Saturday, November 09, 2013

Still no time for TV

I continue posting about what I called "still no time for TV". I realize that many parents seem to feel the opposite, something more like "so much time for TV" or should I say "so much time for the screen" wishing they kids would spend more time doing something else.

I do hear many parents complaining about the time their children spend either watching TV, movies or playing video games.

So I continue my serie "still no time for TV"

After school on Friday, my kids had just enough time to start their homework, eat and go to bed to be up very early for their swim meet. And on Saturday, after the swim meet they just have time to continue their homework... Oh I wish school stop giving them so much homework so they will have some time to actually relax, play, read and do whatever they feel in the mood to do.

School believe that homework is important and that kids should have plenty of those. I disagree completely but it is not my choice anyway so we need to comply.

However, considering that my children have after school activities everyday (and they are not the only ones in that case), getting home no sooner than 6 pm and some days 7 pm, going to bed by 8 pm and in between having diner, homework is not welcome. They have very little time for it during the week and end up having to do it all over the week-end...

So, Saturday after swim meet, they do not have enough time to actually finish their homework as they need to go to bed early again to get up by 6 am for next day swim meet. I can already guess that tomorrow when they get home, they will simply have to get back to hopefully finish the homework and may have some rest, thanks to Veteran day which give them their Monday off.

So yes again: still no time for TV

Monday, April 22, 2013

So many 5th grader seemed obsessed by minecraft, what about it?

... One of the hardest things to deal with has been peer pressure. Playing electronic games is what middle school boys do for entertainment. Their social lives exist online. They take photos of their new shoes or the full moon and send them to one another on Instagram. They text instead of talk, and yes, they play a lot of Minecraft.
We did a test playdate with one of his friends last week and scripted what my son would say if the boy suggested they play Minecraft. "Nah, it's boring. Let's kick the soccer ball around outside." He pulled it off with success, but what would have happened if the kid insisted? He would have called me and I would have come gotten him. It's no fun being the only sober guy at a party of drunks.
What's most interesting to me is that my son actually seems to appreciate our intervention. He had a hard first few days going screen-less but now is pretty proud of himself. He has lost interest in some of his Minecraft-obsessed pals and moved closer to some soccer friends who spend endless hours bouncing a soccer ball off their feet and knees with the goal of getting 50 touches before losing ball control. He's up to at least 30... by Ann Brenoff...

Comment from JosephLavoieJr "I saw this happen in college when World of Warcraft came out... everyone on my floor Beta Tested the game, and I decided not to buy the full version when it came out. I went on to get a job in a research lab, join a fraternity, have various girlfriends throughout college, etc... Sadly, I cannot say the same for most of the guys that I had lived with!

Video games are a lot of fun, and can be incredibly addicting! I wish that my mother had regulated my usage while growing up! I never amounted to anything athletically, but never got fat... and always kept my grades A's and B's, so my parents never got on my case... but I must have played thousands and thousands of hours of games in middle and high school! Ugh... time wasted..."
... Video game addiction or video game overuse is seen most commonly in players of the persistent multiplayer gaming universe, or Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game -- MMORPG games for short, who make up 9.1% of gamers, and may overlap with other types of internet addiction or computer addiction. These games hold many attractions for gamers -- they are interactive, social, competitive, and happen in real Elizabeth Hartney
...It does involve some use of logic and building/thinking/ spatial skills.
But it's mostly a huge colossal waste of time...
...Thumbs Down! Minecraft became such a source of tension in our household that we finally forbade it, even though we paid for it. 

The kids became so focused on it that, even with time restrictions and limitations they waited all day until their time to play came, talked about it incessantly, and tried myriad ways to wiggle in more time. Finally we restricted it only to weekends. Then they would skype with a friend and they would play online together in their free time, and this felt very intrusive to me. We finally found that whenever minecraft was on the family was in a bad mood for some reason or another, so we ditched it. The kids have survived. They understood our reasoning, and actually seemed somewhat relieved to be rid of it, in spite of their always being focused on it. It was amazing how nice things became when we finally got rid of it.

And yes, it is a colossal waste of time. I could see no benefit in it whatsoever. People try to make lame justifications for it, but I couldn't see the value. at. all...

By the way, those behind Minecraft literally flood the web with as many post as possible, as a result, if you do a research about it it is difficult to find opinion against it. It seems that the creator of the game had also cover all topics related to the game in order to convince users and their parents about the good and positive of it, They even managed to convince teachers! 
Anyway, you can also read on the last link the opinion of parents who do love minecraft. I do not know much about it and I do not believe I will anytime soon as we are a videogames free house :-)
But I can say that it does annoy my son to hear some of his friends speaking constantly and only about minecraft at each recess. He want to play, to move around but his favorite friends just sit and talk... Happily for him there is still some kids to play with, even if they are not his favorite friends... oh well, may be they will be sooner than later.

I wonder if your kid is a minecraft lover? and if he is, are you aware of his potential obsession with it? and if he is not, does he feel a little left out? 

