We don't own a TV. We had one when we moved here, but we never set it up, so we gave it away. Besides, we're not going to pay for cable, and with just an antenna we could only pick up Spanish language stations. (Although I know that would be a great way to learn some Spanish. But do I really want to learn a language by watching Mexican soap operas?)
That said, we're not entirely anti-TV. Guthrie gets to watch movies on a DVD player or the computer, and Turner has been watching with him some lately. Guthrie also LOVES to play on the computer.
A couple weeks ago I started letting him play the games and watch the videos of Word World, a show on PBS. He loves it. And he's started wanting to write his letters and spell out words since he's been watching the show. We have a big table (it was actually a bed frame, but now it's a low table) that Eric and Guthrie painted with chalkboard paint, and we clear that off and take turns writing words. He wrote his name on the Valentine he sent Grandma.
I still wasn't sure how much he was learning, and how much of it was just recognizing the words he'd seen on the show, though, and how much he really "got" sounding words out.
Turner has been in a stage for awhile where he FREAKS OUT if I go to the bathroom. I can leave the house without him, and he will stay home with Eric just fine, but if he hears me saying I'm going to the bathroom he'll start crying and won't let me out of his sight. A little while ago, I told Eric I was going to go off to the P-O-T-T-Y, spelling it out so Turner wouldn't know and would let me pee in peace.
As I was walking that direction I heard Guthrie saying "po-t-t-ee" and sounding it out. "POTTY!" He announced. "You're going to the potty!"
And so, from someone who doesn't even own a TV set, and hasn't had cable in over 6 years, evidence that it CAN do some good.
But I don't want to think about the fact that he's not even 4 yet, and we're already past the stage where we can spell out words when we don't want him to know what we're talking about!!!