Leelee Sobieski Says (Mostly) No TV, Computer for Lewi

05/29/2011 at 05:00 PM ET
Johns PKI / Splash News Online

Leelee Sobieski is all about live and let learn.

Opting to skip the educational shows and specialized computer programs for babies, the actress wants daughter Louisanna ‘Lewi’ Ray to gain knowledge the old-fashioned way — and, for the most part, without technology.

“No Baby Einstein and no anything else,” Sobieski told PEOPLE Monday at the Volkswagen and Museum of Modern Art partnership dinner.

“Right now she watches this one song called “The Elephant Song” on the computer. It’s paper cut-outs that are animated so it’s more like a cartoon. And then she watches a five minute clip … of The Red Balloon — the French short film. And that’s it.”

Sobieski, 28, is aware “you have to be a part of the times,” however she is striving to strike a balance between modern day wonders while still allowing 17-month-old Lewi to enjoy her childhood.

“I don’t want her to not be able to talk with her friends about what’s going on, but I really want to encourage the reading and the playing,” she explains. “A lot of kids now in New York I see can open an iPhone before they can even walk practically. [They do] the finger slide.”

Still, notes Sobieski — the disciplinarian of the family — saying, ‘No,’ to her baby girl isn’t always so easy, especially for husband Adam Kimmel.

“I really want to share in the disciplinary status, but I feel that my husband’s heart [can’t handle it] — not that mine doesn’t melt! It’s really hard for me,” she says. “I just want to love and spoil her, but I know that a little bit of discipline is good in the long run.”

— Anya Leon with reporting by K.C. Baker

FILED UNDER: News , Parenting

Share this story:

Your reaction:

Add A Comment

PEOPLE.com reserves the right to remove comments at their discretion.

Showing 90 comments

mem on

I understand where she is coming from. When I was a kid there was no Internet, and I wasnt allowed to watch t.v that often either…we read a lot of books and basically played outside a ton!! Kids nowadays are different. Sometimes I have to push my kids to go play outside. I think a balance is important. Technology is the way of the times and kids are going to succeed in life if they are knowledgeable about computers. However, it is also important to limit their time on devices and encourage reading real books, not e-books!!

Appreciate on

How’s the view from up on that high horse?

amw on

shes sounds pretty normal and has a good head on her shoulders for mothering. she seems to be working on the balance of what is too much and not enough. good for her.

jx on

Ohhh just go ahead and try and keep computers from your daughters hands. My ex has tried this and it failed big time. My son was so out of touch with his school mates and others that he was laughed at. Did your parents stop you from watching films and tv? Apparently not as you have chosen to tread that tired path. What a control freak you are. UGGGH. There is such a little cult of New York overbearing mothers who think they can shut out the modern era. If they didn’t do it then it’s not okay for their kids.

NikNak on

Disciplining your child is loving them. It’s a part of teaching them how to be good people. Once people really start looking at it that way, I’m sure it would be a lot easier.

I hate to see parents who practically let anything their children do slide, in hopes of not upsetting them. You have to look at these things from the bigger picture. How do you want them to be as adults? You are raising them to be adults one day.

breckgia5 on

I think this is a personal choice that every parent has to make for themselves. Personally, I allow my 22 month old daughter to watch tv on a daily basis–Sesame Street at 7am after we’ve had breakfast, and then a video after dinner. I have no guilt about my choice, but I understand parents who choose to keep the TV off for their children.

I remember reading a blog on here when my daughter was about 6 months old. Some Moms were commenting that they wouldn’t give their babies any snacks with sugar, not even Cheerios (which have like 1 gram of sugar per serving, way less than fruit even!) and I remember thinking it was SO extreme. But as I continue on my own journey as a parent, I realize that each parent has reasons and personal views that will shape their child, even if it is in small ways. So, to each is own. One of the most detrimental things that we can do as parents is to judge each other.

mrscabrera on

I agree with her about all the computerized educational programs and tv programs. I want my children to learn how we learned as kids. We had sesame street but mostly we read books, listen to records and tapes, (I was born in ’82), and use other non technological ways of learning (flashcards, games). The daycare I worked at we used those methods but many of the kids seemed to really enjoy the half hour a day of tv we gave them to the point of crying when it was over. These kids were of the same parents who seemed to hate that we even allowed tv, but it turned out they had it all along at home. I think computer/tv are helpful but I want to teach my kids the old fashioned way first before they learn computers, because they will catch onto that quickly anyway, as most kids do.

metoo on

What a great mother! I wish more parents would disconnect their kids from TV and electronics. Kids need to learn to play by themselves, without TV or phones or computers. Mine play with Legos, trains, coloring books, empty food boxes…all while dinner is being made, vacuuming, folding laundry…

Shawna on

LOL! Yeah right, we’ll see how long that lasts once Lewi is older. And once she has more kids. I had the same ideals when I only had one child under the age of 2 but that changed pretty quickly when #2 and #3 came along! It’s so cute when first-time moms say they will never do this or they will always do that. I just smile to myself and say sure, okay, whatever.

Shannon on

I dont’ have enough money for a nanny so sometimes, spongebob watches my kids. I wish these people would get over themselves!!!

sky on

good luck with that. unfortunately, tv/movie media branding is all over the place (clothes, plates, toys, bedding, etc.) and hard for a child to avoid. it just makes the child more curious to watch the tv show/see the movie.