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Screen abuse by the numbers

By Lauren Shanley

Wish you knew what to worry about? We've sifted through the scary stats to get the lowdown on trends in teens and technology. Here's what you need to know to help your child.

More screen time for teens

Cell phones, Facebook, and gaming — oh my! Technology, that ever-expanding sea of teen temptation, isn’t going away anytime soon. Even if they wanted to, teens can’t avoid it: They not only use it for casual conversation (and reporting back to their parents) but keeping track of their homework assignments, too. According to Media Literary Clearinghouse, white teenagers spend about 8.5 hours a day using screens while Asian teenagers average more than 13 hours a day — including more than two hours on the TV and up to three hours on mobile devices. With all this screen use comes its evil twin — screen abuse. We’ve sifted through the stats on tweens' and teens' love affair with technology to help you help your child navigate these charged waters and keep their minds afloat.

More log-ins and log-ons

21 million — Number of U.S. teens who use the Internet
According to recent studies conducted by the Pew Internet & American Life Project survey, teens are logging on with increasing frequency. Of those that reported use, half say they go online daily and a quarter go online multiple times a day. While teens do use the Internet for positive activities, such as school projects and reading news, the most common use of the Internet among teens is social networking, which accounts for almost a quarter of total teen Internet time. Curiously, almost half of high schoolers report that their parents neither moderate their Internet use nor do they know what they’re doing online, while 73 percent of parents report they know “a lot” about what their children do online. 

Social networking

73 — Percent of teens who are on a social networking site
While nearly a third of teens believe it would be difficult for someone to identify them from their online profiles, nearly half of these profiles are public, meaning that anyone with access to the site can view them. A majority of teens post pictures of themselves, their real ages, and the cities they live in, and many include their cell phone numbers or their current or future locations. In addition, four in 10 teen social networkers report posting something on their profiles that they later regret, including 13 percent who posted nude or semi-nude pictures. Read tips on to make your child’s profile safe and secure.

Instant messaging, instant woes?

90 — Percent of all sexual solicitations that are made in chat rooms or via instant message
Of the teens who are already online, approximately half say they use instant messaging daily. There’s good news and bad news on the instant messaging front: Encouragingly, teens are still spending more time with friends in real life than online. Specifically, they’re clocking in about 2.5 more hours of face time with friends than talking with them via technology. But more than four in 10 teens who use instant messaging use it to say things they wouldn’t say in person, leading to increased reports of cyberbullying. One in five teens has been solicited sexually online, and 75 percent did not report it to a parent or authority figure. CyberBullyHelp, which is dedicated to preventing bullying in the digital age, provides quick-read tips for protecting your child while using email, instant messaging, or chat rooms.

Texting obsession

556 — Percent increase in number of texts teens sent in the past two years
TTYL BFF 4ever? While other forms of communication teens use for daily contact with their friends have remained stable over the past five years, texting has taken off, increasing its ranks by 16 percent and becoming the most ubiquitous way for teens to talk to their friends. About a third of cell-phone-toting teens send more than 100 texts a day. (Teens are three times more likely to be texting friends than a parent.) Teens between 15 and 18 years old spend up to two hours a day texting and nearly a quarter of the texts are sent during class time. Although teens report that most texts are relatively banal — checking in on what a friend's doing or where she is — texting can have detrimental consequences. One in three teens reports texting while driving, one in four teens has been bullied or harassed via text, and one in seven teens has received a “sext.” (Conversely, only 4 percent of teens claim to have sent a sext.) States are struggling to make laws to keep up with the dangers associated with these behaviors. Sexting is punishable under federal law and 34 states have banned texting while driving. You can check the laws of your state here and read the resources provided byKidsBeSafeOnline for additional texting-related questions.

Video games: violence galore

97 — Percent of teens who play computer, web, portable, or console games
Not surprisingly, boys maintain a slight edge over girls in overall gaming, with 65 percent of boys playing screen games daily. The most worrisome part of video games is the cycle of violence from screen to seat: 63 percent of teens who play games report that fellow gamers become mean or overly aggressive while playing with them. Additionally, there's a wealth of evidence that playing violent video games makes teens less empathetic to others’ suffering. Researchers at Columbia University Medical Center have even shown that after playing violent video games, players' brain networks responsible for suppressing inappropriate or unwarranted aggression become less active. In an effort to improve the media landscape for kids, CommonSenseMedia has launched a site that includes reviews and age-specific searches for appropriate video games and more.

TV land

5 hours and 11 minutes — Average amount of time per day a teen spends watching television
The most frequently used screen continues to be the television, which has reached an eight-year high. In fact, time in front of the tube has increased by 38 minutes over the past five years. Kids might be complaining about their homework load, but three of every four U.S. middle school students spends over three hours a day watching TV. Even more damaging: Between 55 and 78 percent of teens report that the TV is on during family dinners, increasing their exposure and taking away from conversations between family members. Read our article on kids and screen time for tips on how to limit their time plugged in.

