a peek inside the fishbowl

08 May, 2007

Let the debate BEGIN!

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Misc. life

Tell me, where do you stand on the issue of kids using portable DVD players on a family road trip? Passionately for? Wildly against? I’d love to hear your feedback on this issue, but first, I have to tell you where I’m heading with this.

Earlier this afternoon I received a phone call from a lurvely CBC radio producer named Michael. He wanted to hear my views on portable DVD players, especially as they pertain to Family Road Trips.

I called him back. He called me back. We had a lovely chat about them – the Pros the Cons. “They’re nasty things,” I (may have) shrieked. “I will never own one!”

Ahem. I may have even used the term “electronic babysitter” I’m not sure. But I did tell him all about our homemade game of car bingo we played en route to Toronto last summer. I think he was impressed.

Anyway, so guess what? Lucky me, I get to participate in a debate on this very topic – on the radio – with real people listening! 

At the end of our conversation Michael asked me if I knew anyone who owned a portable DVD player and used it in the car. I said that I didn’t, although I was wondering if I should mention that Rebecca Eckler appears to be a big fan and has raved about in the past. But she’s not someone I know. So I wasn’t going to mention her.

Fast forward a couple of hours. I get an email. Subject line reads “Wanna debate” and it’s from Chantal. And in it I find out she’s the person I’m up against appearing with on the radio? :)

I am thrilled to bits. Not just about the radio thing, but that it’s Chantal. How fun is that? Do you think we should stage a cat fight?

Kidding aside, please tell me, where do you stand on this topic? I need to map it out in my head and would love to hear your opinions.

36 Responses to "Let the debate BEGIN!"

1 | Jen_nifer

May 8th, 2007 at 8:03 pm


I think that portable DVD players are a great idea. If you had a built in one, kids would expect to be able to watch it for every trip across town. To have one available for long trips only sounds great.

I haven’t bought one yet, as my son isn’t even 2 yet, but we probably will when he’s a little older. I have friends with relatives in Sarnia and they claim it’s a life saver for that long drive from Ottawa.

2 | Mary G

May 8th, 2007 at 8:03 pm


How cool is that! When is it on because I really want to listen.
I’m not sure if this is a help, but I could never have used a DVD in the car or my kids would have heaved their cookies. They are both wildly motion sick. So is the youngest grandkid. The only way to keep such kids stable on a car trip is to play endless games. Endless numbers of endless games. It works, but it makes the trip seem endless for mom.

3 | nancy

May 8th, 2007 at 9:22 pm


We do not have one. We have no intention of getting one. Yes, it would make road trips much easier, for all of us. We just aren’t interested in getting one, at the moment. I won’t say never, but it won’t be anytime soon.

Plus, one of our boys gets quite car sick, so we worry that it won’t help. I guess for a while yet, we play car bingo (like you!) and “I Spy” and listen to music, and eat snax, and well, you know, like we all did growing up.

Not a bad time to have some great conversation and joke telling too.

4 | Ciaochow

May 8th, 2007 at 9:25 pm


I don’t have kids but I’ve given this subject some thought in the past. I figure if I enjoy a movie (or three) on a plane to pass the time while the pilot navigates, what’s the difference in letting my kids watch a movie to pass some time while we take a road trip?

As a kid, we drove a lot. We drove from Northwestern Ontario to Newfoundland every summer. As we rode in the back of our wood-panelled station wagon we listened to our Walkman and played the odd highway game – but I couldn’t read because of motion sickness. Those long trips would have been made a little easier, I think, with a movie or two.

Everything in moderation is my mantra. I don’t think it’s necessary to take the DVD player with you on the way to the grocery store, but on a long trip it would make everyone’s life a little more bearable. What’s the harm in that?

5 | Ciaochow

May 8th, 2007 at 9:36 pm


P.S. As in the stay-at-home/working mother debate, the tendency with these parenting topics, I think, is (unintentionally) implying that one way of parenting is better and that the parents who do it differently love their children a little less (having something digital babysit them for a couple of hours – the horror!). At the end of the day, I don’t really think it has any tremendous impact on your children if they watch a movie or two or three on a long road trip. (Along those lines, I recommend reading “Freakonomics” for one person’s insight on what does impact children as they age.)