Sandy on

I disagree Shawna, I have three children and none of them had TV before the age of 2 – at all, not even a glimpse of it. Thereafter, they have a DVD on Friday evenings and can watch half an hour on each weekend day. None during the week and we record their programmes in commercial-free times so no ads. They often watch old-fashioned programmes, as they are edited SO much slower – many of today’s programmes are too fast-paced and noisy for little brains. It’s like diet, you just make a decision about what is best for your child and their health and happiness and your family, and work it out.

Rose on

Shawna: Leelee didn’t say she would “always” or “never” do anything. She just stated how she does things now. And just because you let the quality of your parenting drop with each child doesn’t mean everyone does. The same rules and standards have applied in our house from kid # 1 though kid # 4. It amuses me deeply when people like you use having more than one child as an excuse for the way you raise your children. If you can’t manage to raise # 2 and 3 as well as you raised # 1 then perhaps you have too many kids.

J on

A lot of parents do follow through though Shawna. I smile to myself at the poopooers like you who have no faith. It’s so cute (as you say) when the know it alls think they can foresee other’s actions.

Margaret on

It’s quite simple to make rules such as, “no TV” and “no sugar” when you have chose to have nannies raising your kids part or much of the time. Try staying home full time and doing all the cooking, cleaning and child rearing…

Cristina on

Good for her! I will be having my first child next month and plan on leaving out television and computers. Let children enjoy their childhood, explore, and use their imagination. Television deprives them of that. I’ve been hearing it from co-workers, even my parents say– you’ll see that you will need the television especially when you are trying to cook or clean… well I disagree. Children can easily be self-motivated and self engage themselves in activities, but this needs to be thought and modeled from a young age 🙂

Elisabeth on

Yes, Shawna…

Many of us are PERFECTLY capable of following through. Mine are 5 and 6– do the math on close ages, which is not an easy task.

They don’t play computer games or visit “educational” sites. We do not have TV, only videos. And it’s one video a day. No smart phones or ipads, either. We’re in the car or waiting somewhere? Color or read a book. We get comments in waiting rooms about how well-behaved they are.

And…let me tell you…these two can entertain themselves like no other children can.

Just because you couldn’t stick to your guns doesn’t mean another mother can’t.

Dee on

My son is only 10 month old already has this DEFIANT streak in his lil behind and trust me there are times when I want to SCREAM especially when you move him from one thing and he keeps going after it over and over and over and over and over….OMG drives me nuts!!!!

So I have to be the disciplinarian and you know what….somedays I feel like an absolute witch but when my husband comes home and lets him slide for doing something bad….I feel justified in putting my foot down with boundaries so I can totally understand where Leelee is coming from.

As for parenting dvds and such, I just do my own thing and when my nost, pushy and obnxious family get in my face about my child rearing I simply pick and choose what to listen to and apply them to my situation otherwise I just ignore them….hahaha (come on, some of you do too…lol)

Nicole on

I completely agree with LeeLee! Your child will turn out fine! 🙂

alicejane on

I think her viewpoint is great. Nowhere does she say that she is always going to limit her daughter’s intake of TV or the computer like she does now. She clearly states that she knows technology is a big part of today’s world and she wants Lewi to be able to relate to other kids when it comes to technology. But seriously, what 1.5 year old needs to watch TV daily or play on their parents’ computer or iPad or iPod? It’s insane how so many kids are so much more comfortable using these devices than they are using their imaginations. Leelee doesn’t say anywhere in this interview that TV and technology is evil and bad and Lewi will never have any part in it. People need to quit making mountains out of molehills.

Indira on

It’s not like her daughter is 10 or 11 and starting to write essays and needs to do research. A 17month old has no reason to be on a computer or a phone, at all. Period.

Chrisi on

My son doesn’t watch TV (he’s 4.5) and there’s no nanny etc. around. It’s EASY though, for a simple reason: We don’t watch TV either and we don’t even have one. Not to say we don’t watch movies on the laptop in the evening sometimes. It’s a lifestyle choice with far reaching consequences for everyone in the house. There is no doubt in my mind that he will be just as quick and good and savvy with technology later on as anybody else his age. For right now though we feel that’s not what he needs. What he comes up with in play on his own is so much more imaginative then any tv program could ever think up for him and plant in his mind – it’s always age appropriate and naturally commercial free.

Patricia on

TV or no TV .. as long as you are aware of what your child is learning then do what you want. I don’t want my kids in front of a TV all day so they are limited on their TV time and so are Mommy and Daddy. Besides, Lewi is too young to understand exactly what Mommy does as work so not having a TV where she can see people bash her mom is a good thing, don’t you think?

newmom on

I completely agree with Leelee actually. There are some studies that link computer and tv usage among children under the age of 3 to autism. My child will have plenty of time to learn about computers etc when it is older, from now until 3 there is nothing wrong with the old-fashioned methods.

Sounjirah on

I think tv and/or movies inn moration is ok. A dvd on a long car ride is wonderful for a three year old…trust me, it’s a God-send on a three hour trip. Now,making tv “the babysitter” on a regular basis is wrong. I think some media is good but it’s very important to take them outside, play with blocks or do crafts etc….there is something that one on one to time with mom and dad doing activities accomplishes that sitting in front of the tv (no matter how educational a show is) can’t.