Is my son addicted to screens?

Is my son's screen use "normal" for kids his age? Or has our whole country gone insane, raising a generation of children who are dangerously addicted to any and every screen?

By Anne Collins
Game Boy was his gateway drug. “Please Mom, please let me have one,” my son Max* begged me for two years. Despite his insistence, I held firm and said no. Until my son turned 7 years old, I’d mostly managed to keep screens safely outside what I now realize was the flimsy protection of our home, a place I’d imagined offered safety and sanctuary. We didn’t own any gaming devices. About once a week, Max (*name has been changed) could watch a movie.
Why was I trying so hard to screen him from, well, screens? So many reasons. For one, my otherwise terrific parents let me watch too much TV — hours of it every day. Looking back, I wish they’d nudged me out of my stupor to read more and explore other interests, and I can’t help but wonder if that would have given me more of an edge academically.
My fear stemmed mainly from the fact that I know my son. Seducing him with their silent siren song, screens have a magical effect on him; more than books, playgrounds, time with his parents, painting — all of which he loved as a young child. At toy stores, when he was very small, he’d immediately toddle towards the plastic baby computers and bang away at the keys. At home, I was afraid if I willingly let my son get sucked the land of high-tech, I’d never get him back.

Amish aspirations, modern realities

Maybe I’d have had a better chance — like a few holdout parents I know who’ve kept their kids almost completely tech-free — if my husband and I agreed on this issue.  He accepts most of my parenting philosophies, but wouldn’t go along with my desire to banish televisions and computers from our house. After all, he’s the editor of a national high-tech magazine and website, so he doesn’t exactly share my Amish aspirations. Nevertheless, I championed my cause and tried to ward off the high-tech tsunami as long as I could.
One fateful day, standing in line at our local taqueria, Max saw an older boy playing Game Boy. Max glommed onto him immediately. A minute later, he launched into his usual cri de guerre, pulling out every line in his 7-year-old’s arsenal. “Please Mom, let me have a Game Boy. I’ll do anything if you let me have one. Everybody else in my class has one. It’s the only thing I want in the world.”
I shook my head, hoping to avoid a public scene. Then the boy’s father, like some wicked specter auguring our destiny, turned to me, “You say that now, but it’s only a matter of time,” the evil one whispered in my ear. “I promise. He’ll get a Game Boy. They all do.”
I hoped the subject would be forgotten, but Max wouldn’t relent. His seventh birthday was just days away. Weeks earlier he’d lost his status as an only child when his little sister was born. On the very same day, his lifelong best friend next door moved away. Whenever I asked what he wanted for his birthday, he said the same thing: “A Game Boy. It’s. All. I. Want.” Over dinner, my husband gave me a look that said,  “For God’s sake, let the boy have what he wants.”
That’s the moment I gave up. But if I had any delusions that giving him his heart’s desire would solve the problem, they disappeared almost immediately. Our never-ending fights about technology had just begun.

Techno yes or Tech-no?

Over the next five years, the thirst for the latest best thing could never be quenched. From Game Boy, to DS, to Wii — the requests never stopped. I put my foot down when he asked for a subscription to World of Warcraft, an online multi-player game that an editor of a non-profit media web site warned me against. “Never let your son play that! It’s incredibly addictive,” she cautioned.
Maybe a sane parent — the parent I was before we went down this rabbit-hole — would have just said no, instead of holding fast to certain boundaries, letting others slip. 
I have no defense, except that life gets busy, and it’s full of compromises. Some days I’m so busy taking care of his little sister, or writing on deadline, and a video game or TV show quiets my son — and I’m grateful. And, I try to reassure myself, he doesn't just sit in front of a screen all day. He’s a talented pianist and performer. He gets pretty much straight As. He’s fantastic at math and science, and he’s a gifted writer. What more do I want?

You can’t always get what you want

Me: Max, you’re supposed to be doing your homework. Turn off Facebook/Minecraft/your iPod.
Max: I’m just taking a break.
Me: You know the rule. No screens until you’ve done your homework.
Max: I’ve done most of it, Mom. You just don’t want me to be happy. Playing computer games makes me happy!
Why don’t I want him to be happy playing screens? Because I’ve beenreading the latest stats on screen addiction — and I see how harmful it can be, especially for adolescents whose brains are still being shaped and whose bodies need plenty of exercise and activity to keep them healthy.
I want him to be doing anything other than an activity that, I fear, keeps him from experiencing real life, and using as much of his brain as possible. I want him to play basketball at our nearby playground. I want him to practice music for his upcoming keyboard lesson. I want him to play like kids used to play. The problem? There aren’t any kids playing outside. The few teens on our block are also inside their homes, also grudgingly doing their homework, also arguing with their parents about being on a screen.

