Recently my 11 month old daughter started doing this funny little move where she puts the back of her hands together and then moves her arms outward like she’s swimming the breaststroke. It’s a very cute little bit of motion, but I had no idea where she learned it from.
Until one day she did it while watching television with her Dad and we realized that she was mimicking one of the characters on a children’s show we let her watch sometimes. It was all very cute, and we ooed and awed over her brilliance as only parents can.
But then reality sank in and I realized that my precious little baby had turned from a cooing face sleepily peaking out from the safety of my arm to a fully fledged toddler sponge, ready to absorb any bit of information that comes her way… no matter what it is.
I’d always planned on limiting her exposure to television, and one of the first steps we took was to opt out of having commercial TV and to only watch things that could be acquired without advertisements (DVDs, Netflix etc.), but now it’s time to really step it up and examine what sort of media is right for her and our family. Where I used to happily watch anything that didn’t portray violence or disturbing noises now I have to wonder if the unhealthy female insecurities of my favorite guilty pleasure dramas are going to soak right into my little girl’s brain and have negative affects on her in the future, or if the drunken, thoughtless sex implied by college kids in the latest witty comedy is going to lay a ground work for promiscuity and low self-esteem.
The more I think about it the harder it becomes to figure out where to draw the healthy line. I want to shelter her from things she’s to young to be introduced to, but I don’t want her to grow up naïve of what the world can actually be like.
And in all honesty I think it will be better for all of us to cut back on the drama and entertainment of other peoples fictional lives and focus more on nature and wildlife documentaries that allow us to expand our knowledge and nurture our interest in this planet.