Transitioning My 20 Month-Old Into TV Time

20 months.

I have always felt very strongly against allowing my son to watch TV before the age of 2 years old.

Yes, I am one of those quirky parents who believes there is a link between boys under the age of 2 watching TV daily and Autism.

As a father of a little boy, I am very aware that boys are 4 times more likely to be diagnosed with Autism than girls.

While I know there are many factors as to why, it’s interesting to point out that males compartmentalize their thoughts separately from each other, while females constantly intersect theirs.

That explains why when you ask a guy what he is thinking and he says “nothing,” he is probably telling the truth. Because he is currently in his “nothing box.”

But if my understanding about females is correct, they can never truly “think about nothing” the way males can.

In other words, by default, the male mind already works like a TV. If he needs to think about a different subject, he has to change the channel in his head to that subject first. But the female mind works more like a laptop computer with at least 8 windows up and running at all times.

She is used to the constant multitasking in her brain. Meanwhile, guys are built to be task-orientated, so they stay on that certain channel until the job is done, or change the channel and come back to it later, as if during the commercial break.

The theory is that during those very crucial first two years of a boy’s life, he is still developing his “how to properly change the channel in his head” ability.

So a boy who is exposed to a TV during that crucial time of development, with changing channels, switching camera angles, and no natural pauses in conversation, can get confused and the channels in his head start changing on their own.

Another reason I am convinced of this theory is explained in an article for Slate Magazine, where it is revealed that the reported number of Autistic cases shot up in 1980 (just a few months before I was born), when cable TV and VCR’s became easily accessible in American households.

The number of Autism cases were higher in states where the weather was gloomier (like Oregon and Washington) where children were more likely to stay inside and watch TV.

Interestingly, cases of Autism are nearly non-existent in Amish communities where TV’s are nowhere to be found.

I also support this article in Time magazine which says that TV cuts down on a toddler’s “talk time,” according to pediatricians.

Well, my son is now 20 months old; that’s just 4 months away from that “TV is now safe” milestone of 2 years old. So recently, I have been more flexible on his exposure to TV.

He’s still very obsessed with Elmo. Fate would have it that Sesame Street is on now Netflix’s live streaming. (We don’t have cable or a satellite.)

One of his new routines is for me to turn on Sesame Street in the morning while he plays with his toys or the Wii remote. I keep the volume very low as to not interrupt any conversation between the two of us.

The funny thing is, he doesn’t actually watch the show. He totally doesn’t have the attention span for that right now.

All he really wants to do is just point at the screen every once and while and say “Elmo” or “dog” or “noodle,” referring to Mr. Noodle in the Elmo’s World segment.

My son likes the idea of watching TV, but when given the chance, he doesn’t actually watch it.

Here’s the twist: I really look forward to the day he does want to. I haven’t watched a Disney Pixar movie since Toy Story 2 came out on DVD like a decade ago.

I have a lot of catching up to do!

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  1. by dealuser

    On August 8, 2012 at 6:32 pm

    watching tv , drink milk , and play with the remote control . such a beautiful boy .