Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Media exposure

There's this complexity to parenting that I never really thought through. It's about media consumption by osmosis that children do or don't, based on what they get exposed to. 

Take me as an example. By age 5 I had seen every episode of Cheers, watched oodles of other TV, plus heard huge amounts of NPR. My parents had dueling media on all the time with NPR in the kitchen and TV in the living room. 

We don't watch TV around here these days because we don't have TV access (no cable or antenna) and we don't have a radio either (except in the car). We do watch some movies and some TV shows via netf.lix but it's pretty limited aside from Saturdays when it's cartoons for hours.

But then there's the issue of audio books. The spouse and I listen to a heap of audio books. I'd guess we get through a couple a week on average and more if one of us commutes as well. 

I think that audio books that are not kid-appropriate should not be played when the kid is around. I switch to listening to music or reading a book on my mobile doodad if the kid is around, even if she's ignoring me and strolling in and out of the room. Recently the spouse has been listening to a very engaging book and has taken to carrying around the iDevice listening to it all day long. It is not kid-appropriate at all. Murderous intergalactic government take-overs rarely are. I'm just not sure whether to be fussed or not. 

We have a policy that no adult TV (say Warehouse 13 or Bones) can be watched when the kid is around but for the nonverbal child, it's all right. When she starts trying to watch TV then that ends. We let NPR be on while the kids are around but it's only a few minutes at a time so it worries me less. 

So what do you think? Should audio books not strictly for kids be restricted to kid-free times or is it safe to assume the kid isn't listening or understanding anyway?

1 comment:

  1. My son is a year younger than your oldest, and I've noticed he is paying attention more and more to what is on the radio, so I think limiting audio books with very mature themes should be restricted to kid-free times. I wouldn't watch Deadly Women or Snapped when my son is in the room, so the same should be true for audio books.