But what the hell do I know? My beloved children have four legs and are furry and have no interest in digital entertainment. But, believe me, there are road trips and PMS/rainy/stressful days when I wish I could pop in a movie so they wouldn’t require me to entertain them!

6 | Marla

May 8th, 2007 at 10:46 pm


I’m against them, rather firmly. That said, I bring DVDs for Josie to watch on my laptop when she comes to work with me, like the Scholastic Book series. Because I can’t read books and serve customers or drive at the same time, but I like the stories tickling the back of my brain as I function too. And, to this effect, Steve has many episodes of the Bickersons on his Ipod. One Christmas day, stuck in a snowstorm on the way to visit my folks, the Chronicles of Narnia was being read on a radio station, and it was so soothing.

But I must say – it’s different from when I was a kid. Why te..twe..thirty…thirty-odd years ago, it wasn’t required that I be strapped into a car seat or booster for those long, long road trips from Buffalo to the Adirondacks, to Myrtle Beach, to Hilton Head, to Disney, to Montreal and Pittsburgh… Like Ciaochow, I too rode in the back of the Woody or the giant Oldsmobile, but I was able to read, sprawled out on my sleeping bag. I napped. I also played with my toys, and watched the scenery (and way back then, highways weren’t quite as bland and uneventful). I sang along with AM radio, and because of that I still do a mean Neal Diamond karaoke. I sometimes crawled up front and sat on the armrest between my parents and fiddled endlessly with the airflow vents. I wrote “Help I’m being kidnapped” signs and taped them to the window to see what would happen (nothing – sigh).

Those road trips are a big part of who I am today. They’re also why I am NOT taking my parents up on the offer of an all-expenses paid road trip to Myrtle Beach with my three-year old and my husband, all of us in one car (shudder) for their 50th anniversary in two years. The crappy parts are as important as the brilliant ones.

We do well enough with choosing our traveling times carefully, stopping as needed, singing songs and telling stories. Because we all really like each other still, Steve Josie and Me. We have LOTS to talk about. We can also be quiet around each other.

They just bug me in the way that many small appliances bug me – they’re just not necessary if you don’t mind working a little harder and things being a little rougher. Like I’m pissed that so many recipes call for a food processor, assuming that everyone has them; they should provide alternate instructions for a knife and board or for hand beating too. And I often grumble about how hard it is to find regular popcorn at a convenience store, since we don’t have a microwave.

It’s not that one way is better than another – one way is more convenient than another. I really fear my daughter, who is destined to be an only child, will not know how to just plain BE sometimes if entertainment is required to smooth over something as mundane as a long car ride. I think that bonding happens as much over hardship as bliss, and so if a DVD player is really so necessary on a car trip – there’s not really something wrong with the people or the parenting, but maybe there is with the trip.

7 | Bonita

May 9th, 2007 at 7:13 am


Last summer we used 2 portable DVD players during our trip to Toronto. My kids are/were 14, 8 & 10 and have made the trip many times to visit Uncle Randy so the road is long and boring now…not like the first couple of trips when everything was new and a real adventure. Now the adventure is all in Toronto so the ride there is not so anticipated. Anyway, we borrowed 2 portable units which kept everyone entertained and HAPPY…and HAPPY children is very important when you are a parent who just hates that long, traffic laden drive to anywhere. So, I highly recommend them. In fact, a few weeks later we had friends taking the train down East with 3 children under 7 who really, REALLY appreciated the loan of the same portable units. Having a portable DVD player does not mean it has to be used for the entire trip either…but it sure comes in handy.

8 | Chantal

May 9th, 2007 at 7:41 am


I am so beyond excited!

But if you think I’m gonna give it up before we tape, you’re crazy lady.

Micheal was telling me a bit about my “opponent” and when he said “You’ll be going up against Andrea…” I laughed so loud I scared him. When I told him we knew each other he said “This is going to be A LOT of fun.”

It so is.