Dawne on

I didn’t even know she had a daughter…

Limiting TV is fine, but this is going too far in the other direction. She can’t even watch educational TV? Neither extreme is going to be good for this kid – it’s bad enough she has a misspelled state for a name. If her daughter turns out to be a visual learner, she’d benefit from seeing things like the alphabet displayed in front of her.

M on

I’m not too uptight about these things, but completely agree that a 17 month old has no business watching TV! Most children that age have no interest in it beyond five minutes–they want to explore! I have a nineteen month old, a four year old, and a five year old. The four and five year old watch a movie or video during an hour or so of “quiet time” during the day, if we are home and while the little one is napping. Sometimes I have appropriate “grown-up” television on while I cook or clean and they color, paint, or read. Instead of setting a minute-limit on TV time, which I think can cause kids to go more crazy over it, I follow my gut and make sure that they have exercised, played outside, been creative, and read each day as well. I also monitor their reactions to television. If they ever seem upset when the TV goes off (almost never), I take that as a sign that they are getting a little too complacent and we leave it off for a few days or get more creative in our crafts.

Merrilyn on

We recently cut out all TV and computer time for our 2 kids (ages 3 and 6), and we are very happy with our choice. They weren’t watching a lot to begin with (30 min. to an hour a day, and it was limited to DVDs or something from onDemand to avoid commercials), but we were having some behavior issues, and this was a consequence. It’s been several weeks now, and I don’t think we will ever go back to letting them watch every day, or even every week. It’s not the easiest thing in the world, and I have really had to step up my game, but the benefits really outweigh any aggravation or annoyance.

Angela on

To each their own. I am a TV lover and a successful business owner. My children watch educational TV programs. My three-year-old daughter can read and knows words in five languages, and my two-year-old son has known his alphabet for months and is able to count to 20 forward and backward. I work from home and work with them to make everything a learning experience, but I certainly see no problem with educational TV programs or computer games.

ecl on

The APA recommends that children under 2 watch NO tv. All of you who let your children watch tv seem awfully defensive. If you think it’s ok, then get over it. And Dawne, if her kid is a visual learner, they can look at a book. I let my 2 year old watch tv almost every day because it helps me get stuff done, but I certainly think limited to no tv is better.

laura on

I am so tired of children be raised by the television. Congrats to Leelee but I say shut it all off. Television only leads to an overweight and dumbed down child.

Ashley on

You see more cases of autism today, more unruly kids, more defiant kids, more “I’m bored” kids. Tv and computers must be partially to blame for this. Really technology today in general. Did you have all this junk when you were a kid? No. Are you horrible because you didn’t have it? I’d say not. When I was a child I played outside from morning until dinner time, then after dinner we’d head out until dark. If you said you were bored, your parents gave you something to do. I was spanked until I was old enough for taking things away to be effective. I didn’t have a cell phone until I had a job and car. I never watched educational videos. My mom never worried about whether I should sleep on my back or belly as a baby. I’m so glad I grew up in simpler times. I had a real childhood and when I finally have kids of my own they will too. No need for a baby to watch tv, no need for a child to have Sponge Bob as a babysitter. Books or coloring can be a baby sitter. Have a fenced in yard? Let that be the baby sitter. Moms today put more on themselves than needed be. Limit the activities your kids are involved in. Don’t feel like you have to do everything. My mom was my brother’s den mother and my brownie troop leader, but she never made it an inconvenience, we had dinner at the table every night. As a family. Sorry this became such a rant, but I really agree with Leelee Sobieski on this, no need for a child that young to be in front of a tv or computer all the time.

Sara on

Parenting advice from someone called Leelee?

jen on

Just read about a guy who invented Open Feint (a social gaming network) and sold it for $104 million. He’s 26. He credits his parents for not limiting his gaming time.

Also, kids always want what their parents limit. If you truly want to lose the appeal, then let them go through a phase where they’re constantly connected. B/c if you don’t, they’ll just do it when they’re in college or their twenties anyway. Get it over with while they’re young – faster way to a truly balanced life.

TamIAm on

Like anything with my daughter, I believe in moderation. I limit her TV, but there are some times when I do use it. She’s into everything, so I usually rely on a video when I’m making dinner. And while I belive free play is extremely valuable, she also learned a great deal of signing from Baby Einstein videos, which has enhanced her communication skills and my ability to understand her. Besides that, I rarely have the TV on during the day, however I won’t pretend it isn’t a valuable resource when used appropriately.

Marky on

I had 9 children aged 10 and under (bio, adopted, and foster), and we didn’t even own a TV for a long time. I prepared home-cooked meals from our garden, and baked all our bread, one of our children was very disabled and required PT 3x a day at home, but I managed to play with them and teach them to read, do arts and crafts, and teach them to play outside with each other. Get real– shows such as Sesame Street may be fun, but they teach children that everything has to be quick and fun, fun, fun. Children go to school and they don’t even know how to sit in their seat and listen to the teacher; they believe it’s fine to talk constantly and disrupt not only the teacher, but other students, and they don’t pay attention to anything more than 5 minutes. I know this isn’t true for all children, but it is true for a great number–ask any teacher. I volunteer in schools all the time and I see it every day.

Leelee has every right to raise her daughter however she chooses, and so do you, but why do any of you feel the burning need to be so critical of her choices?

