So last week I started to write a post about TV, got distracted by tiny human bumping his head and ended up posting it half finished. I'm going to try to rephrase my thoughts here:
TV gets a bad rap as being a device that liquifies our brains, but I think people overlook the fact that in moderation television is a wonderful medium for allowing us to relax and wind down. Little children can't read yet and, I think, more than adults, need time when they can have their minds occupied without having to move. For all the dreck out there, there's also a number of great programs that allow you to learn about the world or spark your imagination.
In general, I think people are too anti-screentime. We actually started out not letting the baby even look at the big glowy box and while I still maintain that he doesn't get to actually watch shows until he can speak and has an imagination, we've stopped trying to get him to look for even a minute and, you know what? He now has zero interest in it. OK, practically zero, if there's a cat on screen or a musical number he'll watch for a minute before growing bored, but in general, it holds no appeal for him. My mother pointed out we never had any limit on how much we stared at the "idiot box" and we all performed very well academically and two out of the three of us are quite athletic. Albeit my father in the warm months pretty much pounded into us that you don't stare at screens until the sunsets, or at least dinner time, but on a whole we had rather be outside that watching cartoons. In fact, by middle school, I'd mainly lost interest in the TV at all, much preferring the commercial free company of books.
So while I'm not advocating letting your kid waste away in front of the big screen or even spend hours watching reality show crap, I think with well curated, commercial free content watching is perfectly fine, even enriching to one's life regardless of age.