Friday, April 18, 2008

Car DVD Players: Boon or Annoyance?


Oh, my! What would parents today do to keep sanity in the car on long trips without the car DVD player? With young kids, especially, who are locked up in their seats and can't roam about the car like we did as kids (tell I'm not the only one who lived on the floorboard or in the space behind the back seat and rear window as a kid). It is truly a God-sent blessing to be able to pop in any old movie and watch the kids be entertained for hours; the peace it brings to the car is amazing!

Oh, my! Are these car DVD players good for anything? The first thing it does is give your child a sense of entitlement. It's as if the moment they are strapped into their seat they deserve to be entertained with a movie - even if the trip is only five minutes down the road. (Granted, here in Houston 5 minutes may get you out of the neighborhood, but still . . .) And do they every work? Sure, you get a few good plays of DVDs out of them, but then the DVDs start getting stuck. You have to take them out and try to clean them off repeatedly, assuming it is having problems because your 4-year old with grubby hands has been handling this DVD for months. But then it won't even play a brand new disc untouched by PB&J hands. ARGH! And you're constantly having to fiddle with controls, especially if the player is not built into the car and you child can touch them and mess up the normal playback. Absolutely sent from Satan to annoy parents even more in the car.

Care to rebut?

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Anonymous said...

Beeki and I have no children, so... take that for what it's worth. But we decided that we didn't want a car dvd player at any point in our lives. We just think that it's too easy already for kids to become stimulant junkies and techno addicts.

Douglas said...

Didn't they have seat belts back in your day? You don't strike me as that much of a geezer.


euphrony said...

MB - I'm not a geezer. But, seatbelts were not required, and so not worn. I learned how to open "child-proof" medicine bottle caps when I was 4 and mom gave me an old bottle to play with on while I was on the floorboard during a trip. Same with tying my shoelaces.

Cach - I admire your determination. I really do. Let me know how it works out for you, okay? No, Mrs. E and I have the same feelings about over-stim and over-tech kids. That is why we refuse to have a DVD player installed in the car - we just use a normal portable one. That way when we're in town or on a short trip we can easily say we don't have the option of a movie because we don't have the DVD player with us. Maybe the installed ones don't have as many playback problems, but we've used two different players and had serious problems with both.

Honestly, sometimes having the player seems more or an argument than not having it. Who gets to watch what and the inability to settle on a movie to watch for more than five minutes, can be real problems.

When hurricane Rita came through town, the Euphrony family left Houston for Dallas. The normal four-hour trip took more than sixteen hours (and we we fast travelers who stayed off the more congested roads). With Lil'E just two years old at the time - too young to color for any length of time - the DVD player was a salvation. We had just bought it and it was her first time to get to watch in the car. She went all sixteen hours without complaint! So, there are some definite good things that can come from their use.

Kat @ Inspired To Action said...

We don't have one and specifically didn't want one when we bought our minivan. For mostly the same reasons as Cach.

We did borrow one when we went on our 25 hour Christmas trip, but we only watched one 50 min video.

Honestly, I think they're great for some situations, but I also wonder if they cause a bit of a disconnect between parents and their kids...

We sing and talk A LOT in the car. Yes, it drives us crazy sometimes, so when we can't take it, we all listen to an audiobook (Pollyanna and Anne of Green Gables are in constant rotation right now).

But sometimes we have really great conversations that I wouldn't trade for peace and quiet any day.

It's not the DVD player that's the problem, it's how often it's used that I think can possibly do more harm than good.

Cristy said...

Apparently I'm a geezer, too at the ripe old age of 39. I can remember sitting on my mom's lap while she was driving! I can remember her holding my baby brother and feeding him while she was driving. YIKES!

My kids are old enough that a DVD player in the car was not even an option (16 & 18), so we talked, played games and sang. Some of our best times (me as a child, and me as a parent) were in the car on extended trips playing games like I Spy and Pididdle, rhyming words, keeping track of how many different state license plates we could find and singing songs that I learned when I was little.

I also had a seat backpack thingy that had books, puzzle/coloring books (Funpads), crayons and car games like magnetic sign bingo. (We saw those magnetic games at the dollar store recently and my son pointed it out to me, "Remember THIS, mom?")

If my kids were younger now, I might have a different mindset regarding this, but I would never trade all those hours in the car doing these things as a family.

Anne said...

We have a built in DVD player in our van - is rarely gets used.

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