Marky on

I’ve got grandchildren that hardly know what it is to play outside, and they are elementary school kids! They are so busy with IPad, game machines, and talking on their cell phones, they don’t know what it is to just play. What drives me crazy is the constant cry of, “I’m bored!” coming out of their mouths. They hardly know how to play at a park, but when I was a kid, we thought it was so much fun to be outside and ride our bikes, skate, and play sports. These children don’t even know how to skate, and some can’t even ride a bike because they are on electronics all day.

vangie de jesus on

so true….kids nowadays spend more time playing with their gadgets than talking with each other….

Simon on

She was okay in that one movie twelve years ago.

Jessica Dreese on

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with what she’s doing, but who are you all to judge others? My three year old niece watches educational television, and she’s incredibly smart. She also loves playing outside and learning. Some of you just like to whine about anything and everything you can.

T.U.M on

I’m with Angela. At 18 months my son knew how to count to 15, knew all shapes & colors, had a vocab in 3 different languages & many other milestones reserved for much older children. People were always complimenting him on his intelligence for his age. Guess what? I let him watch t.v!

Now that he’s 3, he knows how to operate my Mac (to use disney.com for games & youtube for songs/sesame st) and use my Smartphone to download apps and songs. Before I read this thread, I felt so proud that my son was smart enough to use this type of technology (especially since my husband is a technology-phobe!)
Now I feel so judged and feel like I should be ashamed. But you know what? I’m not. He is a very well-behaved, social kid, who spends most of his time out & out exploring the world, or by reading or listening/singing/dancing to music. So if he wants to relax by watching a movie or by playing a computer game once a day. I will let him.

I’m so sick of all the holier than though mothers on internet forums.

Loosen up a little.

may on

I raise my child in a certain way that I feel is right. I wouldn’t dream of telling someone they are doing anything wrong or damaging unless it was in any way abusive. We parent our kids our way, and just as I choose not to judge another…I wouldn’t want judgement when doing what I feel is right. There’s no owners manual, we learn as we go. Some thoughts are set in stone…while others change. The reason every person is unique and offers the world a different set of skills and traits are because of how we’re raised…all differently.

Let’s put all this energy into our beautiful children, and not on a strangers parenting abilities when all we know of them are what’s written on a celebrity blog. 🙂

Kudos to leelee for putting what she feels is best into her childs life. True sign of a loving mother.

T.U.M on

To the other Ashley.

I too had many preconceived notions about mothering before I actually became one. One day when you have a kid dear, you will realise that most of us do the best we can to be able to produce wonderful, well-adjusted kids & to survive the process!

Most women are doing what they can to raise happy & healthy children.
Who cares whether one chooses to let her’s watch TV or the other drives her’s around in the car so that he/she can fall asleep? Not one mother out there is perfect. Even though some of you would beg to differ 😉

Unless a mother is straight out abusing or neglecting her child/children, then her way of raising them is ok with me!

Mandy on

She sounds like she REALLY loves her daughter and wants her to grow up physically and mentally balanced. I think it’s great!

I’ve said the same thing about balance and I think each parent should choose their own unique style that they feel will most benefit their child. After all, most parents just do the best they can.

There is no simple answer to what is right or wrong in raising a child.

Jennifer on

My kids are 5 & 2 and have enjoyed Sesame Street, a few baby einstein DVDs and love Dora & Diego. They also LOVE being outside (it is so hard trying to get them to come in for bathtime!), doing crafts, playing with their toys and using their imaginations to come up with fun games. I cook most of their meals…and buy organic and homegrown when I can, but they do enjoy occasional treats such as ice cream. It is all in MODERATION.

I grew up watching a few cartoons and loved Little House on the Prairie when I was a little girl….and I think I turned out just fine.

Leelee, to each her own…but, sometimes…moderation is the key and I am sure she would be just fine.

Mari on

I always find it funny how defensive some moms here get and lash out at parents who choose to not let their kids watch tv (much).

Personally, I think many parents use the excuse that “your opinion will change as soon as you have more than one” or “I don’t have a nanny”.

I don’t think it is bad to let your kid(s) watch tv from time to time, but not on a daily basis and you don’t need a nanny for that or if you do, you should re-think your parenting.

We are living in a community where almost every family has more than 1 kid. We are having four (two sets of twins) and yes it works with not letting the kids watch tv.

Mary on

I was born in ’92, and so of course we had TV, movies etc. However not that much. I played board games, card games, read books, learned math, (on an abacus, BTW) geography using a globe. I never felt deprived because if I wanted to watch TV, I could, it’s just that there was so many more fun things to do instead.

Ashley on

I wish everyone would stop jumping down Shawna’s throat. I have 3 kids, myself, and I know how hard it is. I love my children, but it’s impossible for me to devote all of myself to each one of them all the time. And for those of you who insinuated that perhaps she shouldn’t have had so many children….lets hope you didn’t come from a household of more than one child….just think that YOUR parents could have stopped after one child and not gone on to have YOU, just so they could devote all of themselves to just that one. Ha.

Mothers should stop being so judgmental and support each other. No one mother is perfect. There is no “right” way. Everyone is just doing the best they can, and at the end of the day, as long as you love your children, care for their needs, and don’t abuse them in any way, I think that’s good enough.

Violet on

Good for her! I read nothing about her having nannies or thinking she was above anyone else. Talk about reading into things! It has nothing to do with how much money you have, it’s a choice.

She did not say she would never let her daughter watch TV or use the computer, just limit them for as long as she can. I’m trying to do the same.