Emergency help

But here’s the deal: I’m genuinely worried my son is addicted to screens. I can’t seem to stop him from pushing the "on" button whenever he has free time. He can’t seem to stop, and he certainly doesn’t want to.
I decided to get outside help, and where did I find it? Online, of course.  I tracked down a former screen addict who counsels families with children or other family members whose lives have been taken over by technology. I also found the co-founder of the country’s first and only screen addiction center, who also offers private counseling.

A ray of hope

When I reveal my fears, Kevin Roberts tells me not to worry.Roberts’s book Cyber Junkie is about his journey into — and out of — screen addiction. “For a 13-year-old to be playing a lot of video games is not a big worry,” Roberts says. If his behavior’s the same at 15, he says, then it’s time to worry.
My son has many outside interests and talents, enough to divert him from devolving into a true screen junkie, Roberts tells me, one who stops eating and sleeping, lies about his addiction, and truly trades his real life for a virtual one. The trick, adds Roberts, is to help my son find balance. But whatever you do, he warns, “Get out of the business of being the nag. A disturbingly significant proportion of people who call and come to see me are people who overly manage their kids, [who say], “You can have 30 minutes of screen time.”
Roberts says banning screens altogether simply won’t work. “People our age bracket are quick to dismiss [video games] as frivolity,” says Roberts. But video games and other screen entertainment, he argues, are part of the today's world. For many kids, it's a significant part of their social life. Instead, he advises, explain that you know your child likes screens, but, “As a responsible parent, I need you to find balance in your life. Here are some options. Let’s talk about it.”
That night, I followed Roberts' advice. I told Max that since he’s no longer doing rock climbing or soccer, he should consider finding another physical outlet. I didn’t bring up his use of screens. I didn’t lecture. And surprise! He said, “OK. I think I’d like to do something more physical. Maybe take trampoline classes or go back to rock climbing.” Progress?

It is a drug. And we’re the dealers.

Maybe. But what I gained in hope, I lost to despair when I talked to Hilarie Cash, co-founder and executive director of reSTART, an Internet addiction program in Fall City, Washington. Her advice was very different from Roberts'.
“Parents aren’t taking this seriously enough," she told me flatly. “Parents abdicate responsibility . . . [They] have to do put limits on their child’s use."
Cash insists that if your child isn’t helping with chores, getting enough sleep, eating healthy food, and seeing friends face-to-face, it’s time to worry. “The research is clear, the signs and symptoms of addiction show up when people spend more than two hours a day on their recreational media use. That includes everything: TV, screen time, smartphones, Facebook.”
Max easily spends well over two hours using media every day — between his cell phone, iPod, computer, and TV. (Given that theaverage American is in front of a screen 7 hours a day, we’re a nation of addicts.)
Above all, Cash told me, keep your child away from multi-player online games, the most damaging digital drug of all, and the most addictive of all Internet play. “If it’s a team game, your son shouldn’t be doing it."
At that point, I freaked out. My son plays multi-player games. And he loves them. What can I do to stop him now that he’s started, and now that he’s becoming  a normal teenager who often rebels and pushes back?  Cash's answer? "Say, ‘We’re done. I’m sick of the battle,” she said. "Say, 'We'll reconsider you playing video games when I see you’re physically active, leading an active life, being a responsible teenager.'"
“Parents aren’t willing to be the bad guys," she continued. "They’re not willing to say, ‘This addictive thing you love so much is going away' . . . to say, 'This is a drug and my child is going to have limited access to this drug.”

Where does this leave me — and my son?

I may never have clarity on this struggle; it’s not black and white. I know that Max is both a responsible teenager and that he uses screens too much. But I agree with reSTART’s Cash that I need to be the parent and can’t sweep this under the rug.
So I’m going to start by having a serious and honest talk with my son. Tell him that things in our home have to change because God knows nothing’s going to change out in the world. Screens aren’t going away.

Is social media making your child a fame-seeker?

By Jessica Kelmon

When I’m famous, I’ll get more rich. And I’ll become a millionaire.”
… just like being on the red carpet, and with like cameras flashing…
You have a lot of money, everybody likes you.”
A new realm — the public eye — is captivating tweens. And it may be creating a new “Look at me!” generation of kids who say they want to “be famous” when they grow up (rather than be, say, a ballet dancer or firefighter). According to brand new research out of UCLA, two social influencers — TV shows and social media broadcasting — may be at the root of this change. In focus groups (which elicited the comments above) leading up to her latest research, Yalda Uhls at UCLA's Children’s Digital Media Center asked tweens about their values. The answers resounded with the same refrain: fame was not only a possible benefit of being good at something, but for many kids it's a goal in and of itself. Such glorification of fame for fame’s sake jibed with Uhls' own concerns as the mother of a 13-year-old girl.

