Updated: Oct 15
Why do our kids want to watch the same thing over and over again?!
This is a common scenario I hear about that can lead to struggle over screen time. Your kid wants to watch that same netflix episode, the same anime, the same you tube show over and over and over again. What felt possibly beneficial the first, second, or even third time through starts to feel like a waste of time. What on earth could they be getting out of repeated watching??
Here are 3 reasons why your kids might want to watch the same thing over and over again!
Some of us are not a huge fan of adrenaline. We don't like jump scares, and we don't like surprises. We might go so far as to look up the endings to movies just so we can sit back and relax, knowing what's already going to happen. When you watch the same show over and over again, there can be such comfort in knowing exactly what will happen. It's predictable and secure. In a world that tends to give kids very little control, knowing exactly what is happening in the show can help decrease anxiety.
2. Ability to notice & analyze
I remember taking a lighting design class in college and was absolutely gobsmacked by how much control over my attention the lighting designers had! I had the same realization when I took costume design! TV shows are created to draw our attention to specific things so purposefully - through editing, cinematography, lighting, the colors they are wearing...everything. The first time you watch something, you tend to be completely at the mercy of Main Thing They Want You To See. On every subsequent viewing, you are able to look around more and more. You can notice the set, notice the background characters, notice the other costumes, the details, the errors, the music, the staging, the everything. So it's kind of a misnomer to say you're watching the *same* thing each time - when you are able to see so many new things!
That's also what it takes to really think critically about something! How many times have I told my college students -- reading your textbook one time is the FIRST stage of studying! Now you need to read it again! Ask questions about it! Talk about it with other people! Read it yet again! Integrate it! Watching something multiple times gives you the ability to analyze knowledgeably!
3. Frees up just enough mental space to focus on other things
I watch a lot of TV, but I don't ONLY watch a lot of TV. I really love having the noise, I like story lines, I like the things I mentioned above -- but one of the big pieces is that I need a certain amount of things happening around me for me to focus. A quiet library? No thank you. A coffee shop full of ambient conversation and people to look at? That's my sweet spot! TV shows can fulfill the same purpose - distracting the part of my brain that requires distracting so the other part can focus! But that doesn't work if it's a new show that requires too much of my mental processing power! It's a delicate balance! Re-watching something also gives the opportunity to drift off into thought because you don't need to stay too present for the show. It's like a jumping off point for daydreaming, brainstorming, exploring, processing... all important things. It also means I can do other things - like crochet, write (ahem) a blog post (watching Bluey at the moment, in case you were wondering), household tasks, you name it.
Roya Dedeaux is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with several decades of working with teens and their families. She especially loves to work with homeschoolers and folks who feel like they don’t quite “fit the mold.” She is also the author of Connect with Courage: how to release fear and find joy in the places your kids take you. Check out her work, webinars, games, and other projects at www.royadedeaux.com
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