Friday, October 12, 2007

Do children watch television any more?

For reasons that have everything to do with expediency, and nothing to do with virtue, our children don't watch television - broadcast or cable. They do watch a total of 3 DVDs a week, and some of them are commercial-free extracts of television shows. Even in that case, Loony Tunes and the Flintstones beat Jimmy Neutron.

That's not all that remarkable.

The remarkable thing is the kids don't complain. We've been doing this for ten years; when we started I assumed the complaints would rise with school and peer pressure.

Nothing happened. As far as I can tell, there's no peer pressure.

It occurred to me that maybe children don't watch television any more. This 2001 UK study suggests that was so even then ...
British children prefer Internet surfing to watching TV - study - (2001)

....A recent survey of UK families by the Family Assurance Group has revealed that surfing the Internet is now seven times more popular among British children than watching television. The survey also showed that some young Internet users spend up to 70 hours per week online...
Our children do complain about their miserly screen-time allotments, and they're starting to complain about the lack of any game console.

So, quietly, without my taking note of it, children's television watching seems to going the way of smoking [1]. I wonder if they'll ever get the habit, or if television as I've known it [2] is going to be largely gone within 15 years.

I find the way these things leave to be at least as noteworthy as the way they arrive ....

[1] We smelled a cigarette at a park the other day. Everyone looked around startled, but it seemed to have wafted in from far away.
[2] Ok, sort of known it. I can't actually watch TV. Even the "science" and "history" shows give me hives. Some of the commercials aren't bad though.

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