Visions of Hollywood dance in their heads

The seeds of the research were planted with Hannah Montana, which Uhls’ daughter — along with the majority of kids her age — loved. At the time, Hannah Montana and American Idol were the two most popular TV shows among tweens, and both actively promoted the value of fame. In her research, Uhls discovered this fixation with fame is a new phenomenon. For four of the past five decades, the most popular TV shows promoted community — the values of belonging to a family and helping others. From 1967 to 1997 community was highly promoted and fame wasn’t (think Happy DaysThe Cosby Show,Friends) — but by 2007 it had flipped: now fame is way up (think The VoiceReal Housewives of any city, Nashville, the Kardashian juggernaut) and community is in the red.
But TV is old media, and Uhls and her colleagues wondered if the proliferation of new media was triggering a greater focus on fame for kids. After all, today’s tweens have grown up with their pictures on Facebook, their funny acts on YouTube, and, at the very least, their every move recorded for posterity on the family laptop. In a series of focus groups with media-savvy fourth and sixth graders (80 percent own cell phones, 100 percent go online daily, 100 percent regularly watch TV and YouTube), a shocking 40 percent ranked fame first in a list of seven values, including community feeling, image, benevolence (aka kindness), fame, self-acceptance, financial success, and achievement.
But these focus groups were all in Los Angeles. Surely there was a Hollywood effect, right?
The intrigue prompted Uhls’ new research, a national survey of 333 children ages 9 to 15. Kids were again asked to rank values: fame, community feeling, financial success, self-acceptance, achievement, tradition, image, and kindness. This time, fame didn’t come first. Achievement and kindness ranked first and second, with fame falling near the bottom.
“It’s not like everybody’s saying they want to be famous,” says Uhls. “That’s the good news — at least so far.”
Although it didn’t top the list, 38 percent of kids surveyed put fame near the top of their list. These same kids frequently practice the same social media habits, namely posting photos, tagging photos, posting videos, updating their profile, updating their status, meeting new people online, and talking on their cell phones (nope, not texting). “It’s not random,” Uhls explains, “it means there’s a relationship that’s so strong.”
When Uhls compared the social media habits of the kids who value community over fame, she found they use social media, too, and might post and tag photos, update their profiles and statuses, meet new people, and talk on their cell phones, but they don’t do it nearly as often as the kids who value fame.
“The kids who want to be famous are using these tools. Kids who say they value helping others don’t use these tools as much,” Uhls explains. She predicts that if she replicates this study in a few years, the fame-seeking group will grow.

Against what law?

Despite laws forbidding children under 13 access to the likes of Facebook and YouTube, Uhls found that many kids are using social media tools supposedly aimed at older kids and adults. Among 9- to 12-year-olds, she found 23 percent have a social networking profile such as Facebook, 26 percent have a YouTube account, 14 percent have posted videos of themselves online, and 7 percent have had videos of them posted online by others.
At the age when it is legal for kids to create accounts with these sites, the numbers go way up: 78 percent of 13- to 15-year-olds have social networking profiles, 46 percent have YouTube accounts, and 23 percent have posted videos of themselves online.

Need online literacy… now!

Alhough discussions of screen time and media management may make you yawn — and Uhls admits she hasn’t changed any rules for her own daughter — she advises parents to look at the messages they send about fame and about seeking a larger audience. “Parents might not realize it,” Uhls says, “but posting pictures and videos of their babies… is sending that message.” At some point, kids may not believe the attention of mom and dad in the living room is enough — and instead feel the constant need for the “Likes,” views, and comments of a wider audience online.
All those adorable pictures and videos don’t go away, either. Since this is the first generation to grow up online, we don’t yet know how kids’ online personas will follow them, and perhaps haunt them, into adulthood. Technology isn’t going away, so Uhls advises parents — and schools — to embrace it. Give your child guidelines, Uhls says, citing a dad who recently shared his thoughtful Instagram rule: pictures of trees and animals only, no pictures of people. “And ask schools to teach digital literacy,” she says.

What’s wrong with a little fame-seeking?

One of the biggest risks of fame-seeking social media habits is the propensity to seek new friends online — a red flag all parents should monitor. Uhls shared a story of a teenage girl who set off to meet a new online friend without her parents’ permission or knowledge. Luckily, she changed her mind mid-trip and the adult waiting to meet her was picked up by authorities instead.
But this is an extreme example. For most kids, Uhls says, the litmus test is whether the desire for fame is tied to skill or achievement — or if it’s just about the fame. If this is the case, it’s a good time to have a discussion with your kids about values.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Watching and making movies

Spring break! and we get some time to relax and do whatever we feel in the mood to do which include watching some movies and for my son, making some.

And this is what I love, for a child who does not enjoy watching movie that much, on the other end he likes to make some. So he started to make his own lego movies which is a great way to explore and experiment with his flip video. Then he does explore different ways to make shots and to edit them.

We watch an Agnes Varda's movie "Jacquot de Nantes" that they both really enjoyed. This movie relate Jacques Demy's life and filmography. As it started with his childhood, it was very interesting to see that at that time, families were going together to see puppet shows and how much jacquot was loving it. Then they saw how passionate Jacquot was with cinema, how much he loved watching movies. Then Jacquot manage to get an old camera to shot his own movies and animation.