9 | liss76

May 9th, 2007 at 7:49 am


I’m against them. I don’t see the point. And before anyone says anything about long car drives, we do the 18-hour one-day drive to Nova Scotia and back at least once every year, if not more.

Our kids have never needed a movie to distract them–there’s lots of stuff to see along the way. We always pack some interesting books, crayons and coloring books, and a couple new car-friendly toys and snacks, and the boys are good to go for the whole trip. They’re 5 and 3, if that matters, and we’re going to be heading down again this summer.

With good planning, there is no need for a digital distraction.

10 | Ciaochow

May 9th, 2007 at 8:31 am


I’m so curious to know if the parents who are for these things watch more TV/movies than the parents who are against. I would guess that’s the case. I definitely enjoy a good film and trashy reality shows – both on a regular basis.

I’d like to think that I’d be the kind of parent who crafts and reads to and entertains their children without digital distraction – but, honestly, I know that I probably won’t be. Just as I like to sit down to Project Runway as much as I like to be out in the garden watching the clouds drift by, I assume I’ll take the same approach with my kids and provide some sort of balance. I want them to appreciate tulips AND good cinematography.

Another question I wonder about is the quality of films the children watch. Do parents opposed to portable DVD players have as much an objection to them if the children are watching films like Baraka or television shows like the Planet Earth series as opposed to a continuous loop of Spongebob?

This is a very interesting topic! Like most debatable issues, I don’t think it’s a black or white issue – it’s all grey. And all you ladies who have responded are putting forth some tremendous arguments. Kudos for Fishbowl for bringing this issue up – it provides me a nice digital distraction :) Now, back to tending the tulips!

11 | Tiana

May 9th, 2007 at 9:17 am


I’m personally against them and think they are a total cop-out. Having a movie playing on the car is basically a missed learning oppertunity for kids.

They won’t look out the window and discover new things around them like:

-different kinds of landscapes (like types of trees various different farms etc)
-the basic geography of where they are going to/from
-names of towns and where the name would possibly orginate

I spent a lot of time in the car as a kid and though I didn’t necessarily look forward to it, it gave me the oppertunity to wonder about these things and to learn.

Why is that town called ‘Nipissing’?
Why do those tall trees look like the wind is blowing them real hard even though there is no wind?
Why are there more dead groundhogs in Ottawa and more dead porcupines in Halifax?

It also gave me the oppertunity to just let my imagination wander for hours. Something that a DVD would invariably take away.

When I got older and realized what an awful driver my mother was, it taught me how to be a better driver and how to always have my bearings because I was constantly paying attention to where we came from/we going and making sure she didn’t drive the wrong way down one way streets.

12 | Sily_Kim

May 9th, 2007 at 10:13 am


I think it depends on your kids! If you’ve got kids that are going to fight and scream the whole way then sure, it’s great to have a distraction for them for when you just. can’t. cope. But I wouldn’t have on installed. Ever.

13 | alison

May 9th, 2007 at 10:15 am


I posted this to Chantal’s blog too:

I *so* can’t wait to hear this! Put me down in the ‘portable DVD players are a gift from the gods’ camp. The girls and I did 3 fairly long road trips last summer/fall, all over 6 hours. Sudbury, Windsor, and Parry Sound. We start out the trips without the DVD, playing Road ABCs, and ‘Can you see a cow/red truck/blue house’ kind of games, but when they pall, and they do, usually within and hour or so, it’s SO indescribably wonderful to pull over and set up a Disney video so that I can drive in peace and undistracted. I’m a single mom, so there’s no one to share the driving with (or to wrangle (or threaten) the kids while I drive – just kidding), so it’s imperative that I can keep 100% of my attention on the road. And the DVD player does that. The best thing is that the one I have comes with headphones so that the girls can be watching/listening to a movie while I play my CDs in the front of the car and we’re all content.

I take my cue from them — I don’t suggest that they watch a movie if they’re playing happily in the back seat, but when they get bored and fractious and start to distract me from my driving, or if they ask, then I’ll put one on. On our last trip home from Windsor, Ontario (about a 9-hour drive) we were east of Toronto (4 hours into the drive) before they asked for a movie. But it was a lifesaver to have the ability to put one on and be able to direct all my attention to the horrible deluge of rain I was driving through.

