My kids do almost all their TV watching on our computer, in the car, or in a hotel room TV when we travel. Which means that I hear everything they watch, and I have to say I love the shows they choose. My six-year-old's favorite shows are iCarly and Jessie. He watches each episode ten times, which means I hear each episode ten times.
And you know what? I rarely get sick of the episodes. I'm fascinated by how much he learns about how the world works from these shows.
First of all, we live on a farm, isolated from a lot of what city kids take for granted, like running into each other at a store. Also, since we homeschool, my son doesn't know the basics of school life, like that everyone has a locker. So a lot of what he learns is how to understand the experience that most kids his age are having that he is not. And he's very curious.
He hears tons of new words and asks me. He said, "What does crotchety mean?" I told him. Then I realized, listening to an episode one day, that a character in iCarly was using it as a pun.
I said, "Do you know why they think that's funny?"
He said, "No. Why?"
I said, "Because crotch is a word for the area where your genitals are."
He rewound to that part again, listened, and then laughed really hard.
The show iCarly is about making videos, and I don't think it's a coincidence that after my son started watching iCarly, he started making his own videos on our computer and uploading them to his YouTube channel.
The show Jessie is about kids who stay home all week with a nanny (Jessie) and a butler while their parents are off working. I like that my son sees that kids live this way. It's how really rich kids live. I think he should have a frame of reference for rich NYC kids and just-getting-by farm kids. It's having a broad understanding of the world.
There's a great article on Prevent Disease titled, The Most Empowered Kids will be Deprogrammed and Deschooled. Of course, I loved the article. But something that struck me was the statement that IQ accounts for only 20% of our success in life. The rest is emotional intelligence. I think these shows are providing great opportunities for my son to understand how other people live.