Jen DC on

She’s not being judgmental – she’s just saying what goes in her house. And frankly, as many people have said, how much TV and computer time does someone who just learned to walk need?

I remember I lost my TV privilege for a year. I read more, played outside more and got my chores done faster and more completely for most of that year and learned to live without it. I was about 11, and for an 11 year old, it was pretty harsh at first. But you adapt. I felt a little outcast because I couldn’t talk about the latest TV show, but it wasn’t overwhelming.

She’s a first time Mom, feeling it out as best she can. She’s done a little reading, she’s looking around her, and she’s making a fairly well-educated choice. I’m sure Lewi will be fine regardless.

CAB on

Wow with the mommy judgment…my kid loves to watch TV, loves it! And guess what…I let her watch it! Gasp…my 6 year old is allowed to watch TV, quick someone call child welfare! I am not going to even defend my statement with all the other things she participates in and does! She is a regular little kid!

KRS on

Jen from DC, I’m dying to know what you could have done at 11 years old to have warranted a year-long sentence! Must have been pretty major – but it sounds like you benefitted from the time. Who knew that Mom and Dad know best after all, huh?

Dee on

While its easy to cast stones at parents who allow their kids to watch television we need to take into account that more and more parents work. It takes 2 incomes to raise a family and sometimes thats still not enough.

Its easy to say parents are lazy etc. but every household situation is different. I grew up in house with the rule of no tv during the week only on weekends and holidays and that was fine with me. My parents were always working but we had a helper but hey we lived in the islands there was always something else to do, kids to play with etc.

These days its different, people aren’t as trusting anymore so the idea that it takes a village took a backseat once videogames and computer games started selling like hotcakes, therefore parents who can barely afford or can afford it gives their kids something to keep them “occupied” and they figure that way they at least know where they are.

My son is 10 months old and ya I put Treehouse on because some days it saves my sanity. I keep the tv on and sometimes the radio when we are home for background noise because I wanted my son to be able to fall asleep and stay asleep with varying degrees of sounds and not in a quiet house. Do I regret that Treehouse is the first thing I turn on when I get up in the morning…NOPE!!!

Does that make me a bad mother because I want something to distract him other than toys? NOPE!!!! Will my kid have autism because he watches tv…I highly doubt it!!!

Donna on

Uh, how does she make a living? Oh, thats right; in movies. So why is she disconnecting her kid from something so similar? Tv, internet, movies, radio are all forms of media. But I guess she’s special.

JMO on

I agree it’s a balance. I would let my kids play on the computer or watch tv but all in moderation. You don’t let your kids sit in front of the tv or play computer/video games for 5 hours you just give them a time limit. I have a cousin who swore up and down her child would NEVER watch tv. At 22 months old she’s learning that an hour of tv is a great down time for mommy! So not that LeeLee will change her ways but her daughter is still young so therefore there probably will come a time where her attitude changes when she needs a little break! 🙂

And btw there are plenty of educational shows dvds kids can watch that imo I’ve seen first hand that they do TEACH.

Jen on

The American Pediatrics Association recommends NO television for children under the age of 2… they are still developing spacial reasoning. So people that are knocking her should back off and learn about what’s healthiest for a baby.

Flo on

It was very entertaining reading all the comments! I think we all need to make our own choices when it comes to raising our children and stick to our guns. After all it is a FREE country.
Personally, I have 4 kids between the age of 5 and 12. Things we were doing with our first one did not always work with the others and we had to adjust at times. We also try to keep up with our times as far as electronics, etc. But we do not just get everything for our kids because their friends have it. We need to remember that kids are kids and we are the parents. Kids do not need to have everything. The other day my 12 year old had a friend over and her friend told her that we probably did not really like her because we did not give her a phone or let her dress in mini skirts like all the other girls at school. Erica answered: “It is BECAUSE they love me that they did not give me those things, besides I do not need them: the school office and my house have phones if I need to get in touch with someone and boys do not need to see my butt!”. I think she is right!

Sarah K. on

The number of posters on here getting so defensive is shocking. You’re acting like Leelee called you all bad mothers. She was talking about how she handles her 1 year old and obviously, babies don’t/can’t watch a lot of tv. She never even says that she bans it or she will never let her use a computer. She very clearly states that she wants her daughter to be able to use technology. Stop acting like everything celebrities say is a direct attack on your parenting.

Lucy on

Ashley, do you really think that autism is caused by watching too much television? It’s a genetic disorder. It changes the way the brain and body work. My sons both have it and I’d believe vaccines, bf, or aliens caused it before I’d believe they got it from watching television. Some children show signs of autism before their first birthday when they couldn’t possibly be watching television. Also to lump a neurological problem with lazy and fat children is insulting. Do you blame women with breast cancer for poor eating habits (might be the cause, after all STUDIES have said so)? No, but you blame television as the reason behind autism. I suspect you think autism is a fake illness and people just use it to get out of work. You know, like lazy and bored kids. Get your head out of your butt and meet some autistic people and you’ll know it is a real illness and not some side effect of television. You’re disgusting and I pray you never have a child with any ailments because you’d probably leave them to die, just to prove they were faking it.

Larissa on

I grew up sitting in front of the tv every morning, as far as I can remember, and so did my siblings! We did not turned out to be autistic! Of course we used to play outside, climb trees, read books and listen to tapes,play games…

If you never encourage your kids, taking them out to the backyard/ park/garden/playgrounds since their little babies, they will take no interest in the outside world and as soon you surround them with gadgets, that is what they will turn to when it comes to play time. It is as simple as that really.

