Guess what? Toddlers, who recognize at a fairly early age McDonald’s golden arches and similar ilk, can actually end up with different behavior if they watch different shows — prosocial versus antisocial, for example — on television.
They did this study to confirm this. I read it with interest, since our kids, at 5 and 8, are the geeks in their school who still watch “The Octonauts” and “Jake and the Neverland Pirates,” and who have yet to see any movie with a rating beyond “G.” Our daughter was grilled the other day by a third grader about various “bigger kid” or “grown up” shows, boy bands, movies: she knew nothing. And was utterly nonchalant about it, thankfully.
But something else in this little study about television and young children hit me. Hit me hard.
Consider this passage from the New York Times article on the study:
Until she began participating in Dr. Christakis’s trial, Nancy Jensen, a writer in Seattle, had never heard of shows like Nickelodeon’s “Wonder Pets!,” featuring cooperative team players, and NBC’s “My Friend Rabbit,” with its themes of loyalty and friendship.
At the time, her daughter Elizabeth, then 3, liked “King of the Hill,” a cartoon comedy geared toward adults that features beer and gossip. In hindsight, she said, the show was “hilariously funny, but completely inappropriate for a 3-year-old.”
Now, I try hard to understand why people do what they do. Why would a mother let her three-year-old watch “King of the Hill?” Maybe the mother liked the show, and the three-year-old was awake, and the mother wanted to spend time with her three-year-old, laughing. I for one adore the sound of a three-year-old laughing.
“At the time.” That laughter was beautiful.
In “hindsight.” The two probably could have laughed together at something else.
Sometimes I fear we all risk spending so much time living in our moments, enjoying our present, that we forget moments don’t last, and that moments, once past, can add up to an experience that is less than fantastic.
This “Debbie Downer Moment” has been brought to you by the letter W. For Worried.
I’m worried about a lot these days. It’ll pass… It’s just a moment I’m in.