Tag Archives: Family

Does Co-Viewing = Helicopter Parenting?

15 Mar

I came upon an article today in the Wall Street Journal called, A Field Guide to the Middle-Class U.S. Family. It outlines the research of Elinor Ochs at UCLA. Dr. Ochs is an anthropologist who, along with her team, set up a bunch of cameras and observers in homes to study the American Family. (That thought alone gave me shivers… I can only imagine how intrusive it would be for a family to be observed all the time, in daily routines!) The results are now in: We American, middle-class parents are leading child-centered households, where kids reign over our every move.

That point is not too surprising to me, but it did hit a nerve. It made me think about my own style of parenting, and my need to help my kids in every single way. Yes, I’m picking up after their messes, helping them cut their food, making weekend entertainment decisions based on what they would like. So I guess… that makes me a “helicopter parent”. (Pause here to let my reluctant tone set in.) But it also got me thinking about our family’s digital and media life, and my obsession with co-viewing and co-playing. There, too, our viewing and playing together is always based on the kids’ choice. Is this also “helicopter parenting“?

Part of it is about engaging in appropriate material with my children. For example, I’m not going to let my preschoolers take a turn in my very competitive Scrabble game via my iPhone app. I’m also not going to let my children co-view “Glee” with me. They are simply too young to engage in this kind of content. But that basically means that our co-viewing and co-playing come down to their own interests and content made for them.

So, dear readers, please help me out here. Do you think that co-viewing is a form of “helicopter parenting”? And if so, does it bother you to recognize that it is? Please comment!

A family that plays together… stays together!

27 Sep

Oh blog… how I’ve neglected you! Not that I ever forgot about you (who could forget what joyous times we spent together in cafes while I was looking for a full-time job, just a year ago!) – it’s just that… well, things get in the way. But I promise to be better. Or at least try harder. I want this relationship to work!

Loyal readers of the Co-Viewing Connection know that I have a very busy life, which includes an awesome full-time job working at the Institute of Play, as well as two adorable preschool twins and a husband who provide me with never-ending adventures in the evenings and on weekends. I have been tagging some great blog post items left and right for months, but never seem to get to them. (To see most of them, feel free to follow  me – “Covert Coviewer” – on Twitter.)

One interesting find, however, definitely deserves some special attention. Family Gamer TV is a new series devoted to parents co-playing with kids. I watched their pilot episode, and found myself entranced.  

What a fabulous idea! I love the idea of a (relatively) newbie parent connecting to an experienced gamer to learn about great new games and gadgets. I also like that these dads took into account the ages of the kids to play with. Andy Robertson is a likeable host and I’m going to stay tuned for more… as should you!

Movie Nights With Teens

16 Dec

Fam mov nghtI love hearing new ideas on how to co-view with families. If you have teenagers and would like to find a way to stay connected to your kids (and discuss some touchy topics), Movie Night is a great option! This recent article in USA Today provided some wonderful tips. I recommend you read the whole article, but in essence, it described how movies can open up conversations that parents want to have with their kids. The article advised parents to go to sources like Common Sense Media to find age-appropriate films, to talk about risqué or violent material if you are watching together, and to never force a teen to watch with you. They also recommend introducing your children to “classic” films at an early age, as the slow-style of these films may take some getting used to. (I don’t happen to agree with that, but it couldn’t hurt to try.) What do you think? Anyone else have any tips out there to make Movie Night a success with teens?

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