It is every family´s choice how they will raise their kids, but it is very annoying when people get judgmental about it. Every parent knows what works best for their own family but it doesn´t mean your children will be better than others.

Mari on


“And for those of you who insinuated that perhaps she shouldn’t have had so many children….lets hope you didn’t come from a household of more than one child….just think that YOUR parents could have stopped after one child and not gone on to have YOU, just so they could devote all of themselves to just that one. Ha.”

Actually, if my parents weren’t able to devote us the time EVERY child deserves, then yes, she should rather not have me (I am the second of two kids).

I have 4 kids myself and I am working with kids from all kinds of backgrounds and those kids who have the most problems or ar “problem kids” are usually (over 90%) from parents which simply don’t have the time for their kids.

There is the argument that the parents have to go working. Both full time of course, because otherwise they are not able to support the family. Afterwards of course they are to tired to do anything with their kids. Sorry, my opinion in these cases is quite clear. If you can’t afford to give your child/children the childhood he/she/they deserve then you should probably not have those children.

And on the other hand. Kids are happy with such few things if they are not raised to get everything they see within 24hours. So playing with them and spending time with them with activities for free is much better for them, then the parents spending overtime to just get them the newest toys.

Sunny on

I didn’t have computer until after high school and I still read tons of books. I don’t have those itones and phones and etc. People and children are too overloaded with those things. Great ideas for parents with children to get them outside and play. No TVs and computers and more. It’s time for children to get outside and learn how to play with another chhildren in person not on computers or video games such as X-Box. No wonder that many children are not at their ideal weight!

Sally on

While I think a balance is a good thing to strive for, poor Lewi may be missing out on some things too! TV became a staple for our generation and I remember Saturday morning TV (saved by the bell, california dreamin’ etc), these have become cultural staples. She’ll need these things in her life to relate to others later in life.

Marilyn on

I find it ironic that people who are on TV acting and making money that way say no TV for their kids. That’s all.

Sage on

Sara- lol because take advise from someone named Sara is sooo creditable.

I didn’t watch tv or use the internet til I was 13. The reason is because my parents felt that it was the right thing for me. I wasnt cippled, laughed out of school. or socially akward because of it. I actually had time to be a kid, used my imagination, spend more time with my family(than any of my friends), before I became addicted to the tube like most kids(not every kid, but most kids today, lets me honest here)

I say go Leelee, so what she makes a living in films, not everything on tv needs to be seen by kids. Also, there will be people still watching tv so what is th harm done.

Plus my parents knew that computers were important tv wasn’t bad, it was just done with supevision and moderation. They were dictators or selfish at all. Just because we are livng in the modern area that doesn’t mean technolgy show take over our lives. Because guess what people can go with it out.

I’m not saying letting you kid watch tv is wrong. Nor do I judge anyone that chooses to do so because they aren’t hurting their child. So I would hope that you would have the same respect for people that choose not to let their children watch tv.

Krileigh on

Oh bla bla bla TV programs made your child so smart. Whatever.

You know, I think all Leelee is saying is she exercises some parental control..just as all parents do. The degree is up to each individual parent. So why criticize her for the degree she chose? She’s not criticizing you.

JT on

I’m all for parents doing what they feel is best for their kids. But my kids watched a lot of TV (including Baby Einstein) and have used computers since age 3, and they’re both gifted academically, very creative, sociable and happy. Go figure.

That elephant video is really cute. PRetty sure those aren’t paper cut outs, though.

Anonymous on

She’s not saying that her daughter can’t watch any television or get on the computer. I understand what she’s saying. Kids are so addicted to technology that they’ve forgotten how to be kids. Personally, I never used Baby Einstein with my daughter. I read books to her. I think some parents overuse educational programs as a replacement for interacting with their kids. Studies show that talking to your kids and reading to them is better than letting them watch educational programs. I only let my daughter play educational computer games once or twice a week. Otherwise, I like being hands-on in her education process.

Sal on

Anyone else ever wonder if all this ADD and ADHD is from all the TV, Videos and computer use very young kids do today??? Maybe it’s all to much for the developing brain- like over load! It’s something they should study and research. Maybe she is the smart one by avoiding all the available technology we have today. Just because it’s “there” does not make it right or safe for young kids.

Kelly on

Parents are so judgmental of each other it is pitiful. What works for one may not for another. Leelee may have another child later on and decide to do things differently..as parents we adjust to changing times and each child is different. Each situation is different. I do feel kids watch too much TV and have too much “down” time on computers and video games though. Didn’t have all that when I was growing up I actually went outside and played with friends, rode bikes, etc…and I read book after book, listened to records and danced around my room. My grandmother taught me to cook and my mother read to me, took me to parks and the beach. It was different..not better but different. Kids do need to have play time doing things other than video games and TV. technology is a wonderful thing but it does have an affect on growing minds and bodies. The point is…parents do what is best for their family. They are the ones who deal with whatever the outcome. Why say she is acting all high and mighty or holier than thou??

And..as for TV causing autism…how about doing some research before saying something like that. My son has autism…he did not watch very much TV at all as a baby and toddler. My daughter watched more TV at that stage and she does not have autism. TV has nothing to do with it at all. People should think before speaking.

