I don't have a set time in my mind that I think is okay for them to watch shows/movies, but I do feel like it needs to be limited, and I do think that the less they watch, the better.
We don't have cable or satellite or netflix or anything like that. We never have. I can remember leaving home for University and suddenly not having cable and it was SO WEIRD at first! But after a little while it became totally normal, and I remember thinking that it made me do better things with my time, and I was happy about it! So, when we got married (and didn't have a lot of money anyway), we easily decided not to get cable and have never missed it. (Ken & I do have shows that we like to watch online, and we own & borrow DVDs, but we don't even have a TV right now (well we do, but it's in the basement, not hooked up or ever used)- we just use the computer or a laptop to watch whatever we're watching.
If you could step into a day in the life of me, on a day that Katrina doesn't have school (she goes every other day), you would know that one of her favourite things to ask to do is watch "StrawberryShortcakeOnTheInternet" (and she says it just like that- as if it's one word). One day we discovered that you could find Strawberry Shortcake episodes on youtube, and it has been "a thing" ever since. (A thing that I try very hard to limit)
Here's my main concern with Screen Time: the times that I feel most "okay" about letting my kids watch a show or a movie are times when I am busy doing something and they are tired out (so playing outside or something is not a fun idea to them anymore). Like if I'm cooking dinner and they're needing to relax, I'll let them watch together (so I know they're safe & occupied & relaxed, and I can be free to work). However, the problem with that and something like youtube is that when the little episode ends, they can click on another show (which may or may not be Strawberry Shortcake) and it will often start with an advertisement (which may or may not be kid appropriate), and they can end up clicking on ANYTHING (and there are definitely inappropriate things on there) so you really need to be watching them and not letting them "loose" on there!
Enter Kidoodle.TV ! They are the SOLUTION!! I love Kidoodle.TV! I am not just saying that because this is a sponsored post, you guys, I like to give you my honest opinion, and I am excited to say that this is a product that is not just "nice", but actually really really great!
Problem: When they watch a DVD, they just start it over & keep watching when I'm not paying attention.
Kidoodle.TV Solution: You have to choose a time limit every time you let the kids watch (and it will stop working for them when the time runs out.) If they want more time, they have to ASK YOU for it!
Problem: inappropriate ads
Kidoodle.TV Solution: There are NO ADS on Kidoodle.TV! Awesome!
Problem: Not knowing which show they'll choose to watch when one finishes (if you ARE okay with them watching another show)
Kidoodle.TV Solution: You control which shows are available to your kids, so you can relax and know they only have access to watch what you have predetermined is okay for them. (this can be different for individual children (up to 5 of them) and changed whenever you want).
Problem: Your child is so clever she knows how to get the movie started when you're not there.
Kidoodle.TV Solution: Only you can start the viewing time because only you know the parent password.
Oh and while I'm mentioning solutions, I should also mention that there are actually "Good" shows available on this service. From "retro" (read: from my childhood) shows like Inspector Gadget and Jen and the Holograms to more current/recent shows that your kids know all about like Bo on the Go (I hadn't heard of it before but my kids had seen it somewhere before!) When you go into the parents' room to set which shows each child is allowed to watch, they even sort them by age appropriateness to help you out, and then you can make the call from there on each individual show.
#1 Kidoodle.TV is giving away 3 iPad Minis (great for trying their sevice on! ;) this month. You can enter through their facebook page.
#2 Kidoodle.TV is also offering YOU a discount code to try out Kidoodle.TV so you can see for yourself how great it is! You can use the code MCC25 to get 25% off for a year subscription! (This code expires June 30, 2014)
#3 You can also try the service for free for 2 weeks, OR you can use this link to get a 4 week free trial. (it's a referral link & if you use it, I could get some free time added to my subscription)
#4 If you live in Canada, you can also enter for your chance to win a FREE 1-year subscription! One of my readers will win it! (Just enter by filling out the rafflecopter form below)
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Disclosure: I am part of the Kidoodle.TV blogger program with Mom Central Canada and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.