I’m going to drive us all to Halifax in August. You can bet the dvd player is the first thing I put in the car, and nobody can convince me that that’s not a good idea.

14 | Sily_Kim

May 9th, 2007 at 11:41 am


Oh, and I also should have said that the length of the trip matters too. Once in a while we drive out to Labrador to see my family. 28 hours in the car. I need the little glowing boxes more than the kids on those trips. Half of the way there is nothing to look at but forest. And not even interesting forest.

Books on tape/CD are good when it’s too dark for me to read aloud. And I prefer them to the DVDs, but sometimes my two just need a break and a video can do that for them so they are ready for the next 14 hour stint in the car…

15 | shortmamaof2

May 9th, 2007 at 11:56 am


When I was little we took many road trips consisting of several hours, sometimes even several days. I think some time for one to get lost in their thoughts is healthy and even necessary for people. Some of my best ideas and questions have come from time lost in my thoughts. I think looking out the window on long drives taught me patience and a great love for the natural beauty of our country. On our road trips, we’ve seen families of foxes as well as deer which we would have missed had we been watching a movie instead.

I have 2 children, ages 8 & 13, a girl & a boy. We’ve taken them on road trips lasting several hours with just us, some snacks & music. We stop every now & then to let them explore, stretch their legs & take bathroom breaks. We have no intention of getting DVD players for the car as we think they watch enough already. But that’s just us & we’re a little crazy anyways :)

Good luck with the debate! Good luck to both of you! Have a great time with it ;)

16 | DaniGirl

May 9th, 2007 at 2:23 pm


Oh wow – how cool is that? When????

Myself, I’m a fan of the portable DVD players for long car trips. Even after reading all the arguments, I simply don’t see why people hate them so much. I love road trips, but I also love distractions… books on tape, books read out-loud, car games. If the DVD player engages them for a while and helps the time pass more quickly, I think it’s great. It’s not like they can’t turn their heads and look out the window while the movie is playing, or colour while they listen to the movie.

We use our DVD player when we drive to Toronto, or to my in-laws north of Huntsville – trips of five hours. And we’re definitely using it when we drive to Maine this summer. One two-hour movie in a five hour trip still leaves a *lot* of time for idle gazing, chatting, whining, napping, and poking your brother.

We *also* bring fun stuff to do, like colouring books and stickers, and we play endless versions of “I’m thinking of a (insert noun here – we started with animals, but have since ranged to foods, movies, colours, whatever.)” But if a movie helps two energetic boys stay calm for a big chunk of a long drive, why not??

(BUT! I was at a restaurant the other day, and a couple was there with their son, age maybe 7 or 8. They were waiting to be served, and the boy had a portable DVD player open in front of him, watching something. That, I would never do!)

17 | jenn

May 9th, 2007 at 2:36 pm


Perhaps part of the question should be what you are allowing your child to watch on that portable DVD player. TV is not (always) evil, it is not (always) a babysitter; (sometimes) it is a valuable teaching tool. I’m all for car games and sing-a-longs, actually I prefer them, but a little variety is not a bad thing. I drove clear across the country and it’s not always very exciting to look at. Have something exciting and educational on that DVD player and have a discussion about it after, make it interactive, you can learn tons of stuff! Maybe keep the movies/tv shows short to break it up a bit.

18 | Jennifer

May 9th, 2007 at 5:03 pm


With one exception when my kids were very small (daughter still facing backwards), we have not taken a road trip longer than 4 hours. And within 4 hours we have not felt the need for a DVD player. We time it so that my daughter naps for 2 hours, and then she and her brother play for the other 2. He has always been good about entertaining himself & isn’t such a fan of movies.

We do however have a book on tape & when we do the frequent 45-minute-drive to the in-laws house, we play that. It has become the special going-to-grandma’s tape.

I definitely took a DVD player on the airplane. Lordy. I would not have survived without it. How long can you play ‘i spy’ in a plane? What’s to see out the window? How to keep kids from kicking the seat in front of them? DVD is vital in that case.

19 | Porter

May 9th, 2007 at 8:56 pm


I’m a fan of the portable DVD player.

