When Quentin gets some TV time, he pretty much wants to dominate the remote control. Fiona will do her best to fight him for it, but most often she loses. Just like a guy, I think. But is it? His viewing behaviors are pretty fascinating. Here are three reasons that distinguish Quentin from your average 5-year-old in his television habits:
1. Quentin likes the news. A lot. He has enjoyed news programs from a young age. I’ve been trying to parse this out why for a long time now. One reason might be that we actually watch the news a lot, and when he was little we used to watch “ABC World News” before his bedtime. (To this day, he has had a particular affection for George Stephanopolous, who is no longer anchoring the show, but does still appear from time to time.) Beyond the news habit of my husband and mine, I think Quentin likes the fact that people in news broadcasts look right at you, through the camera. They give you eye contact. They are (generally) fairly good-looking people. And when you get to a weather person, there is all kinds of cool animation and effects going on in the background. The opening sequences are filled with trumpet music and a grand display of the logo. What more could make my highly-visual sensory-seeking, logo-loving boy happier? Yes, Quentin still watches children’s programming on channels like PBS, Nick Jr. and Disney Junior – but news shows and new channels are his go-to if he’s not excited by those.
2. Quentin likes commercials. I know what you are thinking… you are thinking that this is NOT unusual among small kids; most kids do love to watch commercials. (Heck, “Sesame Street” was originally created because researchers observed that children paid more attention to commercials than the actual show. For those of you who did not know that, this is why the show has fast-paced segments and a tagline at the end of the show that says something like “‘Sesame Street’ was brought to you today by the letters F and Q and the number 5.”) But with Quentin, commercial ads bring something that he especially loves – corporate logos! If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you already know of my boy’s distinctive fascination with them.
3. Quentin knows how to hit rewind, fast-forward, and pause on the remote. He particularly likes to rewind and watch something he loves over and over again. To give you an idea of what this looks like, I made a quick video of him doing this. Here, he was watching a PBS Kids show that ended, but got very excited about the interstitial clip he saw. He actually LOVES these public services announcements by a group called Parenting Counts. (I, personally, find the little episodes to be patronizing in nature, but understand that Quentin does not have a parental perspective here.) I think he likes these videos because they show a certain reality that he is familar with – emotions going awry, families in everyday moments, etc. Anyway the video I shot is not the best. I’m a bit embarrassed that you can see our living room is a mess and Quentin is actually in underwear… but I think it clearly demonstrates that Quentin has a good control over content that he loves. He is able to rewind to the exact beginning of the clip to watch it again.
He probably watched the opening moments of this interstitial about a dozen times before growing tired of it. Giggling all the way, I might add.
So there you have it – the reasons why Quentin is not your average TV viewer. I’m sure his habits will evolve, but this is what’s going on right now. Do you have a special needs child with bizarre TV-viewing habits? Please feel free to comment!