I was happy to show my children this movie and found that it was the right time to do so as my son is getting so interested in making his own. We also went to see the Stanley Kubrick exhibition at the Lacma. My children really enjoyed it and particularly anything relating the making of. They are enjoying watching how were made all special effects and love to hear the actors speaking about their experience on the set.

We are also screening some old TV series, a few episode of Bewitched, and Samantha Stevens did not lose her magic charm. Sure the image of the ideal couple is someway dated... the housewife that Samantha is so urged to be is very submissive, she is eager to please her husband, always complimenting him and making him feel good. But on the other end, it also show the powers of women, Samantha always get her way and after all this does have real power as she is a witch, so an exceptional woman and Darrin is a mortal, so, an ordinary man.

I believe that children enjoy seeing the kind of family and community depicted by Bewitched, as it is a cooperative and peaceful one. Most episode show example of tolerance, respect for oneself as well as loyalty and most than all, love.

We are also screening episode of another old TV show: Happy days. And this time, it is my son's choice, he got those DVD for his birthday. Ones again, they both love this show which depicted the life of teenager in the mid-50 to mid-60. What captivate their attention is certainly the mains characters and their personality. Sure they love Fonzie, who doesn't? Their also love Ritchie and his sometime silly friends. But I believe that what captivate them the most are the situations and own those teenager react to them. Like, What is happening to Richie when he drink too much? or, what kind of silly things he is ready to do to be accepted in a special group? And is this worth it? Ritchie is smart and think, which makes this a lot more interesting for them. It is like a sneak preview of teenage life in a peaceful environment.

Which make me think that 11 years old children do enjoy those old TV series which in my opinion are better for them to watch than the new ones. The environment is a lot more peaceful which help them focus on simple but fundamental questions of life. The pace of those episodes is a lot slower than contemporary TV show. Not to mention that there is not commercial interruption on a DVD.

Anyway, what is really on TV today for tween  What do they watch? it seems that most watch reality TV, particularly talents shows of any kind. They usually love music and I believe that this is a constant. Kids and tween always loved music. So it makes sense that they love watching shows like The voice, or American Idol...

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

still no time for TV

My daughter got some DVD for Christmas, she got season one to three of Bewitched. We are all enjoying this old series  It is fun to watch it all together, it is always a good laugh. However finding the time to watch an episode or two stay challenging.

There is no way we would watch TV over the week, even if we want to, when that could happen?

Monday the children are coming home by 6pm and Tuesday by 5:30pm as they have after-school activities. So they cannot even have time for homework that they happily have done over the week-end.

Wednesday they coming home no later than 4pm and after doing homework and practicing their piano, they eventually hang out a bit before their piano lesson. They love this lesson and love their teacher, you should have seen them having fun with her tonight, playing and laughing, they would not let her go. So anyway, happily they had diner before as they barely had time to clean up before going to bed.

Thursday and Friday are usually more relax as they do not have any after-school activities but they do have homework :-) And they do practice their piano for sure. I bet it is like that in everyone family as I see that most children have after-school activities and even more than mine.

The fact is that there is no time for watching TV during the week. So, on week-end, we do find a little bit of time, mostly after diner to watch one or two episodes of Bewitched, all together laughing.

To be honest, with a PhD in film and TV, I have a huge collection of DVD of all kind. This is actually how my children saw Melies's movies early on and loved them. I do not think they will ever have the time to watch all of those DVD and it is a good thing as life is not about watching TV.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

successful story... continuation

I am glad to tell you what happen next to the mom I met and who decided to stop altogether screen time for her son. Actually, one friend of her was really impressed by how easily her son accepted this change and started to play alone so nicely so she decided to do the same with her son!

May be parents, today, are more open to the idea of banning their kids from watching television?
It is true that there is more publication on the subject than 10 years ago so may be parents believe now that people like me are not some New Age type fantasist....

Wouldn't be sad to wait 20 more years and feel so sorry that we did not stop in time? Like it was done for tobacco?

Ban under-threes from watching television, says study

Doctors should curb amount of time children spend watching television to prevent long-term harm, say paediatricians.
, health editor
The Guardian