Each of my girls (age 4 and 2) have their own (yikes!). We use them when we drive back and forth to the cottage.

I take lots of activities for the kids to do in the car, we have books on CD, music, games, we talk, sing, make stops, etc. I agree that road trips are a great opportunity to learn new things, and we do discuss the scenery etc. but how long can you do that for…really?

My kids don’t sleep in the car (not even when they were infants) and being tightly buckled into a car seat can be difficult for toddlers and preschoolers. I put a movie on for each of them when they ask or when they seem to feel restless and it helps all of us get to and from the cottage a little easier.

Call it what you will, I suppose it is sort of like a babysitter….but isn’t that what a babysitter is sometimes used for….to give us parents a break?

20 | twinmomplusone

May 9th, 2007 at 10:35 pm


When we finally succumbed and bought a van, we definitely did NOT add a DVD player in it. That’s the last thing I wanted was kids riveted to a screen and asking to watch something, anything for even short drives.

BUT we still have two portable DVD players which we have used mostly on planes. A godsend there or at the airport when stuck waiting for hours on end for the next flight. They are occasionally used in the car, as for 9 hour drive to Windsor, but that’s it. They are really a last resort for us, once all other forms of road trip activities have been exhausted and they tend to watch educational type DVDs.

have fun with the debate :)

21 | anne turner

May 10th, 2007 at 12:06 am


Last year I took my two sons, 3 & 1 at the time, to visit my parents for three weeks. While we were there we drove five hours to my Gran’s summer house. During that drive, my parent’s and I had the best conversation! It’s really a unique feeling, being in such intimate quarters. I think something too about us all facing forward and not really looking at each other helps the conversation. And also there is something about the length of the trip that makes it special too, like a marathon, where we have to pack well and pace ourselves. We went on these trips growing up and my dad has said that I could just look out the window for hours. Something about watching the scenery pass by the window (okay, we are passing by the scenery) seems to facilitate day dreaming.

My kids have a great time with short car trips. If we were to go on a really long car trip I would want to break it up with longer stops. The idea of watching a movie during these trips is distasteful to me. Just a matter of taste, maybe. A movie would feel intrusive.

Basically, the vacation begins with the trip, and part of the vacation is leaving some of these things behind. At the summer house (it is in the country) we don’t watch tv or movies either and I wouldn’t want to. It would change the entire atmosphere.

Now having said that, I’m not so sure about flying. (Twinmomsplusone mentioned this and I hadn’t thought about it.) Airports are often so dull and uncomfortable. I’m not sure if anything would help. It seems like the dvd player would eliminate the few things that make air travel pleasanter, though, like the occasional getting to know your fellow passenger, and watching the activity on the tarmac and watching your fellow travelers. The dvd player seems a little like bad anaesthesia. As far as flights, I would almost prefer to be anaesthetized completely and mailed there, to be unwrapped and woken up on the other end. Car trips I find more pleasant and we are a little more in control of our environment, maybe. I think the dvd might provide a kind of purgatory-like existence, in which you can’t really enjoy the movie and you aren’t really aware of the traveling.

22 | Marla

May 10th, 2007 at 9:11 am


Ciaochow posed good questions regarding whether families are TV and Movie-watchers to begin with, but still, though there’s plenty of TV and Movies in the house, I don’t think they need to be in our car. TV, in our house, is exclusively a treat and a babysitter, for adults and children alike.

I like the idea of learning to be in the world, not distracted from it, and in the car, other things do it well enough. I don’t know how else to teach Josie that sometimes she’s going to be bored and in a situation that she needs to figure out how to get though. Not every minute has to be filled. And, we’ve had some long trips with her, but even with a full day of driving, each break every two hours or so gives us fresh stuff to talk about. Or one song can lead to two hundred questions. One story about Daddy’s childhood is fodder for another hour’s worth of questions. Man, our family can talk A LOT.

And, we try to take the side roads whenever possible too (literally and metaphorically). This is not a put-down, because I understand that sometimes it’s all about the destination; but one of the reasons Steve and I are happy together is that for us, it’s about the journey, even if there is whining and crying from various parties. We’re not interested in always keeping the peace. Sometimes making things harder makes things better.

