Whilst TV screen time isn’t the best thing for kids, there’s no escaping the fact that it will be part of their lives (bar living on a deserted island). So, as well as working out the best amount of screen time for them, you need to determine what the best way for them to watch TV is as well. This is especially true now that we have the option of both live TV channels and streaming services like Amazon Prime and Netflix.
In the 16-Bit household, we currently have FreeSat, NowTV and Netflix, so there’s a good amount of choice there. However, myself and Mrs. 16-Bit tend to prefer watching Netflix over the others. The questions is, though, when it comes to kids’ TV, is something like FreeSat better, or does Netflix still take the crown?
Choose What You Watch or Follow A Programme?
One of the major sticking points for myself and Mrs. 16-Bit is the whether it is better to choose which cartoons and kids’ shows our punk rock princess watches, or let her digest what the TV channels decide to show. On one hand, the variation of shows that you get from live TV like FreeSat can be better… This is because of the different creative styles of the shows, and the different messages they send across.
However, the other aspect of that is the fact that our daughter doesn’t actually like all of the shows on the channels. So, when you turn it on, there may not be anything she wants to see on the screen. In that case, we then switch over to Netflix and put on one of her favourite shows; My Little Pony, Maya The Bee, Pocoyo, True & The Rainbow Kingdom or Earth to Luna.
The issue here is that, when most kid’s shows only last a few minutes, she ends up effectively binge-watching the same thing for a few episodes. So, it’s a catch 22 situation in many ways.
Creativity Versus Enjoyment
The other aspect of the argument, as mentioned before, is that live TV shows expose our daughter to a huge variety of different styles of creativity in a short space of time. This just isn’t the case when you are watching Netflix. Watching multiple episodes of the same show only portrays that particular creative style.
But again, the issue comes back to the enjoyment. What’s the point in forcing different creative styles in front of my daughter is she gets bored or irritated by what is on the TV?
Honestly, most of the time I choose her entertainment over exposing her to different art styles, but I’m not sure that’s always the best option…
Why Can’t We Have Both?
In the end, we haven’t been able to get to a decision ourselves as to which is better for our daughter? It’s an ongoing debate we have, but I think it really boils down to one fact; both are great in their own right. That’s why we have the three different ways to watch TV. Netflix itself is absolutely amazing, but for our daughter, having a mix is necessary for her development as well. At least, that’s what we have come to think.
What about you guys? What’s your opinion of live TV versus streaming your child’s favourite shows on Netflix? Let me know in the comments below!