Doctors and government health officials should set limits, as they do for alcohol, on the amount of time children spend watching screens – and under-threes should be kept away from the television altogether, according to a paper in an influential medical journal published on Tuesday.
A review of the evidence in the Archives Of Disease in Childhood says children's obsession with TV, computers and screen games is causing developmental damage as well as long-term physical harm. Doctors at the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, which co-owns the journal with the British Medical Journal group, say they are concerned. Guidelines in the US, Canada and Australia already urge limits on children's screen time, but there are none yet in Britain.
The review was written by psychologist Dr Aric Sigman, author of a book on the subject, following a speech he gave to the RCPCH's annual conference. On average, he says, a British teenager spends six hours a day looking at screens at home – not including any time at school. In North America, it is nearer eight hours. But, says Sigman, negative effects on health kick in after about two hours of sitting still, with increased long-term risks of obesity and heart problems.
The critical time for brain growth is the first three years of life, he says. That is when babies and small children need to interact with their parents, eye to eye, and not with a screen.
Prof Mitch Blair, officer for health promotion at the college, said: "Whether it's mobile phones, games consoles, TVs or laptops, advances in technology mean children are exposed to screens for longer amounts of time than ever before. We are becoming increasingly concerned, as are paediatricians in several other countries, as to how this affects the rapidly developing brain in children and young people."
The US department of health and human services now specifically cites the reduction of screen time as a health priority, aiming "to increase the proportion of children aged 0 to two years who view no television or videos on an average weekday" and increase the proportion of older children up to 18 who have no more than two hours' screen time a day.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has also issued guidance, saying "media – both foreground and background – have potentially negative effects and no known positive effects for children younger than 2 years". The Canadian Paediatric Society says no child should be allowed to have a television, computer or video game equipment in his or her bedroom.
Sigman goes further, suggesting no screen time for the under-threes, rising gradually to a maximum of two hours for the over-16s. Parents should "encourage" no screens in the bedroom, he says, and be aware that their own viewing habits will influence their children.
But the issue is controversial and his opinions and standing are questioned by Dorothy Bishop, professor of developmental neuropsychology at Oxford University who says that although this is an important topic, Sigman's paper is not "an impartial expert review of evidence for effects on health and child development". "Aric Sigman does not appear to have any academic or clinical position, or to have done any original research on this topic," she said. "His comments about impact of screen time on brain development and empathy seem speculative in my opinion, and the arguments that he makes could equally well be used to conclude that children should not read books."
Sigman says he chooses not to have a job at a university and works in health education. "I go into schools and talk to children, usually about alcohol – trying to delay the age at which they start drinking," he said. Limiting the use of electronic media, he said, was a similar public health issue.
Dr Louise Arsenault, senior lecturer at the Institute of Psychiatry, said: "The findings from this study are intriguing and add to an increasing body of evidence suggesting that a sedentary lifestyle is not optimal for the future of young children." It was "crucial to keep this activity in context with the rest of children's lives". Screen media could be a marker of a more generally unhealthy lifestyle that needed to be talked about by health practitioners, she said.
Professor Lynne Murray, research professor in developmental psychopathology at the University of Reading, said there is "a well-established literature showing the adverse effects of screen experience on the cognitive development of children under three", but the adverse effects could be mitigated if the child was watching and interacting with "a supportive partner – usually adult".
The RCPH's Professor Blair said there were some simple steps parents could take, "such as limiting toddler exposure as much as possible, keeping TVs and computers out of children's bedrooms, restricting prolonged periods of screen time (we would recommend less than two hours a day) and choosing programmes that have an educational element."
But Justine Roberts, co-founder of Mumsnet, said it was hard for parents to compete with technology. "It would be great if someone could invent a lock that could automatically ensure a daily shut down of all the different devices in and around the home after a designated period. Until such a thing is invented, it's going to be an ongoing battle to keep on top of everything," she said.

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Is Portable Technology Robbing Kids of Parents’ Attention?

What happens to a whole generation of young children who must compete for their parents’ attention against intelligent devices, the Internet, social networks, and plain old-fashioned telephone conversations?

Published: 11/17/2011
by Robert Moskowitz
Have you noticed how many moms and dads these days – whether pushing strollers, wearing their babies, leading toddlers by the hand or letting them run free – are more intensely focused on a smart phone than on their child?

This is totally new.

When I was growing up, and later when I was raising my kids, mothers (and some dads) talked to their babies literally all the time: chattering away about what was going on, pointing out interesting sights and sounds, planning for when Brother or Sister came home from school, asking questions as if the child understood and might actually answer.

Psychologists make much of this intense verbal stimulation, eye contact and social interaction, explaining that they help develop new neural pathways in the child’s brain and encourage higher levels of awareness, cogitation, and language capabilities, just for starters.

So what happens to a whole generation of young children who must now compete for their parents’ attention against intelligent devices, the Internet, social networks, and plain old-fashioned telephone conversations?

No one knows, at least not according to Marilyn Price-Mitchell, Ph.D., a Fellow at the Institute for Social Innovation at Fielding Graduate University in Santa Barbara and co-founder of the National ParentNet Association, a nonprofit that builds family, school and community partnerships.

“It’s just too new of a phenomenon for there to be any research on it,” she says. “However, there is a lot of research that shows the benefit of active listening with children, and how parent attention and support is key to developing a healthy self-image. One could surmise that if we are paying attention to our smart-phones instead of our children, not as much interaction is going to occur.”

And who among us hasn’t witnessed the toddler who grabs Mom’s smart-phone and starts punching buttons? Children as young as 1 or 2 already see them as fascinating toys. “This seems to be yet another distraction from face-to-face interaction with parents,” says Price-Mitchell.