23 | liss76

May 10th, 2007 at 9:44 am


No shortage of television and movies in our house–though we cut the cord on network television almost 4 years ago, we own and watch lots of stuff on DVD. Our watching habits are a mix of “fun” and “educational”.

As with the pp, I still don’t see them as necessary in the car. I think it would be very easy for them to become a car ‘crutch’–at which point you’d be really stuck if you had to go on a long road trip without one.

I prefer not to introduce it as an option in the first place. We have a good selection of CDs and have never had a problem with our annual “ReallyLongDrive”, despite my youngest being a real livewire. ;) In fact, the only long drive we ever found difficult was when my oldest was about 2.5 years old and it was pinpointed to a carseat issue. Once we replaced his seat with a comfier, more-spacious model (Britax Marathon–worth every penny!), we never had that problem again. I have done the 18hr drive on my own a number of times and really didn’t find that much harder–outside of managing the bathroom stops, of course. I like driving, though, so your MMV.

24 | anne turner

May 10th, 2007 at 9:47 am


Those are some good points, Marla. You bring up boredom which I wanted to say something about. Merely that while traveling one does encounter boring patches, somewhat inevitably, perhaps. But it’s been my experience, too, that great creativity can be born out of that boredom.

And also, I think a few people mentioned it, but if we did bring the dvd player, the focus would be turned to when can we watch the dvd. It is sometimes easier to eliminate it altogether rather than parcel it out. Especially with kids who don’t really have a sense of time, yet. I’m going through that with my four-year-old. If I tell him that we’re going to make a cake later that day or that a friend is coming to play on Sunday, every two minutes he asks me whether we’re going to make the cake now or how many days is it to Sunday, now?

25 | Kim

May 10th, 2007 at 12:27 pm


Hi Andrea,

We have one and we love it! On long trips it is a lifesaver!

Brooke is an only child and she gets bored and restless not having a playmate in the backseat so after the games are over and everyone is tired or ready to chill, the dvd player is awesome!!!

Good Luck!

26 | Porter

May 10th, 2007 at 12:33 pm


I wanted to add that we aren’t a huge television/movie watching household. I watch one show per week (one hour). The kids aren’t limited but choose not to watch tv most of the time because their other options are more exciting to them. I stay at home full time so we go to the park, play in the yard, meet up with friends or our playgroups, do alot of arts and crafts, read (alot), go to all of the local ‘kid places’ (library, Ontario Early Years, conservation areas, indoor playgrounds, etc).

The kids don’t automatically want to watch the portable dvd player when they get into the car (we only bring them for long rides) but once they get antsy it’s time for everyone to have a break.

I like what everyone has said, especially those against the dvd players…it’s going to be an interesting conversation/debate.

Good luck to you both!

27 | andrea

May 10th, 2007 at 12:54 pm


GREAT comments everyone. This is a super discussion. Thank you so much for your insight.

I have a question for those who have a DVD installed in their cars. I’m curious: do your kids ever ask to watch it on short trips? i.e. coming from the grocery store or on the way to ballet class?

28 | Pendullum

May 10th, 2007 at 1:13 pm


We do not own a car…Oficially a year car less…Yeeehhhwww!!!
Anyway I digress….

Most of the time we walk or take public transportation to our events…

Now that being said….

We do rent a car for two weeks, when we travel to our cottage. And we always make certain that it has a portable DVD…
It buys me the time, of just sitting with my own thoughts as we are driving to the country… and inevitably we are stuck in a major traffic jam leaving the city… There is nothing to look at except cars…
and I just want the moments to myself…. and it buys me that… I get to listen to music with my husband, and just chat… or not… and after an hour and a half of watching a movie….
My daughter retunrs mentally for the last hour and half long conversation…
So, hope that helps… Good luck with the debate…

29 | BeachMama

May 11th, 2007 at 7:00 am


We do at least one nine to ten hour drive every summer and until last year have never done it with a dvd. I have been travelling this route every year of my life and even though I know the road inside and out I still love to watch the scenery. Every road sign we pass brings us closer to our destination.

