am notoriously obsessed with reality TV and iPhone games so the hypocrisy is duly noted.) But now that he's 2, I struggle with the fact that there are some educational shows on TV that would benefit him (like Sesame Street) and there are some fantastic iPhone apps that teach him real skills, and the occasional movie can be fun, funny and educational, and shouldn't he benefit from those? The answer is yes, and so he does. I would say he watches about an hour or so of TV per week, plays puzzle or drawing apps on the iPhone about 3-4 times per week, and watches one movie per week. I really realized the benefit of movies the other day, when my son took a piece of spaghetti, put it in his mouth so that two sides were hanging down and said: "Mommy, woolly mammoth" (pic below). (The cuteness and imagination required for that is astounding, to me at least.) Now, he's been to the La Brea Tar Pits several times in his young life (free on second Tuesday of every month) and has seen the huge stuffed woolly mammoth there, but he truly got to know (and love) the woolly mammoth (and the sabre tooth tiger and the sloth) by watching Ice Age. Still, I think a child benefits more from books than media, from drawing or painting with actual materials rather than with a finger on a device, and by using his/her toys and surroundings for imaginative play. But I've come to terms with the fact that media is moderation.

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