Shir on

Wow Lucy, I get that Ashley’s comment might have been a bit misplaced and probably shouldn’t have been said… But don’t you think that’s a bit harsh? Her comment might have been insulting and hurtful- I’ve worked with autistic children for years, believe me I also felt a twinge of annoyance reading her comment- but her comment was the same type of ignorance as if she would have said “they’re not retarded.” Autism is a real disorder and it’s a heartbreaking one, I agree she should read up on it and know what the true nature of autism is before using it in some childish retort, but at the same time I don’t agree in attacking her as a parent or speaking about her children, neither of which being things you know anything about. You’re simply committing the same fallacy that she did.

Catca on

Umm, LeeLee’s daughter is under 2 years old so what she says she is trying to do is actually what the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends as well. Just because she is trying to be a good mother and instill guidelines doesn’t mean she is judging other parents decisions or is on a “high horse”. The people on the “high horse” would be those of you criticizing her for trying.

Tee on

I am really surprised by some of the comments on here! Yes, educational programs can teach children. But so can adults! Sit down with your kid and read to them, play games with them, do puzzles with them! They learn their numbers, alphabet, colors, shapes, everything like that! Goodness, how do you think children learned before television and videos were so common?

Please don’t misunderstand me. I’m not saying there is something wrong with letting your child enjoy television. I do think that a lot of parents/caregivers use it as a crutch or babysitter, though. Like most everything else in life, moderation is the key.

As for Leelee, her daughter is only one! Lewi doesn’t need screen time right now! She didn’t say that she was would never let Lewi have time with the television or computer later in life. She’s talking about the present and right now her daughter is a toddler!

Sara, your comment made me laugh and saddened me all at the same time. I really hope you were joking.

Shawna, I’m going to have to respectfully disagree with you. Not all parents or caregivers change their rules as they increase the number of children they have. I certainly don’t!

MissMel on

I never understand people that think tv is evil. You don’t realize how many little things kids pick up watching tv.

I was born in 1978 and I watched a LOT of tv and VHS tapes,especially during the winter months when it was too cold to play out side. I learned to speak Spanish watching Sesame Street. I learned the meaning of SCUBA watching “Family Ties” (self-contained underwater breathing apparatus.) When I was in 5th grade I earned an extra homework pass (which entitled you to a night without doing homework) because I was the only one in the class that knew that the opposite of “superior” was “inferior” and I learned that watching Transformers:The Movie. I had rules about what I was permitted to watch and what my mother considered to be adults-only and that was strictly enforced.

Today, tv shows for children are more sophisticated than ever. I babysit a 2-year-old girl a couple of times a week and she watches PBS all morning long. Try watching “Sid the Sciene Kid” or “Dinosaur Train” and I guarantee even the adults here will find themselves learning something they never knew.

AmandaK on

It’s important to set limits for our children, but computers are important to have knowledge of. Just make sure your child is using it within your presence, rather than in a private room. I think she seems like a levelheaded, caring mother though 🙂

babybuggy789 on

My roommate in college grew up in a house where TV wasn’t allowed. Though she was very sweet and smart, she was EXTREMELY naive about everything…relationships, world events, life in general – and she definitely rebelled as soon as she was on her own and got into some crazy stuff. I think there’s something to be said about striking a good balance between watching a little TV here and there (not 4-5 hours a day) and reading and doing “real” activities. It makes for a well rounded, self-discliplined person, in my humble opinion. I think part of her thing was that she was raised in a super strict household, but still – give your children the chance learn to make good decisions on their own.

AW on

I was a nanny for 3 years for a family with 5 children. Most of their afternoons and early evening was spent playing with friends in or out of the house. We didn’t watch the tv very often, and definitely wouldn’t if homework wasn’t done and their rooms weren’t clean or clean enough. It’s hard when there are 5 kids and some of their friends and you’re expected to pick up after them and also plan a meal. As they got older, the boys liked to play video games. They each got an hour playing a video game. It’s all about balance.

Suzanne on

So for those of you saying she’s being a hypocrite by making her living from TV/film and then not allowing her daughter to enjoy it also- if she were a stripper or exotic dancer would you be saying the same thing?!?! Just because that’s her means of making a living doesn’t mean a BABY should be able to have complete and total access to it, no matter what it is. That is just silly and ignorant. She didn’t say once that TV/film were absolutely horrid, she simply stated that she doesn’t feel that a child that young, HER child, should be indulging.

JMO on

I don’t know maybe I’m in the minority but I think it’s quite priceless when my 16 month old niece can slide her finger on the phone to turn it on then makes little gestures for us to click on the Talking Tom cat app (yes her favorite)!! We think she’s quite genius knowing how to operate the iphone! Sort of makes you want to turn around to the eye rolling parents and say, “yea what can your baby do?!” lol 😉

Nella on

I think everything is good in moderation! Kids should be kids, they should play outside, do crafts, read, but also watch educational programs or fun kid friendly tv shows/movies! Tv is not evil, you just have to monitor what your kids watch and how often, that’s the key! Every parent decides how to raise their kids and that’s an individual choice that shouldn’t be judged. Leelee has her way of raising her daughter and if it works for them, then good! As long as the parent isn’t harming the child then I think it’s their own choice whether they want to let technology in the children’t lives. From this interview I got that she doesn’t mind some techology, just not a lot. In my opinion people shouldn’t fear technology, they shouldn’t fully depend on it either, but there’s nothing wrong with your child knowing about it as they get older and being technology friendly, it definitely has its benefits.