That being said last year Hubby wanted to get a portable dvd. And it actually made the trip really fun. We bring only a few movies and they weren’t on the entire time. In addition, because we don’t bring new movies the kids would still look out the window and enjoy what was outside.

I don’t think I would want a built in (unless I didn’t have a choice) dvd as my girlfriend can’t go get groceries without the kids begging for a movie. That I don’t like so much. But for long trips, especially ones that have you driving through a tropical storm or hurricane, the dvd sure keeps the kids busy while you are concentrating on getting through the storm.

30 | Tali

May 11th, 2007 at 2:36 pm


This is really interesting.

We don’t have a TV, and my toddler (2 1/2) sometimes gets to watch the cat-playing-piano you tube video as a special treat (that is her only screen time), but I still think that for really long boring road trip, especially for children under 10, I don’t have a problem with a DVD player. As someone mentioned previously, kids have to be strapped in much more than we were as children, and you can only look at trees for so long without going nuts. Currently, the toddler “reads” books for herself, but we haven’t tested that for any length of time yet.

For me, though, it’s just one video, you know? I think it’s precisely because they never watch anything that I wouldn’t mind it that one time…

31 | scatteredmom

May 11th, 2007 at 3:27 pm


I posted my response over on my blog because it’s just too darn long to post here.


32 | Jennifer

May 13th, 2007 at 1:09 am


I just have to add that I am stunned by how many people take really long car rides. Man. I have been on fewer than 10 long car rides (ie more than 5 hours) in my life. It seems like torture, with or without a DVD!

33 | megan

May 15th, 2007 at 7:59 am


Hi there,
I am getting on this a little late but, as someone who drove to Nova Scotia every summer (from south western ontario) I am totally for the car dvd player. When we bought our van the dvd cam free (free, yeah right!). Prior to that I was against, in the way that I am initially against all things for my kids that I managed to do with out as a child. Once we did the first trip from Chatham home to Oshawa where the 401 was closed for 3 interchanges and the trip took nine hours instead of 4 I was converted!

I have no fond memories of those trips to east coast. I remember fighting with my brother to the point of having my parents pull the car over and threaten to make us walk. I remember being so hot that I thought I would die (this was before ac in cars). I remember hating to drive out there and wished we could just stay home.
I can say that my kids love getting to watch three movies in a row, something that would never happen at home and we have a family rule that the dvd only workd on 400 series highways.
So put me down a for! How many of those who are against have to drive kids under 7 more then two hours at a time on a consistant basis?

34 | andrea

May 15th, 2007 at 2:09 pm


The deed is done. Chantal and I just got out of the studio with the lovely Hallie Cotnam. It was great. And I didn’t say Bob’s your uncle! Not even once!

Our chat is going to air Monday May 21 at 7:15 a.m. You’ll be able to listen to it online too.

35 | Sharon

May 16th, 2007 at 7:05 am


Oh darn I’m too late.

I post my 2 cents quickly…I’m posting as a the other driver on the road. Last winter while driving across the Booth street Bridge here was this over head DVD player playing away with the Berenstain Bear on it. I see 3 or 4 drivers drive badly becasue they were distracted by watching and I have to admit I was on of them. I never even noticed the break lights come on beause the PLAYER was so bright. I was behind. NOW I didn’t hit anyone but IT made me think about thme in detail I hadn’t before. I WON”T get one. Well play car games and other things that cannot be seen from another vechile. I don’t want someone running into be becasue they are watching t.v. YES your not supposed to watch but I ask…what is a normal reaction of an EYE when a bright LIGHT is shinging in the dark? You look towards it.

End point.

36 | a peek inside the fish bowl

May 29th, 2007 at 8:02 am


[…] The kind folks at CBC sent along a recording of Chantal and I discussing the merits of bringing DVD players on road trips. (Past postings here and here.) For some reason when I tried uploading it just now we sounded like chipmunks on crack. Ah well, it would have drained me of my bandwidth allottment anyway.  […]

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The Obligatory Blurb

My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human daughters: Emma (20) and Sarah (18). During the day I work as a writer at The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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