“It’s definitely an example of multitasking in which attention to a face-to-face human being is sacrificed for attention to virtual human beings,” agrees Patricia Greenfield, Ph.D., a developmental psychologist at UCLA and director of the Children’s Digital Media Center @ Los Angeles, where she studies children’s interaction with the newer forms of digital media.

James W. Stigler, Ph.D., professor of developmental psychology at UCLA, agrees about the lack of available research, but takes a less pessimistic view of the situation. “I have not heard of any research on this,” he confides, “but I don’t know if it’s necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes peer interactions are more productive [than interactions with parents], and this [parental smart-phone fixation] might free children up to interact more with peers.”

Rebekah Richert, Ph.D., associate professor of psychology at UC Riverside, says the effects of parents’ increased use of these technologies are difficult to anticipate, but likely fall into two categories.

 “First, children are monitored less. We know that we cannot attend to two or more things as well as we can attend to one. Thus, when parents are glancing between their phone and their child, they are likely missing subtle, or even obvious, cues about what the child is doing and experiencing,” says Richert. “This can be both positive and negative.” She echoes Stigler’s view that less attention from parents could mean more interaction with peers and an increased sense of independence, but points out the increased risk of injury or social conflict for children whose parents are distracted.

 “Second,” Richert says, “children learn about technologies by watching their parents. Children are growing up in environments surrounded by these kinds of personal, portable, interactive devices.” Children of high-use parents who are on smart phones or tablets throughout the day will learn about their appropriate – or inappropriate – use, depending on their parents’ example. “It is up to each parent to decide how he or she wants his or her child to view and use these kinds of technologies in their lives,” says Richert.

Beverly Hills psychiatrist Carole Lieberman, MD, MPH, believes ignoring kids for smart-phones can be very bad. “Smart phones are not really very smart,” says Lieberman, a member of the faculty at the UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute who accuses the devices of robbing kids of parents’ attention and “tearing apart the fabric of the family. The impact on children of a parent who seems to find a little box more intriguing than them is powerful. This makes children feel devalued, unimportant, unattractive and unloved.” She goes so far as to say that this lack of attention creates a void in children’s lives that can lead to substance abuse and other problems.

Gabor Maté, M.D., a Canadian physician who specializes in the study and treatment of addiction, believes that today’s parents are stressed and have become disconnected from their kids, and that parents who can’t put down their smart phones may actually be addicted to them.

“It’s a concern I have as well,” says Lisa Druxman, founder of StrollerStrides, a fitness program where moms exercise with their babies. “As a mom myself, I get how hard it is to ‘unplug.’ We recommend that moms put their phones away and actually play with the kids. Don’t just sit on the sidelines. Enjoy the playground or a game of tag! Think about how you want your kids to treat their own kids one day. I’m guessing we would all put the phones away and play!”

At least one educator is also dismayed by the trend. “I think it’s very disengaged,” says the co-director of a popular, upscale Los Angeles preschool. “We frequently see parents come into our school and, instead of greeting their child and focusing in on them, they’re talking on the phone.

“Today’s young children have never been with parents without phones,” continues the educator, who didn’t want to be identified so as not to offend parents of students attending her school. “They don’t know any different. But talking is more than a way of communicating and building language skills. It’s a way of having a relationship with your kids and attending to their needs. It’s unrealistic to expect people not to use their smart phones. They’re part of our lives and our world, and they serve some very useful purposes. But there are downsides. I think it would be good if parents could realize the impact of technology, be more mindful, and think about how they want smart-phones in their lives.”

Mindfulness is just the strategy suggested by developmental psychologist Nancy Buck, Ph.D. and parenting coach. “My general position,” says Buck, “is that parenting must be conscious. That is, just be aware of what you’re doing. Then you can decide if what you’re doing is what you want to be doing. If it isn’t, you can make a different choice.”

Robert Moskowitz is an L.A. dad, writer, and frequent contributor to L.A. Parent.

I agree with Nancy Buck, parenting must be conscious. This is why I believe that informing parents is important. Sharing experiences is important too. I do not like cell phone because I feel it invade my space. I do not like to feel "on call". Honestly, most of the calls I am getting are not that urgent, they can at least wait a few minutes. The only calls I would answer right away would be from school or other place where my children would be, in case something happen to them or they need me. I have a cell phone for emergency use and I have a smartphone, even two and I gave them to my kids :-)
They use them as Ipod. I do not want those to be connected at home, as I am first teaching them not to become addicted to them. If they need to surf the web or do email, they have a computer. It is really hard to supervise the use of a smartphone or other small device connected to the internet. But when they turn their computer on, I can see it. Like everything, I believe that they need to learn first how to master the use of all those technology and by mastering it I mean being able to control it in every way. And it is easiest to say than to do, as mention in Robert Moskowitz, many adult are addicted to their smartphone...