Jen DC on

@ KRS: I forged Mom’s signature on my report card. The first few weeks were hard, but I got over it and read so many more books and played more outside that year. Now while I do enjoy TV as background noise, I think I am dedicated to about 2 to 3 shows per TV season (which are oddly much shorter than they used to be). I load up on episodes at Hulu or Netflix and then watch them over a couple of weekends.

It *is* all about moderation. But truthfully, Lewi can’t miss what she doesn’t know. Since she’s only 17 months old, I don’t think Leelee’s current ban on TV and electronics is off base. The kid just learned to walk; let her get her socialization skills in at the park with other babies/toddlers and the bulk of her learning from interaction with parents and other caregivers.

@ MisMel: I learned all those things too… from books. And the sophistication of the TV shows is immaterial if at base the problem is the effect TV generally has on developing minds. Most studies suggest that under the age of 22 months, kids learn best from interaction with people.

I don’t think TV is bad and am not an anti-TV crusader by any means. But for a 17 month old, no TV, no computer is a reasonable choice. Again, it seems that Leelee has thought about this and will likely continue to think about it as her toddler develops. She’ll very likely loosen her stance as she recognizes the developmental stages in which TV viewing (still limited) is ok.

Everyone doesn’t have to parent the same way, folks!

Jenna on

TVs and computers over stimulate children. Do some research people… even educational programs… the constantly changing images, colors, noises all overstimulate our children’s brains. Anyone noticed how there are an increased number of ADHD cases in recent years? In correlation to an increased amount of tv watching among small children? In moderation it can be okay… but allowing your child to watch hours of it every day can potentially be harmful to your child.

Jenna on


It is really annoying to read so many comments about people who ASSUME all celebrities have nannies that take care of their child/ren all the time. She never mentioned a nanny so you can’t comment on what you do not really know! Plus, if she has someone that has to watch her child for a certain time during the day, what is the difference in normal people taking their child to a babysitter or daycare?! Someone is taking care of our child for us! uh oh… No to mention, there are many parents who take care of their own children and don’t rely on tv. What do you think mothers did before there was any tv?! They had to cook dinner while their kids entertained themselve… oh no… whatever did they do? sheesh… stop relying on television to babysit your kid. Its okay to allow them a little bit of time… but if you keep it on just to keep your kid quiet so they dont bother you then why did you have a child? You should have known they would be loud, cry, play, run around… thats what they do they are kids!

Alma on

Her eyes are creepy

Lee on

WOW – what’s with the judgemental comments? She doesn’t condemn other moms who let their kids watch TV; she’s simply making a personal decision on how she wants to raise her child for now.

My kids are six and almost five and have until now not been allowed to watch TV or play computer games either. They’re in pre-primary school and are both on par with their class mates. We have recently started to relax the rules a little and they are allowed one DVD programme (still not TV) or National Geographic Kids game per day, and the funny thing is that they prefer to ride their bikes and colour in instead. I know this will change at some stage but I’m allowing them to be kids for as long as they want to.

At the same time, my best friend’s children spend all their time in front of the TV or playing computer games. They DO have the latest gadgets and sport mobile phones (they’re six and eight respectively) and they love technology, but it makes me sad that they don’t know how to entertain themselves when they’re away from home. But you know what? That works for her and she’s made a decision to raise her kids that way. Who am I to judge?

Let’s all try to be a little more tolerant. ADHD and autism are on the rise and worryingly so. But we can’t blame it squarely on TV.

Jenn on

I usually try not to be critical of the celeb moms I see here, because I think everyone just does their best, but comments like this are a little annoying. I just think it comes off a little condescending. I’m not a mom yet, but most of my friends are, and when you don’t have a full-time nanny sometimes plopping them down in front of sesame street or spongebob is the only chance that they get to have a break. If you don’t want your kids to watch tv fine, but don’t try and make everyone else feel lesser than.

tyler on

Is anyone else sick of celebrities saying no tv for their kids? How do you think they get paid? It’s ok for our kids but not theirs??? Just one more celebtrity I won’t be supporting at the movies!

KateZ on

I have two boys that are a year and four days apart… they’re no 4 and 5 and do watch a fair amount of t.v. However, I’ve never let them get into video game, and thank God, they haven’t wanted to yet. But I’m not going to say they won’t ever. That being said, I, too, get compliments about how well-behaved they are and they both have wonderful imaginations and can entertain themselves, as well as, each other!! I do think there are a lot of parents who might use the television a little too much, but I understand it does help when you need a minute to cook, clean, etc. At the end of the day, it’s not television that turns children naughty or leaves them with no imagination. Its the parenting!!

mimi on

i find it absolutely amazing how judgemental some mothers get on here. especially towards the celebrities… it just reeks of jealousy and insecurity.

leelee sounds like she is just doing what SHE thinks is right for HER daughter. she’s not berating anyone else’s parenting decisions, nor is she being condescending or forcing her views down everyone’s throat.

who cares if celebrities have nannies or more money? get over it and just do the best job you can for your kid.

Becky on

She sounds like a great Mom.. As for celebs making their living on TV and not wanting their kids to watch it, don’t y’all ever read about other celebs saying that they won’t stop their kids from being in the business, but that they won’t encourage it either..I have read that lots of times..